Oh how i love this topic! thank you Chuck for hosting this MxMo at the Gumbo Pages which i consider being a fantastic blog.
One amaro two amari..
These bitter herbal liqueurs are very dear to me because for some weird reason its some of the first alcohol drinks that i tried and that was in Italy, and therefore i always feel the memories of that wonderful country when i drink a nice amaro. I just need to look at a bottle to get that special feeling. Oddly enough Cynar is one of the amaris which i tried later than sooner.
Now its not just the italians that makes bitter liqueurs but really the italians have made it into an art to create diverse liqueurs from all sorts of unlikely ingredients, just think about Cynar! (artichoke) or Amaro Nonino which is made from grappa infused with herbs, plus grain alcohol, and ingredients that include caramelized sugar, bitter orange, cinchona, galenga, gentian, liquorice, quassia wood, rhubarb, saffron, sweet orange and tamarind.
One of the most famous amaris is Amaro Averna from Sicily which among other things contains chinotto, the bitter orange which i really like. I once read somewhere that the italians have invented more than 300 different kinds of after-dinner digestive drinks for relieving the heaviness that often follows their meals.
Amaro means bitter in italian and its a bitter herbal liqueur, a digestif usually drunk after dinner, having a tonic effect, cleansing the palate between meals. Amari are most often drunk neat with a citrus wedge, ice or with a topping of tonic water, here simplicity is the best, but they are also wonderful mixers for other cocktails.
For this post i decided to use Ramazotti menta which i don´t use that very often and now i got a wonderful opportunity to make more use of it. Ramazotti menta is also a bit challenging i think as the mint flavor really can be a bit overpowering, i think mint has a way to do that unless its fresh.
The original Amaro Ramazotti is a reddish-brown digestive that sits somewhere in the mid-range of bitterness with a bit of an orangey flavor. Its made with 33 ingredients and among them are cinchona tree bark, cinnamon, gentian, oregano, bitter orange from Curaçao sweet oranges from Sicily.
Ramazotti was first made in Milano in 1815 by Ausano Ramazotti who created it in his shop as a tonic liqueur made from herbs and spices including gentian root, rhubarb, cinnamon and the peel from Sicilian oranges. Ramazzotti does not contain artificial color or flavour materials.
Now with this menta version i made a very simple digestive, amaro menta with some ice and fresh orange juice topped off with a small splash of fernet, another famous amaro and one of my favorites along with campari..
1 oz Ramazotti menta
2 oz fresh orange juice
Small splash fernet branca
Soda to top
Garnish orange wedge and mint
Half fill a rocks glass with ice cubes, add Ramazotti menta and orange juice, stir. Add a small splash fernet branca and top with soda. Fill up with more ice and garnish with a orange wedge and mint sprig.
The topping off with a small splash of Fernet followed by soda will layer the bitter flavors a bit.
I was very tempted to even top off with a few dashes of bitters but i resisted, that would have been too much different bitter flavors outdoing each other. Even the combination of Ramazotti menta and Fernet is maybe a bit unusual but actually i find it tasty. The color isn`t the most appetizing, a cloudy murky sort of brown but dont let that fool you, this tastes much better than it looks.
Overall this cocktail was tasty enough to make me want to drink it again. The fun thing is that rather than feeling like a digestive it sparked my appetite for wanting more of both the dinner and another drink.
Finally one last thing, i sometimes enjoy a shot of Swack which is a lighter version of the original Unicum (or i enjoy a shot of Fernet).
And with this i want to finish by saying that i really looking forward to read the roundup, so don`t forget to check out the Gumbo pages in a few days.