If you’re at all familiar with mixology, this blog, or generally just don’t live under a fucking rock, then you’ve probably been exposed to the wonder that is Amari. “Amaro,” the Italian word for “bitter” is used to describe a entire cross section of liqueurs that are often based on centuries old recipes from a specific geographic location within Italy.
Among some of the more notable amari is Fernet, the infamous bitter from Milan. The most popular version of this is made by the Fratelli Branca Distillery, and has been made the same way since 1945. However, there is also a Luxardo version of Fernet, and even a domestically produced Fernet made by Leopold Bros. in Colorado. If you’ve never tasted Fernet and are unable to find it, you can replicate the sensation by filling your mouth with mint and band-aids, and having a good friend promptly punch you in the teeth.
Another of the great amari is Averna di Sicillia, which has an incredible complex flavor consisting of oranges, caramel and mint. It’s spectacular to mix with, or to sip on it’s own over ice. Both of these are a must have for your liquor cabinet.
1 oz. Fernet Branca
1 oz. Averna di Sicilia
.75 oz. Blackberry Syrup
.75 oz. Lime Juice
In a shaker, combine amari, juice & syrup, along with a sprig of mint and some ice. Shake well, and strain over a goblet or wine glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with blackberries, mint and canela. Serve with short cut straws.
Smack That Mint Up.
Whenever using mint, it’s important to get the best looking, freshest mint possible. Old mint can develop a bitter, grassy flavor that can ruin a cocktail. Also, when garnishing with mint, it’s important to express the mint oil before inserting the sprig into the drink. This is easily done by gently slapping the sprig a few times on the palm of the hand. This will break open the oil cells (that’s a technical term) and get those minty aromas flowing.