Amaro Bitters: What To Know

Amaro is a herbal liqueur from Italy that is both complex on the nose and easy to drink. It is a great way to finish a meal. Amaro offers a glimpse into the infinite flavour combinations of the botanical world, with notes ranging from biting menthol to fragrant cardamom, citrusy orange peel to woodsy chamomile.

What Is Amaro?

Amaro is a broad term for a variety of regional Italian bitters. (Amaro is the Italian word for “bitter.”) This bitter liqueur is a staple in the Italian lifestyle, made from either a neutral spirit or brandy. Each amaro has a distinct flavour due to a carefully curated blend of botanical ingredients, which typically includes herbs, spices, and flowers, as well as barks and roots such as gentian root, cinchona, and wormwood.

Amaro liqueur styles differ depending on where they are produced; Alpine amaro is typically spice- and mint-forward, whereas coastal amaro is lighter-bodied and more citrus-forward. Other amaro flavours include licorice, star anise, artichoke, and rhubarb. When it comes to amaro production, there are no hard and fast rules, and most recipes are kept as family secrets.

How to Serve Amaro

Bittersweet amaro, such as Fernet-Branca, is typically served neat as an after-dinner drink. Dark, full-bodied, and densely spiced amaro, traditionally consumed at sundown or as a midnight digestif, aids digestion and makes an ideal nightcap when served neat.

Amaro labelled “aperitivo” is light-bodied and low in alcohol, making it ideal for drinking before a meal. Because amari like Campari, Cynar, and Aperol are quite bitter on their own, they beg for a lengthener like soda water or a sparkling wine like prosecco to truly shine. The Aperol Spritz is a classic example of this type of aperitif.