Taste Test: American Amari - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Recent years have seen a bitter renaissance, with amari and aperitifs holding high court on bar shelves and cocktail menus, sometimes even getting their own dedicated lists. At the same time, American craft distillers are getting experimental with their own amari interpretations, using local ingredients and unique flavors that lead to delicious new territory.

Amaro Delle Sirene Master sommelier and Italian ex-pat Francesco Amodeo crafts his Don Ciccio & Figli line of amari and liqueurs in Washington D.C., and the Amaro Delle Sirene strikes a near-perfect balance of bitter and sweet, with dominating savory herbs like sage and thyme.

Breckenridge Bitter The pale gold color of the bitter liqueur from Colorado’s Breckenridge Distillery is matched by the sweet, lightly honeyed taste of dried fruit and a delicate herbal fragrance, with a nicely spiced bitter finish.

Caffè Amaro A cross between a coffee liqueur and an amaro, the Caffè Amaro from Kansas City’s J. Rieger & Co. comes out swinging with bold coffee aroma and flavor. The sweetness dissipates with a subtle botanical bitterness on the finish.

Cascadia D’Amore An easy-going, barely bitter foray into amaro, New Deal Distillery in Portland, Oregon, pulls inspiration from the flora of the Cascade Mountain Range, infusing wild lavender and rose petals into this light, herbal liqueur.

Southern Amaro Liqueur Charleston, South Carolina distillery High Wire takes a Southern approach to their amaro, incorporating regionally sourced black tea, yaupon holly (cousin to yerba mate) and dancy tangerine. The result is an initial herbal sweetness followed by bitter spices reminiscent of cola.

St. Agrestis Amaro After tasting regional amari during a three-month trip across Italy, the sommeliers that founded St. Agrestis returned to New York determined to make their own. An upfront herbal aroma of chamomile and sage is followed by flavors of cinnamon and wintergreen, with just a hint of bitterness.

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