From classic cocktails to after-dinner sipping, the versatility of amaro is undeniable.
But there is more to this interesting Italian liqueur found in bars and liquor stores everywhere.
Amaro is a spirit that comes in all shapes and sizes and is a beloved source for many cocktail enthusiasts and liquor connoisseurs alike.
You can find them in a variety of drinks, particularly in cocktails, both classic and contemporary.
But people use them mainly as a digestive aid; many cultures have a history of consuming bitters after meals to help with digestion.
We will talk about their benefits later on. But first and foremost, what does amaro taste like?
What is Amaro?
Amaro means “bitter” in Italian, which is an appropriate name for the liqueur. It is traditionally made by steeping herbs, roots, bark, and other botanicals in alcohol. Then it is sweetened with sugar or honey to balance out the bitterness. Its preparation varies widely depending on the region in Italy where it is made.
You can recognize amaro instantly because of its complex flavor profile, which is intense, herbal, and bitter. Some amaros can be sweet, and others can be more savory and earthy.
There are hundreds of different types of amaro, each with its unique flavor. Some common ingredients used in amaro production include gentian root, wormwood, cinchona bark, cardamom, lavender, star anise, fennel, and many others.
Amaros have been around for centuries, and they are not just limited to Italy. Amaros and their European and South American descendants, as well as Canadiana cups, have been popular worldwide since the early 19th century.
What Does Amaro Taste Like?
Amaro has a complex flavor profile that varies depending on the brand, the base spirit used, and the ingredients used to flavor it. We can narrow its taste down to a mix of bitterness and sweetness. Still, it can be more bitter than sweet, making it an acquired taste for some.
You can also taste a little bit of spiciness as you sip it. Because there are so many different types of amaro, it’s difficult to describe their taste.
One brand of amaro might taste sweet, with a honey-like quality blending in with the bitterness. Still, another might be more earthy and savory with a noticeable herbal taste and a touch of bitterness.
Some amaros are darker and richer than others, with a syrupy consistency that lingers on the tongue. Others are lighter and more refreshing, with an almost effervescent quality.
The aftertaste can also vary widely, depending on the type of amaro you’re sipping. Some amaros leave a lingering bitterness in the mouth, while others have a sweeter finish. It can leave a tingling sensation in your mouth because of the botanicals used in the production.
What are the Benefits of Drinking Amaro?
Amaros produced nowadays are not strictly medicinal, but they are often marketed as such. They have been consumed all over the world for centuries for their alleged healing properties.
Ingredients used in the production of amaros, such as gentian root, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help with digestion. Some amaros are also used to soothe sore throats, coughs, and other respiratory issues.
Many people use amaros as a way to cut back on their sugar intake. If you’re looking for a mixed drink, adding an amaro to your cocktail instead of using simple syrup or another sweetener can add plenty of flavor without all the excess sugar.
And many people enjoy the bittersweet taste of amaro just as a matter of personal preference.
How to Enjoy the Taste of Amaro?
There are several ways you can enjoy amaro. Here are a few options you can try:
- Sipping neat – many people enjoy amaro neat, chilled or at room temperature, in small glasses.
- Amaro cocktails – Amaro makes an excellent addition to cocktails. Some classic cocktail recipes that call for amaro include negroni, Americano, and paper plane.
- Amaro Spritz – In Italy, summer drinking often involves an Aperol spritz, substituting Aperol with other Italian bitters like Campari, Amaro Montenegro, or Aperitivo Cappelletti.
- The Paper Plane – The paper plane is a cocktail that had a revival in the 2010s, and it contains amaro as part of its flavor profile.
- The Negroni – A classic cocktail made from gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, the Negroni is both a refreshing and bold drink for people who appreciate complexity.
- With dessert – Many people use amaro as an after-dinner drink to aid in digestion. Some also complement it with desserts for a more refined palate.
The bitter-sweet taste of amaro may leave some people in awe. But if you are among these people, do not shy away.
Despite its bitter taste, amaro offers several benefits. It can help with digestion, respiratory issues, and cutting back your sugar intake. And if you’re still hesitant, add them to cocktails, try with desserts, or have fun exploring its different flavors and brands.
There are various types of amaro that you can try, and each is unique in its taste. So take them one sip at a time and experience its complex nature.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.