At Boston Cocktail Summit, one of the seminars I knew I couldn’t miss was the Do You Speak Amari with Francesco LaFranconi seminar. We ended up tasting 15+ amari (and it is amari, not amaros) “early” in the morning (it was before noon). For a full description of the various amari, check out Treasure MA’s post. I’m going to go through some highlights as most of these amari are familiar in the LA Cocktails scene such as the ever wonderful Fernet-Branca.
Francesco LaFranconi representing Italia with his white jacket, red kerchief and green socks (not shown).
I have always heard the Italians learned the art of making amari based on French monks making liqueurs like Chartreuse and Benedictine. But then Francesco casually said it was the French who learned from the Italians. Now that is one turf war I don’t want to get into. I love Chartreuse and Benedictine as well as amari and the non-Italian amari-like liqueurs such as Becherovka.
I had previously tasted Amaro Sibilla in L.A. at Baco Mercat. Bar Manager Allan Katz of Cana describes this as “cat piss.” At the seminar, I later learned the honey notes in this amaro sometimes is confusingly similar to urine. Hm, I guess I don’t love every amaro. I did wonder what this would be like in a hot toddy for the honey aspect.
For a much better honeyed amaro, try the Amaro Dell’Erborista. This one was much more pleasant and not ranging into the urine smell (thank goodness).
But my “new” favorite was the Braulio which I had actually tasted before in Seattle at Zig Zag. At the time, they just smuggled (I’m using the term loosely, of course) it in from Italy. But Braulio is now being imported to the States.
I still love Cynar, Meletti, Zucca and Averna but it was really nice to try Nardini, D’Abano and Nonino Quintessentia.
Now do you speak Amari?
© The Minty // LA Cocktails 2012
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