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amaro

All Photos: Ryan Hughley

selection of different amaros

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Skip the Aperol, here are 4 amaro spritzes you should be drinking now

New York Time's reporter Rebekah Peppler made headlines when she wrote an article declaring Aperol overrated. The orange hued herbaceous spirit is perhaps the most famous (infamous?) amaro on the markets now and certainly the most recognizable ingredient in the popular Aperol Spritz. 

Quick Background
Amaro means bitter in Italian and refers to a class of aperitifs (before dinner drinks) or digestif (after dinner drinks) that are believed to aid in digestion. Traditionally, amari—when plural—are made by infusing grape brandy with some variation of ingredients such as herbs, flowers, tree bark, sugar and different spices depending on the region the spirit is created in and the flavor profile the maker is seeking. Amaro can be aged for years and flavors can range from syrupy sweet to strikingly bitter. 

While amaro has been a big hit in Europe for decades, these herbal liqueurs have recently grown in popularity in the United States. Though amaro has long been used in classic cocktails like the negroni, they've also begun popping up in some of the most celebrated bar programs across the South where bartenders are turning out distinctive cocktails with strong flavors. While any amaro on the shelves now is certainly flavorful enough to hold its own along side whiskey, gin, or rum, we still prefer it in a spritz.

How to make a spritz
In general spritzes are easy to make and follow a simple rule of ice, 2 parts amaro, 3 parts sparkling wine (usually Prosecco) and one part soda water. Which amaro you decide to use depends entirely on the flavors you're looking for. There is absolutely no wrong choice here. Whether or not you believe that drinking a spritz before or after dinner will help your body breakdown food better, there is no disputing the fact that spritzes are delicious and should be consumed as regularly—and responsibly—as possible. 



Campari Spritz 

Note: Of all the amari on this list, this is the most recognizable. The flavor here is both sweet and bitter making this amaro well-balanced and classic. The perfect spirit to reach for if you're just starting to experiment.  

Ingredients
Ice cubes
2 ounce Campari
3 ounce Proseco (like Prosecco Treviso)
1 ounce sparkling water
Orange slice, for garnish

Instructions
Fill a wine glass with ice and add Campari. Top with prosecco and sparkling water. Garnish with orange slice.


Luna Amara Spritz 
Note: This amaro is heavy on the bitter notes and spicy (with a hint of cinnamon bark). If you're a fan of heavier spirited cocktails, this amaro will really appeal to you. Even if this doesn't work for you in a spritz, it would make an amazing addition to an Americano or negroni.

Ingredients
Ice cubes
2 ounce Luna Amara
3 ounce Proseco (like Prosecco Treviso)
1 ounce sparkling water
Orange slice, for garnish

Instructions
Fill a wine glass with ice and add Luna Amara. Top with prosecco and sparkling water. Garnish with orange slice.



Amaro Nonino Spritz 

Note: Amaro Nonino is more than just a beautiful bottle, this sweet and subtly bitter amaro is a good entry bottle for anyone looking for a less bitter spirit to make a spritz with.

Ingredients
Ice cubes
2 ounce Amaro Nonino
3 ounce Proseco (like Prosecco Treviso)
1 ounce sparkling water
Orange slice, for garnish

Instructions
Fill a wine glass with ice and add Amaro Nonino. Top with prosecco and sparkling water. Garnish with orange slice.



Southern Amaro Liqueur  

Note: This amaro is made down South in Charleston, South Carolina. A "Southern expression of an Italian classic", this amaro contains local ingredients like Charleston black tea,  Dancy tangerine, and fresh mint. While it did make one heck of a spritz, it's probably better suited as an addition to a cocktail. 

Ingredients
Ice cubes
2 ounce Southern Amaro Liqueur
3 ounce Proseco (like Prosecco Treviso)
1 ounce sparkling water
Orange slice, for garnish

Instructions
Fill a wine glass with ice and add Southern Amaro Liqueur. Top with prosecco and sparkling water. Garnish with orange slice.


Author image

Ryan Hughley is the associate editor at Southern Kitchen. Though originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in Atlanta since early 2017 and cannot imagine calling any other city home (except maybe New Orleans). Before joining Southern Kitchen's staff, Ryan worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on public policy issues. When she's not at work, she enjoys hunting down the best Mexican food in the city and drinking whiskey, obviously. 

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