Minnesota fernet? Pineapple amaro? Our collective thirst for the Italian liqueur amaro is no bitter pill. So fully have we embraced the low-alcohol, bark and botanical-based digestif that it was only a matter of time before American-made versions began to blossom.
Around the turn of our current decade, companies like Root in Pennsylvania and Leopold Bros. in Colorado launched some of the first serious forays into the domain of digestifs. Today, producers from Buffalo to Los Angeles are on the forefront of a second wave of homegrown amaros. These are 10 standouts to check out right now.
8: LONG ROAD DISTILLERS AMARO PAZZO ($35)
Released in December, this is a collaboration between two Grand Rapids, Mich., producers: Long Road Distillers and Madcap Coffee Company. The bean base they settled upon for the liqueur is Reko from the Kochere region of Ethiopia and offers a citrus oil and candied ginger richness to the combo of botanicals used in the amaro, notably myrrh, turkey rhubarb, orange and wormwood. While they aren’t the first to make an amaro that looks to coffee for some extra complexity, they do appear to be the first to think carefully about what that coffee is and should be (aka, a single origin) and to really dial in how it plays with the botanicals.