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That’s Amari

Celebrate love by embracing the bitter liqueurs


The Root Theory from The Ocean Bar at Pacifica Del Mar

Amaro. The word sounds romantic, but its meaning—“bitter” in Italian—is just the opposite. An amaro (plural: amari) is a type of liqueur that adds a hint of, yes, bitterness to a cocktail. But amari also offer far more complex flavors: there’s the subtle, pretty sweetness of Aperol and Campari, which are perhaps the most approachable amari. On the other end of the spectrum are Fernet and Cynar, which lean medicinal in flavor. In between, you’ll find things like Averna (citrus), Montenegro (floral), and Meletti (chocolate).

I gravitate toward drinks that include an amaro—each one (there are dozens) is unique and it’s fun to figure out its role in a cocktail. Depending on your Valentine’s Day plans, make a stop at one of the spots below and fall in love with an amaro. (Or, if V-Day’s not your thing, embrace the bitterness.)

  • I Never Mint To Fall In Love @ Cucina Urbana: Julian Apple cider, Fernet Branca, dry curacao, prosecco (recipe below!)

  • Bobby Valentino @ Bankers Hill: Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Luxardo Marischino liqueur, Amaro Meletti

  • Thundertaker @ Kindred: Bianco Vermouth, Cynar, Ancho Reyes, salt

  • Preservation Hall @ Grant Grill: Mount Gay Black Barrel US Grant Blend Rum, Hennessy VS Cognac, Fonseca Ruby Port, Amaro Nonino, orange and Peychaud’s bitters


Or, if amari isn't your thing, try one of these Valentine’s Day-themed cocktails:

  • My Sweetie Pie @ The Nolen: Vodka, Creme de Framboise, lemon, rhubarb syrup, salt

  • Love is a Four Letter Word @ The Nolen: Bourbon, cherry liqueur, orgeat, Aztec chocolate bitters

  • This Side of Paradise @ Saltbox: Hendrick's Gin, St-Germain, blackberry simple syrup, rose water, prosecco.

  • The Root Theory @ The Ocean Bar at Pacifica Del Mar: House-infused beet vodka, simple syrup, pomegranate liqueur

  • La Vie en Rose @ Westgate Hotel: Vanilla vodka, house-made strawberry-vanilla syrup, coconut milk


Urban Kitchen Group

I Never Mint to Fall in Love

1/2 oz dry curacao
1/2 oz Fernet-Branca
1 oz Julian Apple Cider
1 oz prosecco

Shake dry curacao, Fernet-Branca and cider with ice. Pour into a coupe glass. Top with prosecco and garnish with a mint leaf.


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