Understanding Amari herbal liqueurs
Amaro liqueurs are a category of herbal liqueurs made from botanicals that contain bitter ingredients. Generally, amaro botanicals are made up of crude plant materials such as leaves, flowers, fruit, seed, stems, wood, bark and roots. This stems from the age of antiquity – when amaro liqueurs were first used as curative potions, with medicinal qualities – to stimulate the appetite. Over time, they shed their curative connotations – and were mellowed with fruits and sweet botanicals such as vanilla, aniseeds, liquorice, star anise – and, most importantly – sugar. The most important step in the amaro production process is the steeping and infusion of the botanicals. A lot depends on how the herbs are prepared – which are not usually used whole, but crushed, ground, pulverised or pressed – according to the consistency of the herb and the principles to be extracted. For the Italian Amari, there are few key sub-categories that you should explore:
- Alpine Amaro: Characterised by fresh and balsamic herbs.
- Mediterranean Amaro: Made with fruits typical of the Mediterranean areas.
- and Herbal Amaro: A unique and intense flavour supported by roots, herbs and other ingredients. Try all three – identify the differences in flavour – and see how they can work for you.