I’ve been making amari for the better part of a year now, and every day brings a new revelation in liqueur production. With the exception of Fernet Branca, none of the commercially available amari match the bitterness of the six amari recipes I’ve made. While these are very tasty (and have received very positive reviews from samplers), a side by side comparison has revealed a truth that has evaded this artisan for a while. On the scale of bitterness, these amaro recipes that I’ve produced have a bitterness of 12/10. They’re sweet, strong (alcohol flavor), and very, very bitter. Fernet Branca is a very bitter amaro, but it’s bitterness is in the finish. The bitterness from my amaro hits you like a hot blast from opening your front door in the heat of summer. The finish is where the relief comes. The sweetness softens the bitterness nicely. Followed by the subtle herbal flavors that linger on the tongue (along with the alcohol heat).
Reviewers of amari all seem to favor the same qualities in amaro. Fernet Branca always receives rave reviews, but so does Rammazzotti. Many people feel that Amaro Montenegro is too sweet and mild, but they’ll rave about Rammazzotti’s balanced bitterness. I agree that Montenegro is very mild, but so is Rammazzotti. It’s slightly more bitter, but it is a very mild amaro too. It does have a nice root beer quality to it.
My amaro is in an entirely different class than these. The predominant flavor is the bitter gentian root with orange peel, followed by the medicinal qualities of anise and peppermint.
Many of my samplers find that appealing. In tasting the different amari that brought me to this process in the first place, I realize that perhaps I’m overdoing the bitterness. So I’ve changed it up in this last batch. I’ll outline the changes in a later post, but the most significant change is in the infusion time. In the amari of the past, the infusion of bitter roots was done for approximately two weeks. The latest batch was infused for only 6 days. It is still deliciously bitter, but not overpowering. More on this later.