The New Amaro Obsession
The art of finishing dinner with a glass of amaro, a traditional Italian digestive, is catching on in New York.
This summer, a Spritz blitz took over the bars and restaurants of the big apple. New Yorkers lapped up the scarlet Italian aperitif with abandon and bought bottles of premixed Negroni cocktails for their picnics in the park. Now, New York City is a brew with another Italian trend, the digestivo culture, with the embrace of amaro, an Italian liqueur made from herbs, spices, roots and vegetables.
Over the past ten years, restaurateurs and wine stores have been expanding their selection. Now, many collect vintage amari, which are not as easy to come by. Restaurateurs have admitted to stuffing their suitcases with bottles on flights from Italy and have confessed to asking Italian friends to save the 60-year old bottle found in a grandparent’s liquor cabinet.
Amaro, a drink often associated with elderly people seeking a soothing liquor to settle their stomachs in Italy, has become, as one liquor store owner said, “a cultural calling card” in New York. Though it’s been around the US long before Prohibition–when it was sold as a tonic in pharmacies– restaurateurs have recently started advertising free amari tastings and featuring their selection on dessert menus.
In the winter, amaro completes a heavy meal quite nicely. Those who adore wine often find admiration for amaro thanks to its other magical properties: it can prolong a meal (an impressive feat given New Yorker’s sense of time), and no amari tastes the same (the secret recipes list just a few of the ingredients, but keep evolving with time.)
by Abigail Napp | La Cucina Italiana
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