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Best Spirits You've Never Heard Of

Look Out Campari, Here Comes Gran Classico

Courtesy of Bitter Truth.

Gran Classico Bitter

What It Is: If Campari didn’t have a near-monopoly on red-hued bitter spirits, you might be more familiar with Gran Classico. Based on a 19th-century recipe for the “Bitter of Turin,” it is a Swiss-Italian liqueur made by soaking roots, herbs and aromatics like wormwood, gentian, rhubarb and bitter orange peel in alcohol, then filtering, diluting and sweetening the mixture.

What It’s Like: Sipped on its own, Gran Classico tastes like candied blood orange peel. It’s more citrusy than Campari and more herbaceous than Aperol—think thyme, fennel and oregano. At first, all you taste is sweet. Then the bitterness hits you like an orange dropped from a five-story building—and it lingers. The bitterness is unrelenting in a mouthwatering way.

How to Drink It: Too powerful to drink on its own, Gran Classico is best served over ice in a spritz with Prosecco or cava, or in place of Campari in a Negroni or an Americano.

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