Of all Italy’s aperitifs, Amaro is one of the most diverse. This category of liquers includes more than 10 different styles—each being anywhere from 17 to 70 proof and made from 13 to 36 different ingredients, some of which include fennel, artichokes, grapes and rhubarb, just to name a few.
Just a little bit of Amaro knowledge can go a long way in ensuring that you at least sound like you know what you’re talking about when ordering at the bar. Amaro aficionado Heather Perkins of DiAnoia’s Eatery in Pittsburgh, which lists more than 20 different styles of Amaro on its menu, shared her recommendations for which amaro to order based on both your tastes and where you are in your meal.
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The Gateway Amaro
While Fernet is the first Amaro that many drinkers experience, Perkins thinks that Montenegro, a much more subtle Amaro from Bologna that is served on tap at DiAnoia’s, is the best starting point for the Italian liqueur. “Montenegro isn’t overly sweet, but it has these honeysuckle and orange blossom notes that are really nice,” she says. “It’s a great way to finish a meal and we like to offer a little nip of it—an ounce or so—to guests after dinner both to say thank you and to maybe introduce them to Amaro for the first time.”