Ths piece originally appeared on VinePair.
iAmaro means bitter in Italian. So yeah, that’s not a great starting point if we’re trying to sell a spirits category to you. But just bear with us a) because it’s cool and Italian and b) because amari are delicious, multi-functional, and, did we mention they’re cool and Italian?
There’s actually a fairly diverse range of amari, aka “potable bitters,” out there, but let’s start with the basics of “what the hell is it and why do I need to fork over another $20 to stay cocktail-culturally relevant?” Fair question. As we said, the singular “amaro” means bitter in Italian, and amari are all varieties of bittersweet liqueurs — most, but not all of them, Italian. And they’re also typically taken as digestivos, that little shot of something warm and soothing to help you harness the giant meal you just ate. Which should also explain why most amari are Italian — they know the art of eating well.