This New Amaro Recreates a Historic Liqueur
These days, most cocktail fans are on good terms with amaro—the bittersweet family of Italian liqueurs including Campari, Montenegro, and many more. But it’s hardly the only type of liqueur with a long Italian legacy. The “Rosolio” style of aperitivo recently caught the attention of Italian barman Giuseppe Gallo, who set out to recreate it. Starting from his own family’s generations-old recipe, and researching the liqueur’s history even further back in history, he created Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, a bright, fragrant citrus liqueur that’s now been discovered by mixologists in Europe and in the States.
Origin stories aside, let’s get to the liquid, because it’s delicious stuff. Give it a whiff, and it’s all citrus and florals; give it a taste and it’s rich with bergamot orange oils, elusive herbal notes playing around the edges. Fragrant and gently sweet, it’s an absolute gem in cocktails. Here are three great ways to use it.
Easy: Italicus Spritz
If it’s a light, dynamic Italian liqueur, you know we want to spritz it. Every spritz balances a little bit differently; we think that this ratio of Italicus, sparkling wine and club soda is bubbly and refreshing, neither too sweet nor too light—a perfect brunch drink.
Instructions: In a tall glass or large wine glass with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces of Italicus, 2 ounces of sparkling wine, and 1 ounce of club soda. Garnish with a few orange wedges.
Intermediate: Italicus Toddy
If you think hot toddies are just for whiskey and brandy, think again: Many aromatic spirits and liqueurs are, in fact, delicious served warm. The bergamot character of Italicus reminds us of Earl Grey tea, so we figured: Why not heat it up? Hot toddies are all about the fragrance, and the steam carries the additional aromas of citrus, honey, and spicy to your nose.
Instructions: Add 2 ounces of Italicus, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1 dash of orange bitters to a heat-safe glass. Heat 3 ounces of water to a near-boil and pour into glass; stir until honey is dissolved. Take a lemon wedge, stud with a few cloves, squeeze it over the top and toss it in; add a long orange peel and a cinnamon stick.
Advanced: Gin & Italicus Sour
While gin is an obvious pair for the floral-herbal liqueur, we want the more delicate flavors of Italicus to emerge, too. A classic sour, using egg white for a light, silky texture, is a perfect showcase, the smoothest imaginable way to enjoy its aromatic citrus character.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine 1 ounce of gin, 1 ounce of Italicus, 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of simple syrup, and 1 egg white. Shake all that up without ice to aerate it. Add ice and shake again for a “wet shake,” to chill it down. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange half-wheel.