Looking for a new menu addition? Try amaro. Although bartenders have known about amari (the plural of amaro) for many years, they’ve mostly been keeping the secret to themselves, or using amari solely as drink additives to kick up their cocktails. This means that most of your customers don’t know what this exciting “new” drink is. Here’s everything you need to know to add amaro to your beverage menu.
What is amaro?
Amaro is the alcohol industry’s best-kept secret. It’s made by macerating an eclectic blend of herbs, roots, and spices into an alcoholic base, then adding syrup before aging in bottles or casks. Frequently the ingredients are a trade secret, so it’s best to taste-test amari yourself to understand their potential. As an artisan craft blend, amari flavors and ingredients can vary significantly, depending on where they were made, but one rule always applies: to be classified as an amaro, the blend must be made in Italy.
The most popular, well-known amaro is Fernet-Branca, but there are literally hundreds of other flavors. With its strange mix of flavors and high alcohol content (16-40%), amari are classified as drinkable bitters, but the flavors range far beyond bitter. There are sweet amari, sour amari, spicy amari—there’s even an artichoke-flavored amaro known as Carciofo (which is “artichoke” in Italian).
How to serve it
To serve amari in your restaurant, you’ll want to offer these options: neat, on ice, with a citrus slice, or with tonic water. Of course, if you introduce your servers to amari with a tasting, they’ll know what serving recommendations to make, and they’ll also know which amari to recommend with which desserts. After all, amari is usually served as an after-dinner pour.
How amaro helps your restaurant
While amari have great potential for improving your signature drinks, they can also be offered as an upsell to standard cocktails, such as rum and cola, or gin and tonic, just like with your other bitters.
Another option is to offer amari as a digestif, as an alternative to port and other sweet drinks. You can also serve them as a flight for the table (or per person), perhaps paired with a “Tour of Italy” food theme.
No matter what you choose, you should be sure to add amari to your standard offerings. At a typical $10 per two-ounce pour, amari are a valuable, yet still unique addition to your beverage menu.
What’s your experience with amari?
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