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Issue 146 - Feeling bitter

Whisky Magazine Issue 146
September 2017


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Feeling bitter

We look at the versatility of amaro

Italy's influence on the global palate is undeniable, but there's one key component of Italian food and drink culture that, while no less important, has passed much of the world by. I'm talking, of course, of Italy's penchant for the bitter herbal liqueur known as amaro. The name literally translates as ‘bitter' and describes a category that, while mostly associated with Italy, can act as an umbrella term for a whole host of drinks. Amari can range from around 15 to 40% ABV, may have wine, grappa, or neutral spirit as a base and can arguably also include digestifs such as Jägermeister and bitter liqueurs such as Campari or Aperol among its ranks. One notable sub-category of amaro is the especially bitter fernet, of which the most widely known is the Fernet-Branca brand. Although there's a huge degree of variation between the amari produced by different companies, what all have in common is a distinctive bittersweet profile that bartenders find indispensable. For us whisky lovers, amari can be used to great effect in order to pull out or balance the key flavours of our favourite drams – something the team at Bramble has demonstrated in these three cocktails.

The 747 is a punchy take on the Paper Plane, a modern classic created by Sam Ross in 2007, that really plays to the spicy ginger cake and marmalade profile of the Tamdhu. The Montenegro and Aperol bolster those all-important orange notes, while the respective clove and pink grapefruit elements bring fruit-packed pa...

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