So last week I was invited to the Clover Club, one of New York’s greatest bars, for a tasting of a new liqueur from Angostura: Amaro di Angostura.
Yes, Angostura, the people who make bitters.
They’ve also been making rum for more than 100 years, but people seem to only know them for the bitters. Now they’ve come out with an amaro – a bitter liqueur, which I’m betting people will actually be able to remember.
As I arrived, Angostura’s global ambassador was speaking a bit about the new beverage:
And he was offering a toast, so I hurried to the bar and ordered a “Road to Manhattan” – one of several drinks created for the night:
Road to Manhattan
- 1 oz Angostura 1824 (rum)
- 1 oz Amaro di Angostura
- .5 oz Ginger Liqueur
- 2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Stir with ice and strain over a giant ice cube.
So I fought my way up to the front, where David was handing out samples of Amaro di Angostura in simple glasses:
I have not had time to clean up this image. Also, I never got a decent drawing of the liquor itself, so here’s a publicity still.
Verdict: It’s pretty good! It’s based on their classic aromatic bitters, and if you’ve tasted various bitters side-by-side, you’ll know that Angostura is relatively sweet compared to some of its competitors.
Amaro di Angostura is similar – it has a caramel flavor, with cinnamon notes and a hint of citrus, but it’s all balanced by a bitter base from the gentian root, and some faint licorice flavors.
You can drink this amaro by itself on the rocks (it’s a little syrup-y when it’s warm), but the bartenders that night definitely made a case for including it in mixed drinks.
For instance the next drink I tried was the simple Amora Amaro:
- 1.5 oz Amaro di Angostura
- .75 oz Angostura Aromatic Bitters
- 1 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 oz Lime Juice
Shake and strain into a coupe glass.
It’s a simple drink, but it totally works – sweet, sour, and bitter all together.
A few more drinks, and both my ability to draw and my memory went mysteriously downhill.
I do remember getting this young man to make me a “Maracas Bay Swizzle”:
The Swizzle is a delightful drink involving rum, Amaro di Angostura, lime juice, pineapple juice, and raspberry syrup. I neglected to get the recipe or a sketch (again, mysterious reasons!), but here’s a photo of that beverage:
And then it was definitely time to take off. I’m calling that a successful product launch, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with the sample size bottle I made off with.
I will note that because the amaro is sweet as well as bitter, you can’t just substitute Amaro di Angostura for another digestif. I tried making a standard Negroni with Angostura instead of Campari, it was far too sweet. But then I discovered the recipe for the Amaroni in the back of the little recipe book they gave out (1.5 oz. Amaro di Angostura, 1 oz. of gin, .5 oz sweet vermouth, 2 dashes orange bitters) and it came out really smooth.
If you want to try it yourself, it should be in liquor stores now. It’s definitely at Astor Place for $26.99/bottle.
And the Maracas Bay Swizzle is currently on Clover Club’s Happy Hour Menu, so you can try it out for just $7 if you get there before 7pm. You should definitely go!