Tasting Amaro di Angostura

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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: http://carlisletheacarlisletheatre.org/wp-login.php Amaro di Angostura.

Yes, Angostura, the people who make bitters.

Angostura-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:

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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:

 

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go site 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:

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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.

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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:

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go 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”:

Angostura32The 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:

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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!

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