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Friday, 6 April 2012

Amaro Part 2: Buying Amaro in B.C.

Now that we've taken a brief look at what exactly amaro is, let's take a look at buying it in B.C. While some are actually cheaper here than in the States (well, Washington at least), others are only available at specialty stores where you'll still be paying a lot more, but if you're Canadian, you're used to it. Below I will list the types available to us here in Canada, which are the more popular types you will see in craft cocktail bars. If you're looking to buy for your home bar, Legacy is the place to go, unless you have time to visit Seattle (I've listed both prices so you can compare).

Averna - from Sicily, originally made in 1868 by a man of the same name. Herbs, roots, and citrus are soaked in a neutral spirit, then caramel is added and is bottled at 64 proof. It will run you $48 at Legacy in Vancouver, or $34 or less in the States.
Aperol - bright orange-colour, orange and rhubarb flavour, slightly bitter, low-proof (see my post on The Petruchio), aperitivo. This is the best starting point if you don't know amaro very well, or don't have a taste for bitter. $22 in the B.C. government liquor store, and $25 in Washington (woot!).
Campari - vibrant red colour, citrus and cinchona flavours, quite bitter (see my post on The Americano), aperativo. $27 in the government stores here, and $33 in Washington (woot again!).
Cynar - made from 13 herbs and plants, including artichoke, and bottled at 33 proof. Launched in 1952 and currently owned and distributed by the Campari group. $38 at Legacy, but only $27 in Washington.
Fernet - very bitter, 80-proof or higher (see my post from Fernet February), made in Lombardia. This will run you $30 in both Washington and B.C.
Lucano - fairly bitter using 37 herbs. $40 at Legacy, and not available to Washington stores (score another for Canada!).
Montenegro - from Bologna in the late 1800's, made from over 40 herbs and bottled at 46 proof, strong orange flavour. $44 at Legacy, $30 in Washington.
Nardini - mainly a grappa producer dating back to the late 1700's, they also produce a fairly light and minty amaro. You won't be able to find this in Canada, but can pick it up in Washington for only $28.
Nonino - grappa-based with very herbal but sweet flavour. $50 in Canada, but in the States you can find it for $24.
Ramazzotti - from Milan, bottled at 60 proof, flavour similar to traditional cola. $34 at Legacy, and $29 in Washington.

There are other less popular ones you can get in the Wasington stores like Santa Maria Genova (which is really light and tasty - another good starting point), Abano, and Rabarbaro Zucca, all in the $30-40ish range. I'm sure there are other states and cities, such as San Francisco, where you can find more, because you always can. 

The most typical way to enjoy an amaro is just neat in a liqueur glass after a meal, but often some are suggested to be drunk with soda water and an orange or lemon twist, or on the rocks, again with said twist. No matter how you enjoy it, an amaro is a perfect digestivo, or a perfect ending to an evening of drinking.

I'll be back soon with some information on aperitivo amari, specifically Campari and Aperol.

[[ See my post on amaro digestivos here ]]
[[ See my post on amaro aperivos here ]]
[[ See "The One Hit Wonder" from L'abattoir in Vancouver here ]]
[[ See "The Penny Farthing" from Pourhouse here ]]
[[ See an introduction to amaro  here ]]
[[ See "The Imperial Eagle" from Bourbon & Branch here ]]
[[ See "Sevilla" from Beretta here ]]
[[ See "Fallow Grave" from the Toronto Temperance Society here ]]
[[ See "The Black Prince" from Phil Ward here ]]
[[ See "Bad Apple" and "Jackson Ward" from Amor y Amargo here ]]
[[ See "The Four Horsemen" from Jay Jones at Shangri-La here ]]
[[ See Colin MacDougall from Blue Water Cafe here ]]
[[ See "Debbie Don't" from Dutch Kills here ]]
[[ See "Welcome to the Dark Side" from Cin Cin here ]]
[[ See "Foolish Games" from Russell Davis here ]]
[[ See "Intro To Aperol" from Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club here ]] 

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