J. Rieger is based in Kansas City, Missouri, where it produces a variety of spirits that includes vodka, gin, and whiskey. Oddly, its best-known is this, a coffee-infused amaro made with local coffee and a blend of botanicals, including juniper berries, cardamom, orange peel, star anise, spearmint leaves, gentian, and vanilla beans.
Aiming to combine the “best of both worlds,” Rieger succeeds amiably. The nose leans much more toward coffee bean — a fruit-forward coffee with a note of oak — but clearly underlined by gentian, rhubarb, and anise elements. The palate flips things around: Starkly bitter up front, with loads of gentian and anise, then the coffee, here showing more of the vanilla and a bittersweet chocolate note, at least for a time. The finish returns to an enduring bitterness, almost Fernet-like, which pairs well with the mix of black coffee notes, some hints of tar, and very dark chocolate.
Don’t want coffee and cake after a big meal but still want to feel like you had some? Try this.
B+ / $30 / jriegerco.com