Amari is the plural of amaro (Italian for bitter), which is a category of bittersweet liqueurs primarily served as a digestif. Amari come in a wide variety of styles — but most are built around a certain herb, flower, bark, or nut. A typical amaro will be a blend of multiple botanicals, and most rely on very old, secret, family recipes. While many amari are opaque to the point of being nearly black in color, a whole spectrum of colors represents the amari universe — including clear amari. Amari can be consumed neat, on the rocks, or — increasingly — as part of a cocktail.

Top Amari/Amaro Posts:

Jagermeister Manifest
Cynar 70 Liqueur
Campari and Tempus Fugit Gran Classico

Review: The Bitter Truth E**X**R Krauter Liqueur

By Christopher Null | March 5, 2011 |

Fun fact: E**X**R has more asterisks in its name than any other product we’ve reviewed. That alone makes it exciting, but the product is also worthwhile on its own merits. Also known as Elixier (overseas) and EXR — there were some issues with the original name, courtesy of your government overseers — E**X**R is a…

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Review: Averna Amaro

By Christopher Null | February 4, 2011 |

More bitter stuff, this time the classic amaro (the Italian term for bittersweet digestifs) Averna. Like Cynar, Averna has been a mixology staple for a few years now, though it originated in 1868. Hailing from Sicily, Averna is sweeter than most of its compadres, striking a pleasant balance between bitter and sugary. The body is…

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Review: Latvijas Balzams Riga Black Balsam

By Christopher Null | February 3, 2011 |

Bitter spirits week (month? there’s no end in sight, really…) continues here at Drinkhacker with an obscurity: Riga Black Balsam, a Latvian liqueur made by Latvijas Balzams. “Black” is an understatement. Black Balsam pours with the opacity and color of dark coffee, and it isn’t out of line to suggest there are similarities in the…

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Review: Cynar Liqueur (2011)

By Christopher Null | January 31, 2011 |

Most shoppers and bargoers don’t get past the label when checking out Cynar. Yes, that is an artichoke, and Cynar is indeed a liqueur flavored with, among other things, artichokes. (Most shoppers mispronounce the name, too, by the way: It’s (roughly) “chee-nar.”) Launched in Italy in 1952 and bought by the Campari group in 1995…

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Review: Campari and Tempus Fugit Gran Classico (2011)

By Christopher Null | January 28, 2011 |

It’s a bitter bitter spirits battle here at Drinkhacker tonight! In one corner we have Campari, the classic, bright-red bitter spirit that’s a key part of the Negroni and other ultra-bitter cocktails. In the other, cross-country foe Gran Classico, from Tempus Fugit Spirits. How do these bitter aperitifs measure up? Let’s find out! Campari is…

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Review: Calisaya Liqueur

By Christopher Null | August 12, 2010 |

A bittersweet amaro-style liqueur, Calisaya is made in an Italian style, but not in Italy — rather, in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Not nearly as dark as most amaros, Calisaya is a deep orange, in keeping with its orange-inflected flavor. But the base of Calisaya is not distinctly orange but rather cinchona bark, a tree which…

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Review: Harlem Kruiden Liqueur

By Christopher Null | July 20, 2010 |

A new liqueur called Harlem is making a splash in the cocktail scene, its goal nothing less than knocking Jagermeister off its precious perch at the top of the “grimace and swallow” shot category. That’s an awfully tall order: Jager has 70 years of history and sick college students behind it, all unabashedly downing ice…

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Review: “Art in the Age” Root Liqueur

By Christopher Null | October 19, 2009 |

It takes balls to launch a new herbal liqueur these days. Bittersweet amaro-type liqueurs are not exactly part of a category which has bartenders and consumers jumping up and down, clamoring for more. But Art in the Age did it anyway, adding to their mixing bowls 13 herbs, spices, roots, and other ingredients — and…

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Review: “B&B” Brandy & Benedictine

By Christopher Null | May 31, 2009 |

When I was a kid my dad had THE coolest bottle of booze on the planet. Actually it was two bottles, fused into a single decanter: Benedictine on one side, B&B (a blend of brandy and Benedictine) on the other, each with its own spout. Coolest thing on earth to look at, but not once…

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Review: Phillips Black 100 Liqueur

By Christopher Null | May 4, 2009 |

The poor man’s Jagermeister, Phillips Black is a wildly flavorful, very sweet, licorice-like herbal liqueur designed for drinking cold and, most likely, extremely fast so you don’t realize what hit you. The 100 in the name refers to the proof level and the Black the color your soul will be after drinking three shots of…

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