Spirited: Amaro

The arrival of spring is bittersweet—for cocktails at least.

Is there a more perfect liqueur for the season than amaro? From a ruby-hued Negroni to a fizzy Aperol spritz, cocktails made with amari (a type of Italian digestif made from brandy infused with herbs, citrus, and spices) are as refreshing as a spring breeze blowing through the Italian countryside.

There are many different kinds of amari, ranging from bittersweet to extremely bitter, but one of the most popular is Amaro Montenegro. Medium-bodied with strong orange notes, it’s a great entryway to more intense amari.

For a taste, head to The Mill in Hastings-on-Hudson and order the “Out Like a Lion,” made with Amaro Montenegro, scotch, Luxardo Maraschino, bitters, and lemon. “Amaro Montenegro happens to be my favorite amari,” says General Manager Jeremy McLellan. “It has that perfect balance of floral, medicinal, caramel, and bitterness.”

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“Amaro Montenegro is beautiful. It works well in so many different cocktails,” says Justin Montgomery, owner of Harper’s in Dobbs Ferry, where it is regularly featured on the rotating cocktail list (patrons can always ask for it in a custom drink). And at Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, Amaro Montenegro is available upon request in the Negroni and the bourbon-based Spagliato.

If you are a purist, sample it straight at Pour in Mount Kisco or L’inizio in Ardsley. Both places have extensive lists of amari, including Amaro Montenegro. Or, pick up a bottle to savor at home—preferably outside on a warm spring evening.

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