Amarophilia across the USA…

Above: Fernet Branca shakerato, the way I drink it.

My colleague at Sotto in Los Angeles, mixologist Julian Cox, got a nice shout out from wine writer Ray Isle in an article on amaro in this month’s issue of Food & Wine. Julian’s amaro list at the restaurant features around 20 labels on any given day.

There’s no two ways about it: amarophilia (amaro fever? amaro mania?) is one of the new waves in mixology these days.

When I traveled to Friuli in October with a troika of über-hip mixologists, the barpeople wanted to duck into every wine shop they could in the hope of discovering a label unknown to Americans.

Above: That’s super cool Sam Ross of Milk & Honey (NYC) fame with the fabu Nonino sisters, an image I snapped on our trip to Friuli. He uses Nonino’s amaro in his cocktail, “the Paper Plane.”

When Ray — a friend and colleague from my NYC days — called to interview me for the article, we talked about the differences in the way that amaro is perceived and applied in the U.S. and Italy, historically and currently.

I recalled a Neapolitan-American friend of mine, Giovanni, now in his 50s, whose mother used to give him an espresso spiked with a shot of Fernet Branca and an egg yolk every morning before school.

There was a time when Italians used amaro as a tonic. And today, even though it’s no longer applied as a household remedy, Italians still serve it as a digestive. At any given bar or restaurant, you might find 3 or 4 different labels but no one would ever think of offering guests an amaro list (with 20 labels!) or using amaro as an ingredient in a cocktail.

Another expression of that great misunderstanding otherwise known as the Atlantic Ocean…

7 thoughts on “Amarophilia across the USA…

  1. For quite possibly the best selection of Amari in the US, got to Osteria Mozza in LA or Lupa in NYC… Lots of rare stuff you cant find in The States… I wonder WHO might have found those???

  2. Believe it or not, we have over 20 different Amari over here at Osteria Mozza in Singapore, and the list is still growing. Not sure if any of you guys make it over to SE Asia.

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