Name that aperitivo!
May 27, 2014 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Drank a great aperitivo (possibly a digestivo) at an Italian restaurant, haven't found it since. I think it's an Amaro but I don't know which one.

The drink was
- dark brown in color
- served over ice
- sweet but not sickly sweet
- might have a hint of licorice-y type flavor to it but not the dominant flavor
- still it reminded me of licorice and similar 'root-like' flavors
- seemed to be a blend of flavors rather than a one-note flavor (not sambuca)
- "an acquired taste" according to the waitress
- very refreshing
- maybe served with fizzy water?
- served at a restaurant in Toronto (GTA) (and I don't remember which one....)

The drink was not
- sambuca, or as strongly anise-flavored as sambuca
- bitter
- campari
- syrupy
- minty/toothpasty or disgustingly strong like limoncello

There seem to be a bunch of amaro liqueurs but without trying them all could someone possibly point me in the right direction? Hopefully towards something available in Canada (LCBO).

Any ideas? Thanks!
posted by St. Peepsburg to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
posted by homodachi at 4:50 PM on May 27, 2014

Sounds to me like Fernet-Branca?
posted by jeremias at 4:50 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

Antica Formula?
posted by gyusan at 4:58 PM on May 27, 2014

Averna (mostly fits what you said, but more reddish in color) or Zucca? Ramazzotti and Nonino are two other pretty popular amari but I don't know the tasting notes enough to say it's either one for sure.
posted by mlle valentine at 5:06 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'd start with Amaro Nonino. It's a milder Amaro. It's unlikely to be Fernet, but that's widely available at bars, so you could sample it quite easily to rule it out.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 5:15 PM on May 27, 2014

Fernet Branca is the sort of thing that would fit your story, but it has a pretty strong menthol component to it, so doesn't really fit your description.

I haven't tried it, but Ramazzotti apparently has some anise notes to it.
posted by aubilenon at 5:18 PM on May 27, 2014

Averna's got a distinct citrus character (blood orange and cinotto) that you'd probably notice; Ramazotti's reminiscent of cola or root beer; Fernet Branca doesn't really fit.

Here are some detailed tasting notes to see if you can narrow it down more.
posted by holgate at 5:22 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is a very long shot, but might it have been nocino? The green walnuts taste rooty rather than nutty to me, and it fits the physical description nicely. If you aren't familiar with the flavor, I can easily see how it might read as a mix rather than a single flavor. (Also, some nocinos have other flavors in them as well, like clove or other spices.)
posted by WidgetAlley at 5:32 PM on May 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would say probably Ramazotti.

2nd place, Amaro Montenegro

Fernet Branca is very strong, so definitely not.
posted by hamsterdam at 5:48 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm guessing Averna? I love Averna.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:10 PM on May 27, 2014

It sounds like Cynar to me. Which reminds me, I am going to have a glass.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:33 PM on May 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Have you considered calling the
restaurant? I have done this with wines and beers before; they will at least be able to provide you with a list to work off of.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:46 PM on May 27, 2014

Nonino and Montenegro are my guesses, and I say this as someone with no fewer than six bottles of amaro in the cabinet downstairs - they both fit your description very well.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:31 PM on May 27, 2014

I find Averna...a little thick, though not exactly syrupy, so maybe bump that one down the list if you're buying bottles to try.
posted by pullayup at 7:55 PM on May 27, 2014

Luxardo Amaro Abano, in case you need another to research.
posted by komara at 8:44 PM on May 27, 2014

I think it may have been Fernet with ginger ale.
posted by juliplease at 9:19 PM on May 27, 2014

Possibly nocino? As a plus, you could make it yourself (provided you have a source of fresh walnuts)!
posted by Wavelet at 10:23 PM on May 27, 2014

posted by evil_esto at 3:37 AM on May 28, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks guys, I am hearing Cynar, Ramazzotti and Nocino (Nonino?) so I will try those first, and move on to the others if I don't find it. At least I've got a place to start rather than randomly trying stuff.

I'm guessing it's not Fernet because menthol is not a favored taste of mine.

As for calling the restaurant, alas I don't even know where we went (it was a few years ago and a friend of a friend picked the place and it was a Saturday night, soooo..... )

Thanks again for all the ideas!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:34 AM on May 28, 2014

Nocino and Amaro Nonino are different - nocino describes a spirit made from walnuts. Good luck!!
posted by ersatzkat at 10:29 AM on May 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Did it taste like an artichoke? If not, it isn't Cynar. Thirding Averna.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:46 AM on May 28, 2014

That actually sounds an awful lot like chinotto, which is not an amaro but is sometimes served as (or as part of) an aperitivo. Many sources describe it as bitter, but I don't find it so. Depending on the brand, the darkness of the color can vary.
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:12 PM on May 29, 2014

Er, this is a more helpful link.
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:13 PM on May 29, 2014

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