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Italians have invented hundreds of after-dinner drinks, and amaro cocktails are well known internationally. Served straight in a tall glass, or with ice and a lemon or orange wedge, amaro (bitter) is the classic Italian herbal liqueur that is usually drunk as a digestif. It originated in monasteries and pharmacies as a medicinal tonic: around 1300, monks began to produce medicinal brews and elixirs, and there are still many monasteries that produce and sell them. Amaro is typically made by (1) macerating herbs, roots, flowers, bark, and/or citrus peels in alcohol; (2) mixing the filtrate with sugar; (3) and allowing the mixture to age in casks or bottles.

Dozens of varieties are commercially produced; the most commonly available in the United States are Averna, Ramazzotti, Lucano, and Montenegro.


Steven Pav, 2007