One cold and cloudy evening I was craving a calorific meal from a cordial restaurant. At one point during my meal, a waitress arrived with a glass of amaro sent to me from a beautiful red-headed woman sitting at the bar. I immediately fell in love. With the amaro, that is.
Turns out the woman was my coworker, the sweet and energetic cashier Kristen, who shared with me the Amaro Nonino. Amari are liqueurs from Italy, whose flavors vary depending on the herbs, barks, flowers, fruits, and spices used. Some are syrupy, some are less viscous. Some taste like roses and others like artichokes. Each producer has their own specific recipe but typically amari are quite bitter and served as a digestif. The Nonino family has been distilling grappa and amaro since 1897 in Friuli, Italy. I found the Nonino, made with grappa as its base and flavored with undisclosed herbs and spices, to be truly fantastic. The nose is filled with scents that bring to mind Northwestern Italy where it’s distilled. The body initially tastes sweet while the grappa warms your mouth and finishes pleasantly bitter.
We encouraged Trac to bring Amaro Nonino into our alcohol assortment, and it’s now for sale behind the registers! I’ve gone through a few bottles of Nonino with my friends, enjoying it both on its own and experimenting with cocktails. Here’s a recipe I’m particularly excited to share: it’s a slight variation on Pizzaiolo’s cocktail, substituting Averna with my new love, Nonino.
1 ½ oz. lime juice
1 ½ oz. Campari
1 ½ oz. Amaro Nonino
Fever Tree tonic water
Slice of lime for garnish
In a highball filled with ice, layer lime juice, then Campari, then Nonino. Top with tonic water and garnish with a slice of lime.