The recipe for Amaro Lucano dates back to 1894. Pasquale Vena was working in this family’s cookie bakery in Pisticci, a small town in Lucania, Italy, when he developed this special blend of 30-plus herbs and essential oils. Over the decades, the family recipe has been passed down from generation to generation and closely guarded. And with tastes for amaro on the rise, it was recently reintroduced to the United States market, which means it’s readily accessible to stateside drinkers.
To make the stuff, Lucano sources the 30-plus herb varietals from around the world. They’re dried naturally, crushed and then steeped in a solution of pure alcohol and water before being left to macerate and steep overnight. Once that’s done, the mixture is pressed and combined with infusions comprised of essential oils, pure alcohol and water, and it’s left to decant in large tanks for 5 months. The heart of this liquid comprises the final Amaro Lucano product.
All that results in an amaro that’s rich and complex. On the nose, Amaro Lucano is full of vegetal herbs and spices, plus cola, eucalyptus, citrus and mint. Take a sip, and bittersweet gentian shines through alongside root beer like flavors of sassafras. It maintains a solid balance that’s absent the punch-in-the-mouth bitterness of some amari, but also absent the overpowering sugar of many liqueurs. It finishes with the lingering taste of sweet herbs and earthy roots.
This is interesting stuff. We sampled it neat and on the rocks with a slice of orange, because that seemed like the right thing to do at the time. But our next step is to mix this one into cocktails. With its complex, herbal profile, you can go in a few different directions. Mix it with whiskey or gin. Throw it into a classic cocktail or create something new. Or just drink it straight like we did. There are no wrong answers here.
– 28% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★★