Italy- “Amaro Montenegro is a clear, amber-coloured Bitters made from a variety of herbs from around the world, vanilla for a hint of sweet and orange peel for a spicy citrus taste. A special soaking and distillation process helps bring the flavors together and provide a bitter finish.”
I was sure that I’d had this Italian herb liqueur, Amaro Montenegro, before in cocktails. But nothing that was memorable until I stepped into a “wine and cocktail bar” in Playa Del Rey, Bacari PDR, and ordered what they called a Black Manhattan. We were completely enamored and asked the bartender to share his recipe:
2 shots Rye, 1/2 shot Amaro Montenegro, 6 drops/2 shakes angostura, Orange twist.
We are fans of the basic Manhattan and make it often at home. This is the recipe we learned from Master Mixologist William Perbellini during a mixology class at Bar Toscana in Brentwood.
2 parts rye, 1 part Rosso sweet vermouth, 3 dashes of aromatic Angostura bitters and 3 dashes orange bitters. (We go without the orange bitters at home.) Add one Luxardo brand of Maraschino cherry…use (orange) zest over the top and around the rim of the glass.
As you can see the only real difference is using Montenegro over sweet vermouth. Both are outstanding, but if you are a Manhattan fan you have got to try the flavor boost Montenegro lends to the cocktail.
It hovers near $25 a bottle (Total Beverage Solutions, Bev Mo and Total Wine), but I didn’t think about it until I had the Black Manhattan.
And here’s another to try, if you’re buying the bottle anyway:
Instructions: Pour one ounce of Montenegro into a wine glass or Champagne flute. Add four ounces of sparkling wine (Prosecco or cava both work well here). Garnish with an orange slice. (Drink, and repeat.)
More cocktails using Amaro Montenegro can be found here.
Eve’s Wine 101 Event Picks: American Wine Specialist course Feb 2016 (this is the one you can take with me, so let me know if you signed up: Eve@EveWine101.com), LA Essentials 2/20, Dry Creek Valley Tour in LA 2/20, Paso Robles Distillery Trail presents Fire and Ice 2/27, Food Fare 3/3, Taste of Solvang 3/16-20, Paso Zin Weekend 3/18-20 and Sierra Pelona Wine Fest 4/23.
Eve Bushman has been reading, writing, taking coursework and tasting wine for over 20 years. She has obtained a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, has been the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and recently served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits that may be answered in a future column. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com