Amore — Italian for ‘love.’ Amaro — Italian for ‘bitter.’ Isn’t it funny that these two words differ by just two letters? Aren’t we predisposed to pain by language and our mind itself? Whether you support the linguistic approach positing that language influences its speaker’s worldview or whether you’re with the language of thought theorists, who believe that thoughts are represented in the mind without words, one thing is for sure: in our collective mind, love cannot be all sweet without bitterness.
In the month of romance, when everything turns pink, we decided to take a sober look at the ambivalence of love. Whether you have promising romantic dinner plans on V-day or whether your plans boil down to sitting all alone and trying to silence your loneliness with a bunch of compulsive doordash orders like most of us, food will surely play a role on the most romantic night of the year. Happy or moody, you’ll most likely consume a ton of carbs as a result of celebrating love life. In this digest on the beloved digestif, we’ll help break down how this bittersweet concoction that amaro is can help you break down all the carbs devoured at Valentine’s Day dinner.
What is amaro, exactly?
An amaro is a bittersweet herbal liqueur that is traditionally made by infusing an alcoholic base, such as a neutral spirit, grape brandy, or wine, with botanical ingredients that include herbs, citrus peels, roots, spices, and flowers. Every amaro will include a bittering agent (such as the gentian flower, wormwood, or cinchona) and a sweetener. Non-alcoholic amaro follows the same recipe, only without the alcohol content of other its classic counterparts.
How does it aid digestion?
First introduced as a medicine, the liqueur is excellent for digestion, as the ingredients in it have medicinal qualities. A digestif is a concoction derived from specific blends of botanicals, typically bitter, for that purpose — to help in the aid of digesting. ‘Our bodies want to avoid bitter things because they could potentially be toxic, so amaro spurs the digestive system into gear, helping us break down food more quickly. Particular bitter roots and herbs in high percentages can be dangerous, like quinine, but the right amount, and we only use a tiny amount, is a digestive agent.’ All of these roots and herbs have healing properties at some level, in moderation.
In love life, we should probably follow nature as well, and remember that toxic things can only be tolerated in small doses. Regardless, here are some of the best amaros we could find out there that will be life-saviors if you’re looking for a beverage to enhance your V-day date or compensate for the lack of it.
AmarNo is the non-alcoholic evolution of traditional Amaros. An exquisite after-dinner botanical bitter, crafted by master “Amarologists” in Italy, it’s created with extracts of sage, wormwood, Chinese rhubarb, quassia and orange, traditionally considered to stimulate smooth digestion and enhance energy level. AmarNo: an ideal complementary component to creative cocktails, without adding alcohol.
For centuries Italians have appreciated the flavor and digestive properties of bitter herbs. The love of Amaro is an Italian tradition. Master craftsmen have kept perfecting this essential libation and today Dr. Zero Zero brings you its Non Alcoholic version, maintaining the flavor and smoothness that has delighted this country of millennial food and drink culture for so long.
New York's first Amaro producers are now producing a Non-Alcoholic Amaro Falso, designed to drink like a classic Italian digestivo, without the alcohol. Made differently than most, St. Agrestis Amaro Falso contains twenty herbs, spices, flowers, roots, seeds and citrus. It’s intended to be spice driven, perfectly balanced amaro on its own, but has quite a bit of versatility in cocktails. Driven by cinnamon, clove and allspice at the forefront, St. Agrestis Amaro Falso is marked by unparalleled freshness and intensity.
As the spice subsides on the palate, it transitions into a cooling sensation from the spearmint and peppermint. On the finish, green savory notes compliment the nuanced sarsaparilla root – all in perfect harmony. Ready-to-drink and individually portioned, Amaro Falso is driven by nuanced notes of herbal spice, mint and bitter complexity from gentian root. The result is a refreshing beverage that makes it an ideal cocktail that fans of Italian aperitivi and digestivi expect.
As mysterious as it is inimitable, The Pathfinder is a first-of-its kind non-alcoholic spirit. Made with a nod to the days of apothecaries, homemade remedies, and the pioneering of the American West, the spirit feels like a treasure from the past, though it's a completely modern take in the zero-proof world.
Made using copper pot distillation, fermented hemp is blended with botanicals, distillates, extracts, tinctures, and oils for a mood-boosting, balancing effect. The final result can hardly be compared with any other non-alcoholic spirit — it's complex, versatile, and can lean bitter or sweet depending on the serve.
Enjoy an abundance of amaro-like flavor, citrus, and spice. Wormwood, angelica root, ginger, sage, juniper, saffron, orange peel and Douglas fir bring the spirit to life in an earthy yet edgy presentation.
This unique spirit has been impossibly crafted to capture the essence of a nutty amaretto liqueur with flavors that are distinct and contemporary. Lyre's spirits don't just mimic, they have their own distinction as a premium, non-alcoholic beverage.
Lyre’s NA Amaretti is totally almond on the palate and tangy with spice to keep the nutty and candied vanilla flavors to a delicious medium-sweet. Sugar levels are beautifully balanced by the slight bitterness that almonds naturally have, while the finish is long and generous.
Enjoy it as a classic liqueur digestive on ice or shake with fresh lemon and bitters to make an Amaretto Sour. Try over your favorite ice-cream with a shot of espresso for the ultimate Lyre’s Affogato.
Inspired by the Black & Blue Amaro, Curious Elixir #8 will surely scintillate your senses. Organic blackberry, blueberry, and fig blend beautifully with blackstrap molasses, herbs, roots, and spices to create the perfect libation before or after a meal.
Underneath the richly balanced bittersweet notes, there’s a trio of adaptogenic mushrooms — reishi, chaga, and lion's mane — which helps you unwind and increases your body's natural immunity. With zero alcohol, Curious No. 8 will stun your senses, soothe your spirit, and boost your body with some of nature's most magical ingredients.
NA amaro’s best perk? You won’t text your ex after having any of these.