If you’re in Montauk this weekend, keep your eyes peeled for a cute little green and copper wagon taking up residence from July 7 to July 9. Montenegro amaro’s Monte Wagon will be slinging a trio of amaro-based drinks all weekend long.
“As Montauk is the place to be during the summer, we’re stoked to have Bar Monte in the heart of it all, offering guests signature Amaro Montenegro cocktails and giving those who may be new to the brand a chance to experience the bittersweet liqueur,” says drinks-industry pro Tad Carducci, director of outreach and engagement for Gruppo Montenegro. “Guests will get to enjoy classics such as the Monterita, which is the perfect way to put the ‘snow tires’ on classic summer favorites.”
So what is amaro exactly? Let’s begin with where to find it. If you’re looking for it on a liquor store shelf, head to the liqueur section, as that’s its official designation by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (the federal branch of the government that, among other things, approves labels and production for spirits in the U.S.), but as the bittersweet sipper has become more and more popular, some shops are giving their amari choices their own section, nestled next to the spirits that they combine well with.
You might say the rise of the wonderfully ubiquitous classic Italian cocktail, the Aperol Spritz, over the last bunch of years has given Americans a taste for the bitter side of sipping — not to mention, our more recent penchant for lower-alcohol drinks. Amari tend to clock in at around 14 to 16 percent alcohol, more akin to a wine than a typical spirit. In its homeland of Italy, amari tend to be consumed after dinner, their typical bevy of herbs and spices considered a pleasant aid in post-meal digestion. But American bartenders have taken the liqueur to a new level.
Made in Bologna, Italy since the late nineteenth century, Montenegro amaro is an excellent pivot out of the spritz-centric (Aperol and its more bitter counterpart, Campari, are also amari, too, FYI, just the type more commonly situated as aperitivi) and into the world of the bitter liqueurs with its zesty orange notes and not-too-bitter taste on the tongue.
This weekend, learn the allure to the northern Italian amaro with a trio of cocktails created by Carducci and his team: the Monterita, a margarita riff with Montenegro amaro, blanco tequila and lime juice), the a play on the classic Italian Negroni, the Montenegroni, and the easy-peezy (as in, make this at home!) M&M.