Outlaw Pizza in the Warehouse District also has a surprising selection of Amari — the owners assumed it made sense to serve Italian liqueur with Italian-based food.Customers here skew toward the college crowd, however, and they haven’t entirely embraced this. “They don’t want to order something that sounds unfamiliar,” the bartender explained. When I stopped by they were reducing the Amari stock on the shelf by offering double shots for $6. Get it while you can. But the best destination in New Orleans for a serious sampling of Amari these days is La Boca, the Argentine steakhouse on Tchoupitoulas Street in the Warehouse District. The connection between Argentina and Italy isn’t as far-fetched as geography suggests: The South American country has historically served as home to a host of Italian immigrants. In fact, Argentina is the only place outside Milan where Fernet Branca — a style of Amaro so potent it’s famed as a double-dare-you bitter digestif — is made. The menu offers more than a dozen Amari by the glass, ranging fromMeletti, a sweeter and more floral Amaro that serves as a good gateway, to the more belligerent and feisty Cynar 70, an artichoke- based liqueur bottled at a higher proof than is usual. For those just beginning an exploration, the restaurant also offers an appealing Amaro flight — several pours selected by the bartender. I got a flight of five Amari, each less than an ounce, and each offering a quick trip in geography, history and taste. It’s the most efficient education in Amaro you can get — a quick lesson in learning they’re not all the same, and that they vary substantially in their profiles. As an added bonus, they go splendidly with steak. Digestif Cocktails Toronto Cocktail WHAT YOU WILL NEED 2 ounces Canadian whiskey ounce Fernet Branca ounce simple syrup 2 dashes Angostura bitters Orange peel, for garnish HOW TO PREP Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir well and strain into a chilled glass. Twist orange peel over the drink and use as garnish. Negroni Cocktail WHAT YOU WILL NEED 1 ounce London dry gin 1 ounce Campari 1 ounce Vermouth Rosso Slice of orange, for garnish HOW TO PREP Pour all of the ingredients directly into a glass filled with ice. Stir. Garnish with a slice of orange.

Aperitifs An aperitif is a beverage served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. It’s usually dry and has a low alcohol content. • Aperol This bitter liqueur’s exact recipe is a secret, but we know it contains hints of bitter orange and both gentian and cinchona flower, among other ingredients. Aperol has a very low alcohol content of only 11 percent. Drink over ice or in a spritzer with seltzer or club soda. • Campari Campari has a higher alcohol content and more prominent flavor than Aperol. Its recipe, like Aperol’s, is shrouded in mystery. It has hints of rhubarb and berries, and a floral bouquet of various herbs and plants. Campari is featured in the Negroni, the most famous Italian cocktail in the world. • Cynar This bitter aperitif is made by steeping 13 herbs in a neutral spirit. But its predominant ingredient is the artichoke (Cynara scolymus), from which the drink derives its name. Cynar can be drunk as either an aperitif (usually on the rocks) or in a cocktail. Dessert Liqueurs Dessert is often accompanied by a dessert wine or liqueur. • Amaretto This almond-flavored liqueur is commonly paired with a coffee liqueur or mixed with coffee. • Frangelico This hazelnut liqueur is produced in Piedmont. Its origins date back more than 300 years to the presence of early Christian monks living in the area. Its bottle — shaped like a monk’s habit, with a traditional rope belt around its waist — is an immediate reminder of its distinctive history. Serve at room temperature or on the rocks. • Sambuca This colorless, anise-flavored liqueur is commonly served neat, with some coffee beans (known as con la mosca, or “with the fly”) floating in the glass. The beans represent health, happiness and prosperity. Digestifs Digestifs contain herbs and spices that have stomach-settling properties. A digestif normally has a higher alcohol content than its before-dinner counterpart. • Amaro This infusion of various herbs, roots and vegetables in alcohol is renowned for its alleged powers at countering the effects of overindulging at the dinner table. Flavors range from earthy and bitter to sickly sweet. It may be served at room temperature or on the rocks.


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