It may be the definition of terroir, Amaro Braulio is a playfully bitter, pine-driven spirit that speaks of the land from which it came.
The one thing you will hear me say over and over when I speak of amaro, is terroir. Im obsessed, hence my fascination with Amaro Braulio. It screams of its native terroir, Northern Italy, bordering the swiss alps in a town called Bormio, It lies in the Provence of Sondrio in Valatellina, Lombardia. If you’re familiar with Alto Adige its about 2 hours east of Bolzano. This area was once a highly sought after trade route between Italy and Norther Europe.
Simply put, Braulio drinks like carmalized Arolla and Scots Pine, the native trees in that area of the Alps. I’ve heard people say it tastes like a Christmas tree in a glass, for me it is the definition of terroir. A shining example of what Amaro is all about, firmly rooted in its land and surroundings.
It is unique from most amari for the fact that it the herbs used are macerated in a grape distillate, or grappa as it is known in Italy. This is not the only amaro to use grappa as its base but it lends a naturally deep complexity to the finished product over those that use grain alcohol. After maceration it is typically aged for two years in oak barrels further enhancing its unique properties and depth.
Only four, among the thirteen ingredients used in its preparation are known: gentian, juniper, wormwood, and yarrow. The rest are kept secret.
At 21% abv this amaro is rich, with notes of chamomile, sandalwood and pine, predominantly bittersweet front front to back. It was first produced in 1875 and named after Monte Braulio, one of the 23 main peaks of the Livigno Alps.
Drinking it straight from the bottle crosses my mind almost every time I pick it up. Its great on its own neat, but with a splash of soda water and orange it is equally enjoyable. During the summer try pouring it over crushed ice, zesting an orange peel over the top for a bittersweet and refreshing treat.
If you are wondering how to employ this fine beverage in your cocktails remember what mom always told you; less is more.
Bars and restaurants around the U.S. are already begining to find ways to properly showcase this powerful amaro.
Nico Osteria in Chicago has crafted a refeshing twist on the negroni called Nico and Featherweight in Brooklyn has conjured up an alpine twist on an old fashioned called The Saw Tooth.
1 1/4 oz Sipsmith Gin
1 1/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz mineral water
1/2 oz Amaro Braulio2 oz Elijah Craig 12-year1/2 oz Amaro Braulio1 brown sugar cube2 dashes Fee’s orange bitters