Amaro amore: The Bay Area’s passion for bittersweet liqueur

Apr 03, 2017 1529


Standing next to a gleaming white marble bar in Palo Alto’s new Vina Enoteca restaurant, Massimo Stronati loads up a vintage cocktail cart with his amari arsenal, a dozen fancy-labeled bottles of the bittersweet Italian liqueurs that are making waves across the Bay Area bar scene.

It’s no secret that California foodies have a thing for all things bitter, from coffee to hoppy beer. That’s the appeal of amaro, as well. These spirits run the flavor gamut from sweet with a bitter kiss, to herbal or medicinal, to aggressively bitter. From Oakland’s Shakewell to San Francisco’s Quince, amari are popping up on bar menus in cocktails or served neat as aperitifs or digestifs.

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