Spirit Review: Cardamaro
Amari are a great class of spirits, and one of the best things about them is despite many becoming widely available here in America, there are many more obscure ones that will never reach our shores. Gives you an excuse to go there and seek some out. One that is here now is Cardamaro. Hailing from Piedmont, with a Moscato base, aged six months in oak, and clocking in at only 17%, this is more akin to a vermouth than an Amari. Despite the name, it does not have cardamom in it, but instead contains Cardoon (also called artichoke thistle) and Blessed Thistle.
Medium-light tawny in the glass, nose of ginger, juniper, and anise. Very little bitterness for an amaro, and it is quite pleasant. Almost sherry like in its nuttiness and caramel notes, and up front it drinks just like a vermouth, with licorice and lemon zest followed by vanilla, pine, and medium finish of hazelnut, ginger, and resin.
This would be an interesting substitute for vermouth, especially in a Manhattan. Suggested pairings also include cider, or even substituting it for rye or whiskey for a lower ABV cocktail.
From: Giovanni Bosca, Piedmont
Rating: 92 pts