I’ve become a fan of Amari (plural of Amaro), having had several cocktails containing them I’ve grown fond of the herbal complexity they add to a drink. Amaro simply means bitter in Italian, and Amari are basically Italian bitter liqueurs, and there is quite a range of them all with their own complexities: Ramazzotti, Nonino, Averna, Abano and on the more bitter side Fernet. These of course are just a few examples of more common Amari, but there are quite a number of them.
Amer Picon is an Amaro that was popular in pre-prohibition cocktails, but is now considered a sort of holy grail by cocktails geeks as it is practically impossible to get stateside. It can still be purchased in France but having undergone a few re-formulations which lowered the proof and changed the taste has left mixologists still searching for the original.
I recently made a new friend Michael Lazar who hosted a wonderful cocktail night where he was serving a drink with an Amer Picon replica. He pointed me to mixologist master Jamie Boudreau’s blog for he had re-created what is considered the closest thing to the original, calling it Amer Boudreau. Jamie is a mixologist I highly respect and he has kindly shared the recipe for everyone on his blog.
So a few days before christmas I started on my adventure to make Amer Picon, which is a somewhat lengthy process. Before being able to make the final product first you need to make an Orange Tincture, a tincture is simply a high proof liqour that is used to extract the flavor out of something, in this case orange peels. I peeled 14 oranges and then let them dry for 5 days to start the tincture. To lower the 4-6 week infusion time of high proof vodka, I opted to use 151 proof everclear, which I will need to water down to bring the proof down to 100 to make the final Amer Picon. The tincture should be ready in mid-january.
I’ll keep you posted on the next phase of the project.