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.

Orange Tincture

3 comments to “The tale of the Amer Picon”

  1. Mr. Manhattan

    Hi Fil…

    You know the second time I made my orange tincture, I actually infused peel in it twice. First I made one with dried peel (got it at Lhasa Karnak on Telegraph Ave.) and when it was ‘done’ I filtered it and then added a second round of peel (fresh this time, being very careful to NOT get any pith in it). It was that tincture that I used to make the Amer Boudreau I shared with you. I think the double infusing (plus use of dried and fresh peel) really made all the difference in the final product.


  2. filipjach

    Thanks Michael, I was somewhat afraid that some of my peels might have too much pith. My new peeler does a better job of doing thin slices so I may need to re-do it.

  3. Michelle

    I have an unopened bottle if anyone is interested. It’s old but I don’t know how old. Kisschelle at gmail


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