The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2015

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100  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2015 E xactly 130 years ago, in 1885, an Italian herbalist named Stanislao Cobianchi developed a recipe for a drink; he blended over 40 different herbs and spices together to form what now survives as Amaro Montenegro. The recipe, which today is known in full by only one person, includes vanilla and orange peels and, as Marco Ferrari, CEO of Montenegro Srl—the company that distills Amaro Montenegro in Bologna, Italy—notes, "creates a complex flavor profile that bartenders can utilize in many differ- ent cocktails. When you play around with the spirit, you realize just how versatile it really is within the realm of mixology." At 23 percent ABV, Amaro Montenegro can easily perform as the modifier in stronger drinks or act as the base spirit in lighter cocktails like in a Buck or a Mule. In fact, the company began a marketing campaign in key markets around the U.S. offering a list of over 50 creations for bartenders to try out, centering on three cocktails— the Monte Mule, the Montenegroni and the Monte Manhattan—that showed the amaro's ability to perform as both a base and a modifier. "The lower proof and blend of spices make it very bal- anced," explains Ferrari. "It integrates nicely into whisky and rye drinks, but can work in a wide variety of cocktails. We find that bartenders love to experi- ment with it and find it very easy to mix into their programs." One such Bar Director, Robert Krueger, works at Extra Fancy in Brooklyn, a neighborhood bar with a great industry following. Krueger notes: "Extra Fancy is a place where people can be themselves, and people from other restaurants and bars flock to it. We are earnest in our attempt to have a good time and try our best to rid the bar and restaurant of pretention." In order to ensure the customer feels comfortable, Krueger and his staff focus on education and demystifying the drinking experience. A lot of the patrons come into the establishment and ask plenty of questions when they see the iconic green, oddly-shaped Montenegro bottle on the back bar— where it has been since the restaurant opened in 2012—or on the cocktail or spirit menu. by Emily Coleman / photos by Timothy Murray Call It a Day ◗ 1 oz. 100° rye whiskey ◗ 1 oz. Amaro Montenegro ◗ ½ oz. aquavit ◗ ½ oz. dry vermouth ◗ ½ oz. simple syrup ◗ ½ oz. lemon juice ◗ Cucumber slice (thinly cut lengthwise) ◗ Flaked sea salt Wrap the cucumber slice around the inside of a double Old Fashioned glass and fill with ice. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into the glass. Sprinkle sea salt on top.

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