Cynar // Italy
Pronounced chee-nar, this Italian digestivo first hit the Italian market in the 1950s. Cynar was founded by Venetian entrepreneur Angelo Valle Molle and is distilled from a blend of 13 herbs, as well as artichoke leaves—the star ingredient from which the amaro gets its name. The unique moniker, which often stumps drinkers, comes from cynarin, a property found in artichokes, and likely also for the vegetable’s botanical name, Cynara scolymus. It is bottled at 16.5% ABV.
AmaroAmaro means “bitter” in Italian. No legal definition exists, and though it originated in Italy, amaro (plural: amari) can be made anywhere. Originally created to aid in digestion, it is a bittersweet liqueur made from the maceration or distillation (or combination) of herbs, spices, roots, flowers, or other botanicals. Often uses neutral spirit as the base, but other liquor or wine can be used. Can be aged. Sugar is added before bottling. ABV varies, but tends to be 20-40%.
"Cynar's deep amber color accurately hints at its warm, herbal aromas that are slightly medicinal. It coats the mouth with a touch of orange peel and a bittersweet chocolate spice with a slight nuttiness that lingers in a welcoming way. There's nary a wink at anything vegetal, but the warm, herbal liqueur works wonders in a Spritz garnished with lemon rind."