Zucca // Lombardia, Italy
The recipe for Zucca Rabarbaro dates back to 1845 when a doctor prescribed rhubarb and medicinal herbs to Tilde Zucca to aid her digestion. Her husband Ettore decided to add alcohol to the concoction. It became quite popular in cafes as an aperitif in Milan among other European cities. In the early 1900s, a descendant of Ettore, Carlo, established the Zucca Company to bring the product to shelves. Rabarbaro is Italian for "rhubarb" and is the only disclosed ingredient by the brand. The rhubarb root is sourced from the Gansu province in China. Note: In Spring 2016, this product got an updated label and recipe upping the proof from 30 to 60.
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 made be used. Can be aged. Sugar is added before bottling. ABV varies, but tends to be 20-40%.
"Zucca Rabarbaro is a touch smoky on the nose with rhubarb, of course, being the primary feature. There's a bit of spice to accompany the fruit on the nose, but a modest amount. Nice tart rhubarb fruit throughout with dark chocolate to accentuate the bittersweet finish. Not a brooding amaro, but an enjoyable one and a favorite go to."