Memorial Day Cocktail Blogging: Torani Amer Spritzer

by Will on May 31, 2011

One of the frustrations inherent in trying old cocktail recipes is that many ingredients mentioned have gone out of favor and are no longer available. The situation has improved since I first went looking for the obscure spirits of old: Maraschino liqueur and creme de violette are now stocked at BevMo, for instance. One ingredient that remains elusive is Amer Picon, a French bitter that seems to have been rather popular at one time, but which today is not distributed anywhere in the United States. But in fact the situation is even worse than that: even the Amer Picon that is sold in France is not the same product as the Amer Picon that was available before the 70s. So if you used it in a cocktail recipe from the 20s, you would not be making the same drink that the author was.

I am told that of products currently on the market, the one that comes closest to the Amer Picon of old is Torani Amer. This is produced by the same company that makes the ubiquitous Italian syrups. And yet, it too is quite difficult to find.

But I obtained a bottle of it. Jen and I got home from a long, thirsty day at the Oakland Zoo, and, finding ourselves short on Campari, decided to try the recipe that Torani Amer recommends on the label. As follows:

A little cracked ice
1/2 teaspoon grenadine
2 oz. Torani Amer
Top off with soda water, garnish with lemon peel

The resulting drink was cheerfully refreshing, more reminiscent of Aperol than of Campari. I regretted only that we were not outside drinking it at a sidewalk cafe in a sunny city.

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