Five Australian Amari to Try

Not only is it both bitter and sweet, amaro is not too high in alcohol so a splash won’t throw off the balance of your drink.

Article by Fred Siggins

Photography courtesy of Økar Island Bitter.


Adelaide Hills Distillery Bitter Orange

A light and citrusy aperitif-style amaro, this sits somewhere between Aperol and Campari in bitterness and palate weight. It features lots of bright orange notes with the complexity of Australian native thyme and sunrise limes, plus rosella flower for a beautiful red colour. Perfect for sunny-day sipping in a spritz or before dinner in a lighter-style Negroni. $60 – 700ml – 20% alc/vol

Økar Island Bitter

Darker and richer than Adelaide Hills Distillery’s Bitter Orange, Økar Island Bitter gets its character from native red fruits, including Davidson plums and riberries, as well as strawberry gum for a woody and bittersweet palate with a long finish. Sip this on the rocks or mix it into a more complex Negroni to linger over. It’s an acquired taste, but an addictive one at that. $55 – 750ml – 24% alc/vol

Maidenii Nocturne Vin Amer

Vermouth maker Maidenii is a dream-team made up of the French expat winemaker Gilles Lapalus and the Australian bartender Shaun Byrne. They make Nocturne Vin Amer (French for bitter wine) on a base of aged Victorian wines spiced up with wormwood, quandong, muntries, riberries and black truffle. This complex amaro/vermouth mash-up is best enjoyed chilled in a wine glass. $69.95 – 750ml – 21.5% alc/vol

Mr Black Coffee Amaro

Mr Black has capitalised on the Australian obsession with coffee like no other spirits company, producing a hugely popular coffee liqueur using locally roasted beans. Its amaro is a nod to the Italian tradition of serving after-dinner digestifs and the influence Italian migrants have had on Australian food and drink (coffee in particular). Made with arabica coffee, grapefruit peel and bitter, floral gentian, this is perfect for settling the stomach after a big meal, with a nice hit of caffeine to boot. $80 – 700ml – 28.5% alc/vol

Never Never Distilling Co. Dark Series Black Juniper Amaro

Known for its outstanding gins, Never Never Distilling Co. produced this limited-release amaro in collaboration with the Melbourne cocktail bar Black Pearl. Close in style to the dark and intensely bitter Italian amaro Fernet-Branca, this sensationally complex after- dinner sipper has roasted juniper berries for a burnt toffee and pine character, as well as traditional bittering agents such as wormwood and gentian. Sweet tooths need not apply. $54 – 500ml – 29% alc/vol

A version of this article appears in print in our launch edition, Page 64 of T Australia with the headline:
Bitter and Twisted
Order a copy | Subscribe