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Recipe of the week: Amaro cucciolo

In cocktail bars and upscale Italian restaurants around the country, “amaro is hot right now.”

In cocktail bars and upscale Italian restaurants around the country, “amaro is hot right now,” said M. Carrie Allan in The Washington Post. The bittersweet liqueur comes in so many styles that you’ll never run out of options. Still, “the do-it-yourself kind is surprisingly easy”—once you’ve located gentian root online or in a natural food store. Plan on giving each batch five weeks to mature.

Amaro cucciolo(Recipe courtesy of Jeff Faile, beverage director at Fiola)

  • Rind of one large grapefruit (no white pith), cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp anise seed
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 6 mint leaves
  • leaves from 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 allspice berry
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • ½ tsp gentian root, preferably in bark form
  • 3 cups 100–151 proof vodka
  • 1 cup simple syrup

Combine grapefruit rind, anise seed, sage, mint, rosemary, allspice berry, cloves, and gentian root in a 32-oz glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Add vodka. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks, shaking once each day.

Make simple syrup: Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat to medium-low, then cook for another 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then pour into vodka container and swirl to incorporate. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.

Strain the mixture, discarding the solids. Serve neat, on the rocks, or with a slice of lemon in a small, chilled glass.

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