All of this week’s drinks have one thing in common. Or, actually, they have a bunch of things in common (such as the fact that they’re beverages) - but there’s one ingredient that ties them all together. It’s called amaro, which is a type of bitter Italian liqueur you’ve probably seen at countless bars, restaurants, and homes of people who are above the legal drinking age. If you want to learn more about these mysterious herbal spirits, we have a primer on The 8 Amari You Need To Know. And when you’re ready to pick up a bottle and mess around with amari in cocktails, here are three drinks to make first. The Americano is an all-time classic (and precursor to the Negroni), the Bensonhurst is essentially a more flavorful Manhattan, and the Hanky Panky has one of the best cocktail names we’ve ever heard. Also, it tastes good.
Before some innovative barista added hot water to espresso and called it an Americano, there was a cocktail by the same name. This drink was invented in 19th-century Milan at a bar run by the inventor of Campari, and it only has three ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, and seltzer. It’s a tall, refreshing beverage, and it’s a great introduction to the world of amaro (bitter Italian spirits such as Campari).
Invented by Ada Coleman at the American Bar at The Savoy in 1925, the Hanky Panky is a simple, borderline-chuggable cocktail made mostly with gin and sweet vermouth. For a little extra kick, there’s also some Fernet Branca - and that’s really what sets this drink apart.
Bartenders love to name drinks after New York City neighborhoods. These drinks tend to be twists on the Manhattan (i.e., strong whiskey cocktails), and the Bensonhurst is no exception. Invented in 2006 by bartender Chad Solomon, this cocktail tastes like a brighter version of a Manhattan that decided to branch out and have more of a personality.