Italian Inspired, Washington Made: broVo Amaro Release Party

A few weeks ago a local Washington distiller, broVo Spirits, had a release party for their limited edition new line up of Italian inspired amari using local rhubarb as the base. This project has not only gotten local mixologists and bars excited about the chance to utilize bitter style liqueurs hand produced here in Washington, but also that each of the 7 styles initially produced were all created by Seattle mixologists. I had the honor of being selected by co-founders Mhairi Voelsgen and Erin Brophy to create my own style of amaro for their company. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to be apart of something as exciting and challenging as creating a widely popular and revered style of liqueur.broVo Spirits is based here in Seattle and produces single note liqueurs using local, organic ingredients.  Their current lineup consists of ginger, rose-geranium, lemon balm, lavender and Douglas Fir.  After receiving a large shipment of local rhubarb, the ladies initially leaned towards adding another single note rhubarb sytle liqueur but found that the flavor didn’t hold up.  Then after talking with bartenders and doing a little research they decided to delve into the wonderful world of bitter liqueurs, since many popular styles utilize rhubarb in their recipes.  They then reached out to their favorite bartenders to help them move forward and create original recipes, which would eventually be mixed and allowed to infuse in aged wood barrels to impart a unique flavor addition.

A favorite craft restaurant and bar, Local 360, headed the release event and we got to try each of the 7 different amari offerings and craft cocktails created by their respective mixologists.  Beverage Manager, Paul Ritums, did a fantastic job organizing and hosting the event, and he was also one of the mixologists involved in creating a wonderful Averna style amaro.  Other mixologists included myself, Jon Ueding of Click Distributing, Patrick Haight of Snoqualmie Casino, Sarah Wyan of Odd Fellows, Sara Fisher of The Hideout, and Marley Tomic Beard from Smith, all of whom had a different sytle ranging from a spiced Gran Classico style, to a unique eucalyptus and African cayenne concoction.  As for my creation, I decided on crafting a challenging Fernet style amaro as I felt it would be something unique and a personal challenge to deepen my understanding and love for a highly respected style of amari.  My approach was to not necessarily try to copy the masterful Fernet Branca, but rather use it as a inspiration.  The ending result was a bold, complex and interesting amaro that boasted a beautiful mint aroma and flavor but with hints of bitter orange, anise, sage oil, gentian, ginseng and asian pear.

Only 120 cases for all profiles were bottled and distributed to local bars, restaurants and a small handful of liquor stores.  Whether or not we’ll see more distilled and bottled in the near future remains to be seen but many popular restaurants and local craft bars have snatched up as much as they can before they are all gone.  For now, here are a few cocktail creations using my amaro, broVo Amaro Batch #2.  Cheers!



Note:  broVo products are currently only available in Washington.  To approximate the flavor profile of the amaro featured here use equal parts pear brandy (or an eau de vie but add simple syrup to balance the alcohol %) and Branca Menta. 

Chai Something New

1 1/2 oz Single Silo Chai Vodka

1/2 oz broVo #2 Amaro
1/2 oz J.D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
1 oz Yuzu Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  No garnish.

Color:  Bold amber honey

Flavor:  Spiced chai, ginger, mint, tart citrus, hint of sweet sugarcane

Texture:  Medium light and smooth


2 oz Rittenhouse 100 Rye

1/2 oz Punt e Mes

1/2 oz broVo #2 Amaro

tsp Orgeat Syrup

2 dashes Fee Brothers Peach Bitters
dash of Aromatic Bitters

Preserved Cherry for Garnish

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish and enjoy.

Color:  Medium orange-brown

Flavor:  Spiced vanilla, faint apple and spice, oak, mint, peach and almond

Texture:  Silky and full

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

2 oz Fig Infused Brandy

3/4 oz Tuaca

1/4 oz broVo #2 Amaro

2 dashes Scrappy’s Aztec Chocolate Bitters
Lemon Twist for Garnish

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish and enjoy.

Note:  For the Fig Infused Brandy take a 750ml bottle of your favorite brandy or cognac and add 1 cup of chopped dried figs, 6 whole cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks.  Mash lightly and let infuse for 3 days and double fine strain into a bottle.  Store at room temperature till use.

Color:  Dark golden honey with orange tint

Flavor:  Rich fig, faint mint and nutty vanilla with notes of honey and citrus

Texture:  Full and a rich, silky finish

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