Whiskey and Amaro Montenegro Cocktail

This Whiskey and Amaro Montenegro Cocktail features amaro Montenegro and amaro Cynar along with a bit of honey syrup. A beautifully balanced cocktail, each ingredient has a presence. It’s neither sweet nor dry, but it is a little boozy.😉

2 whiskey and amaro Montenegro cocktails with a jigger, bar spoon, and strainer.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – About Amari

“Amaro” is an Italian term that translates to “bitter” in English. It is most commonly used to refer to a type of Italian herbal liqueur that has a bitter-sweet flavor profile. The plural form of amaro is “amari.” Here are some key points about amari:

  1. Ingredients: Amaro is typically made by infusing alcohol with a blend of herbs, roots, flowers, bark, and citrus peels. The exact ingredients and their proportions can vary widely among different brands and recipes.
  2. Flavor Profile: As the name suggests, amaro has a bitter taste, but it often also has sweet, citrusy, and herbal notes. The balance of these flavors can vary, making each type of amaro unique.
  3. Varieties: There are many different types of amaro, each with its own distinctive flavor and production method. Some of the best known varieties are Averna, Campari, Fernet, and Aperol.
  4. Usage: Amaro can be enjoyed on its own, usually as a digestif after a meal to aid digestion. It is also a popular ingredient in cocktails. For example, Campari is a key ingredient in the Negroni, and Aperol (a lighter, less bitter amaro) is used in the Aperol Spritz.
  5. History and Tradition: Amaro has a long history in Italy, with many brands dating back to the 19th century. It was originally produced by monks and apothecaries for medicinal purposes, believed to have digestive benefits.

Overall, amaro is a versatile and traditional Italian liqueur enjoyed both neat and in various mixed drinks, appreciated for its complex and nuanced flavor profile.

🍸About This Cynar and Montenegro Cocktail

I drink my coffee black, and I love ultra dark chocolate. Bitter flavors are my jam. While the bitterness level varies from one to another, bitterness is present.

We collect less common amari. I used Appalachian Fernet in this whiskey fernet sour. We discovered Matacuy on our 2023 trip to Peru, I keep Cynar for this red vermouth and Cynar cocktail, and Absinthe for an occasional sazerac.

What is Amaro Montenegro?

Amaro Montenegro is a well-known Italian herbal liqueur with a rich history and a distinctive flavor profile. The exact recipe for Amaro Montenegro is a closely guarded secret, but it is known to be made from a blend of 40 different botanicals. These include various herbs, spices, roots, and citrus peels. It is often described as a “gateway” amaro, and I agree. It is lovely!

Amaro Montenegro is celebrated for its balanced bittersweet taste. It has notes of orange peel, coriander, tea, vanilla, and a complex mix of herbal and floral flavors. The liqueur has a smooth, slightly viscous texture. Montenegro is more mellow than fernet or absinthe. It is a lovely after dinner drink alone with ice, and fabulous in a black manhattan. At 23% ABV, the alcohol content is moderate.

What is Cynar?

Cynar is an Italian amaro with a bittersweet flavor and a pronounced vegetal note from its primary ingredient – artichoke. It also has hints of caramel, herbs, and a slightly earthy, woody taste. Its bitterness is more approachable compared to some other amaros, making it a versatile ingredient in cocktails. Like other amari, it is great solo or with other spirits. At 16.5% ABV, its low alcohol content makes it suitable for enjoying neat, on the rocks, or as a versatile ingredient in cocktails.

2 whiskey, Cynar, and Montenegro cocktails in Nick and Nora glasses, and garnished with orange.

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Ingredients for the whiskey and Montenegro cocktail: Cynar, Montenegro, bourbon, and honey syrup
Ingredients from left to right: Cynar, Montenegro, bourbon, and honey syrup.
  • whiskey – We always have bourbon, and we occasionally have rye. Bourbon was my choice for this cocktail recipe. If/when I substitute rye, I will update this post. If you try something other than bourbon, please leave a comment at the bottom of the post! You don’t need a “top shelf” bourbon, but you do want a decent bourbon. We like the Evan Williams bourbon for mixing (above photo), and it is very well-priced.
  • Cynar
  • Montenegro
  • honey syrup – I use this Liquor.com recipe for honey syrup. It’s simply a 1:1 honey to water ratio. Bring it to a boil, cool, and refrigerate for up to a month. Easy peasy. You can find it at some liquor stores, or order honey syrup online.

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

Orange with channel knife on a cutting board for garnish, and the cocktail ingredients in a shaker.
Prepare garnishes, then add cocktail ingredients to a shaker half full of ice. Stir vigorously
before straining into cocktail glasses.
  1. Prepare garnishes. I like orange peel with this cocktail. See Guide to Citrus Peel Garnishes for ideas. I like this channel knife is an awesome tool.
  2. Fill a shaker halfway with ice. Add cocktail ingredients, then stir vigorously.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish as desired. We think orange peel is fantastic. You can use good cherries (not maraschino😉). Lemon peel would be a good choice as well. No need to get fancy!
The whiskey and amaro cocktails, a jigger, a bar spoon, and a strainer.

❓FAQ

What type of cocktail glass should I use?

I recently discovered Nick and Nora glasses. Nick and Nora glasses are named after the characters Nick and Nora Charles from the popular 1930s detective film series “The Thin Man,” where the couple is often seen enjoying cocktails. They have a stem and a rounded, bowl-like shape that is somewhat smaller and more elegant than a typical martini glass. They typically hold between 5 to 6 ounces of liquid, which is ideal for many classic cocktails ie. manhattan. A coupe glass is a fine option as well.

Is this a “boozy” cocktail?

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would consider this to be a 5. Both of the amari are fairly low ABV (alcohol by volume). The bourbon I use is 90 proof – 45% alcohol. As compared to an old fashioned, it is moderate.

💭 Tips

This whiskey-amaro cocktail is pretty amari-specific. You can try substituting other amari. Feel free to play around with the whiskey – rye, bourbon, scotch.

Chilled glasses are a really nice touch!

Playing with cocktails is an extension of my playing with food. As with all ingredients, we do “all things in moderation.” Next time you’re looking for a new cocktail, especially if you love amari, you’ll want to give this whiskey and amaro cocktail a try! Cheers!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

A beautiful whiskey and amaro Montenegro cocktail in a cocktail glass with bar ware.

Whiskey and Amaro Montenegro Cocktail Recipe

A well-balanced, moderately boozy whiskey cocktail with Montenegro, Cynar, and honey syrup…
5 from 1 vote

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Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 214 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ounces bourbon - or other whiskey
  • ½ ounce Cynar - see Ingredients Notes in post
  • ½ ounce Montenegro - see Ingredients Notes in post
  • ounce honey syrup - see Notes below

Instructions

  • Prepare garnishes.
  • Fill a shaker half full of ice.
  • Add cocktail ingredients, and stir vigorously.
  • Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish as desired. Cheers!

Notes

For honey syrup – Use a ratio of 1:1. I use 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, cool, and store in glass in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Nutrition

Calories: 214kcal

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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One Comment

  1. I really enjoyed this cocktail. It’s got a great balance of different flavor notes, and all the ingredients are present in the overall taste. No ingredient gets drowned out by another.