The Amante Amaro at Heritage Tavern in Madison, WI. Cynar, Cynar 70, housemade artichoke tincture, guajillo pepper and porter syrup, lemon, fir tips.
Though I didn’t sip the Amanate Amaro until August 2016, I’d first craved it in January, when someone sent me an image of its description on the menu.
Artichoke enthusiasts will note the layers here. Cynar AND Cynar 70? (Equal parts, I eventually learned.) Artichoke tincture boosts the flavors in the famously artichoke-inspired amaro — especially helpful if, like me, you find Cynar to taste inadequately of artichokes.
Upon learning of this drink I reached out to Heritage Tavern to ask about their housemade artichoke tincture. The detailed response underscored my firm belief that bartenders are the friendliest artists that an enthusiast can speak with. Here are some selections from the information that Bar Manager Clinton told me:
“…We steep the raw, fresh leaves (exclude the stem for it is much too bitter) in high proof spirit (quality will make a difference in the final product)… even a high proof gin for more complexity and flavor on the final product.
“…I like to over-pack the leaves so that some of them are not submerged in the spirit and these will oxidize, resulting in deep color and rich complexity. I recommend shaking or stirring the contents every couple of days to pick up maximum flavor caused by the agitation.
“You could also add different herbs, spices and flavors to this mixture and enhance the flavor profile you are looking for in the end. Citrus peel, coriander, black pepper and so on. This would take your tincture to more of a style of bitters but at the end of the day it’s about flavor.”
Bartender Meghan shared that this drink was the brainchild of a Heritage bartender named Alex, whose dedicated to the noble artichoke was well worth waiting eight months to finally sip this longed-for cocktail. So for all those involved in this drink — Meghan for making mine, Alex for creating it, and Clinton for overseeing diligent bar arts — thank you for that delicious cocktail.