Fernets and Amaro are a huge part of the culture my fam comes from. After dinner, shot glasses and espresso cups are filled with dark, potent liquids, lemon twists are expressed, and the nuts and fruits come out before the dessert. This social pause in between courses is to allow for digestion, conversation and space to eat more tasty treats. The liqueurs served are therefore referred to as digestifs or digestivo.
Amari (the plural of amaro) is a broad term for herbal liqueurs, usually from greater Italy. Other Mediterranean countries have their own versions, like French Pastis and absinthe. The most popular and recognizable brands would be Fernet Branca, Averna, and Cynar, but many bars pride themselves on having a lengthy collection, for sipping and expert cocktail mixing.
Considering the base of this liqueur is an herbal blend that varies by region and tradition, there is nearly zero reason to not incorporate the legendary herb on cannabis into this mix. This project is not an instant DIY but will certainly be easy. The hardest part is gathering the supplies. The most fun part is coming up with a blend to use.
Bella D’herba Amaro
Danielle Guercio, 2017
Makes 1L of finished product, 10mg THC per 1oz serving estimated
- 1 bundle washed dandelion
- 1 bunch mint
- 4 star anise pods
- Peel of two lemons
- 10 green cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ⅓ cup bay leaves
- 1 tsp achiote seed
- 1 whole nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp dried rosemary
- 2 Tbsp lemon thyme
- 1 Tbsp dried marjoram
- 2 bags 7 blossoms tea
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 3-4 strawberries
- 3.5 grams of finely ground decarboxylated cannabis
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 liter neutral spirit like vodka
In the spirit (yuk yuk) of research and development, I would recommend infusing these herbs individually as well as a blend, so you can easily customize a formula, take notes, and not only recreate it, but fine tune it.
Put the greens in a large jar and mash with a muddler. Pour enough vodka to cover and then add the other ingredients. You’ll want to smash the seeds and dried leaves slightly to allow them to infuse better, but don’t chop too fine or over process for best results and easier straining.
Store in a dark corner for 1-4 weeks, tasting for your desired potency after each week and giving it a good mix every day. You can also add to the mix if you want to during the infusing time, but you won’t know what the finished product would have tasted like, so i recommend just infusing individual ingredients separately as noted above, that goes for the herb too.
When you have what you are looking for, strain the solids out. Prepare a dark simple syrup by bringing the sugar and water to a boil and simmering until the sugar takes on a deeper caramelized tone. Add a portion of the syrup to the liqueur, 1oz at a time since it will be rich. You can continue to age it, or just start to enjoy it.
Serve neat with a lemon twist.
Related Story: 5 Non-Smoking (And Healthy) Ways To Consume Marijuana
This DIY gives you a one time product and hopefully a long term obsession. Knowing what a nice small serving of such a liquor will do after any type of large and heavy meal, the possibilities of incorporating digestive herbs are really thrilling. You can even make a version to address different ailments, and the stuff is often deployed as an optimal ‘hair of the dog’ hangover solution.
Photos: Danielle Guercio