Fernet Branca

At the far end of the spectrum is the alpha male, Fernet Branca, a bracingly bitter amaro from Milan fit for palates that can stand up to assertive spirits. As a melting pot of more than 40 ingredients – including myrrh, chamomile, cinnamon, gentian, and saffron – its astringently dry taste can be too much potion for some. "It's more pointed when it comes to cocktails," Carducci says. "You have to finesse it." That reputation has made it the cocktail bartenders' "handshake," or shot of choice.