You know summer’s really here when bartenders start mixing up Negronis. The combination of gin, vermouth, and Campari is about as classic as an aperitif (or aperitivo in Italian) gets. “Aperitivo is really two things,” says Ago Perrone, the Director of Mixology at the Connaught Bar in London. “It’s the moment of the day when you meet with friends and colleagues to talk about your day, plan the evening, discuss future travels; whatever’s on your mind.”
An amaro, or bitter-sweet liqueur make with botanical ingredients like roots, spices, herbs, and fruits, is different from most spirits. When you purchase a bottle of vodka, it’s probably going to taste similar to every other bottle of vodka out there. But an amaro can be sweet, vegetal, herbal, bitter, or anything in between. Because of the range, you probably don’t want to go to your neighborhood liquor store and buy a bottle without knowing what you’re getting. Here are some of our favorites, from sweet to bitter.