Italy's digestif amaro liqueurs, with bartender Federico Malavenda

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A podcast for lovers of wine, beer, liquor (incl. whisky, whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka, tequila etc) and cocktails, Drinks Adventures hosts wine makers, brewing and distilling experts, sommeliers, bartenders & more.

Italy’s wonderful array of digestif amari demands exploration.

Amari is the plural of amaro, which means ‘bitter’ in Italian. It’s also the name given the country’s unique liqueurs that are intensely bitter and often very sweet too, flavoured by infusing herbs, spices and other botanicals in a distilled wine or neutral spirit base.

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The theme of this episode has been inspired by the amari degustation event organised by the Italian Cultural institute, Sydney at its premises in December 2021, during the World Week of Italian Cuisine.

Presented by today’s expert bartender, Federico Malavenda, the degustation featured a tasting of seven Italian amari:

  • Braulio;
  • Cynar;
  • Poli Vaca Mora;
  • Cappelletti Sfumato;
  • Amara Blood Orange;
  • Toro Centerba; and
  • Averna.


The Italian Cultural Institute is an official branch of the Italian government, dedicated to the promotion of the Italian culture in Australia through the organisation and support of events, exhibitions and festivals, in collaboration with major local institutions.

This episode has been produced with their support.

Federico Malavenda is bar manager at Bistecca Restaurant in Sydney, which has a menu of no less than 85 different amari.

This was recognised at the Wine List of the Year Awards in late 2021, when Bistecca picked up the gong for Best Digestif List.

Stay with me as Federico gives you an overview of amaro and shares what he’s doing with digestif amari at Bistecca.

First up, a little history. Federico says these unique and storied liqueurs have been an integral part of Italian culture for generations.

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