Our Caffè Amaro is a one-of-a-kind take on coffee liqueurs. Amaro (the Italian word for ‘bitter’) is a category of liqueur characterized by its bitter, herbal, and slightly sweet flavor which stems from the use of botanicals, herbs, and cane syrup. Rated 92 points by the esteemed Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Caffè Amaro is a collaborative spirit with Kansas City-based coffee roasters, Thou Mayest, who selects a single-origin coffee roast that we utilize to contribute to the flavors the botanicals generate. Our Caffé Amaro spends a brief amount of time in a whiskey barrel resulting in a rich, bittersweet flavor that works great in cocktails or can be enjoyed by itself after a meal.
Ryan Maybee, a bartender and one of the J. Rieger & Co. co-founders, developed early versions of our Caffè Amaro at his bar, Manifesto. He was wanting to utilize coffee flavor in a cocktail but the only products that existed were excessively sweet. Ryan experimented by steeping botanicals in neutral grain spirit, then adding cold brew coffee in small batches to create the missing ingredient for his cocktails. As the recipe evolved, more bitter ingredients were added in order to make it a true Amaro.
Gentian was included to give it a strong bitter base in the tradition of many Italian Amari. Orange peel, cardamom, and mint, among others, were added to fill out the flavor. Once we decided to produce this as a J. Rieger & Co. product, we spent about 18 months figuring out how to perfect the recipe to blend with the cold brew coffee, and of course be able to scale it up to a commercially viable product.