Mhairi Voelsgen and Erin Brophy, proprietors of BroVo Spirits, never intended to dabble in amaro. But when a batch of rhubarb liqueur went awry—"After much experimentation and sampling with bartenders, we decided the rhubarb flavor was not strong enough"—Voelsgen and Brophy were left with $25,000 worth of ingredients.
So, what to do? "We went where everyone goes: online."
Internet trolling led them to discover other distillers have had success using rhubarb in amaro, the herby Italian digestif. More research ensued, and from conversations with the local spirits community came this idea: Recruit seven bartenders to concoct seven recipes.
After months of aging (and 200 pounds of sugar), the resulting amari are now available. According to Glenn Drosendahl at Puget Sound Business Journal, the line is a first for Washington distillers. Pick up a bottle at Capco Beverage in West Seattle or sample some at any number of local establishments. Here's a rundown of who was involved and what to expect of each bottle:
#1: John Ueding, Click Wholesale distributor Made in the style of Campari with orange, cinnamon, and pink peppercorn notes. Finished with agave nectar and Asian pear eau de vie.
*#2: Scott Diaz, Elliott’s Oyster House A dark, rich amaro made in the style of Fernet. Notes of anise, cinchona, and cocoa; finished with mint, sage oil, and a locally distilled Asian pear eau de vie.
*#3: Sarah Wyan, Oddfellows Drinkable on its own, like a Nonino grappa. Hints of angelica and mogwort along with a noticeable gentian root base.
*#4: Patrick Haight, Snoqualmie Casino A strong hibiscus note, a sweet eucalyptus smell, and a spicy cayenne finish.
*#6: Paul Ritums, Local 360 Made in the style of Averna and has notes of sasparilla, currents, and star anise. A cardamom nose and a brown sugar finish.
*#7: Marley Tomic Beard, Smith A blend of apricots, grapefruit, and lavender. A base of gentian and cinchona with a solid vermouth finish.