The First Thing to Drink After One of Those Days (or Every Day)

May  6, 2016

No one hands me a martini when I come home from work. And even if they did, I probably wouldn’t be able to make dinner after, or write this paragraph.

But the idea of an after-work, every-night drink appeals as a way to put a period on the day—ideally in an unconcerning, undebilitating, classy way. And then so what if the glass I’m drinking from has pandas on it?

The answer, if it needs a name, is Amaro Soda: Amaro + soda water + any citrus peel.

Photo by James Ransom

I think it counts as a spritz and also an aperitif. I think I don't really care what it is. It looks like a fancy cocktail and drinks like slightly spiked sparkling water. It’s like a fresher Coke but for nighttime or sundown (or lunches, if you Power Lunch).

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Amaro refers to a number of bitter liqueurs with digestive benefits and made of complicated combinations of herbs—so miraculous that the straightforward drink I just described can run you $11 at a restaurant (at least in Brooklyn, where amaro is all that).

At home, drinking an Amaro Soda can be more haphazard but is still Instagrammable that’s an important selling point to you. Have any sort of amaro around; try them all to find your match: Montenegro is citrusy, Averna smells of licorice. Campari counts, too.

Pour some into a cup with ice—how much liqueur depends on you and your day. I do a 1/4-inch pour with about 2 inches of soda water following. I swirl with a spoon or chopstick or finger, taste, and usually add more amaro. It’s 6:30 right there, and using a jigger means cleaning one more thing. Through the looking glass of soda water, the bitter and brooding mellows to edgy. Add the peel of any shade of citrus so it’s a little sweeter.

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Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.