CocktailsDrinks

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

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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?

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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).

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).

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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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