MDR Labs is proud to introduce the newest member of our Sugar Free liqueur recipes, Sugar Free Amaro!
For a little history lesson, Sugar Free Amaro is an herbal liqueur that is commonly imbibed as an after-dinner digestif. Digestifs were theorized to aid in the digestive process. Sugar free amaro is only one example of a digestif, others include brandy/cognac or fortified wines (like sherry or port).
Sugar free amaro contains many different herbs and can be quite bitter. It is also important to stress that amaro is a category of liqueurs and many different brands have many different flavor profiles, so if you are making a cocktail with it, it is important to match the amaro spirit specified to best mimic the drink.
That being said, after some taste testing, we think our Sugar Free Amaro most closely resembles Cynar in its flavor profile.
Disclaimer: Amaro has a very powerful flavor and is not for everybody. Since this particular liqueur takes quite a lot of time to produce, we’d recommend it if you found a source of the sugared variety and sample a small sip. Any bartender worth their salt should happily oblige this request for free. For all those on a low/no carb diet, please limit this to just a sip, as Cynar is a heavily sugared liqueur, just like all regular cordials/liqueurs.
Sugar Free Amaro will take around a month to bring to completion.
Our recipe was adapted from our friends at Seriouseats.com, who published their DIY version. Herbs should be, as always, used fresh. We found almost all of our herbs at the local mega-mart, except for the gentian root. It may be possible to find it at an Whole Foods, or higher quality food seller, but we used our friends at StarwestBotanicals.com for the gentian root.
The recipe below can also easily be halved. Also, if you are curious, you may dip a spoon in once a week or so and taste the sugar free amaro as the different flavor profiles emerge. It is amazing how it changes over time. But be warned, it will be bitter and strong! This is normal and you should not be worried!
Sugar Free Amaro
- 1 teaspoon anise seeds
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- 6 fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves (about 1 sprig’s worth)
- 1 allspice berry
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon gentian root
- 3 cups 151-proof Everclear*
- 1 1/4 cups Splenda
- 1 1/4 cups water
While making Sugar Free Amaro may take weeks, it doesn’t actually take a lot of effort. That being said, grind up all the herbs and spices with a mortar and pestle lightly in order to express the oils within. Transfer all the crushed herbs to a sealable glass container and pour the alcohol in. Please make sure that the container is large enough to handle the entire volume prior to transfer (trust us, we’ve made this mistake before!) Now store in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks, agitating once a day.
Now make a sugar free simple syrup by taking the splenda and dissolving it in the water. You need not boil the water, as the splenda dissolves very easily. You may want to microwave the water a little, but the more you warm it, the longer you will have to wait until the next step.
Allow the sugar free simple syrup to cool to room temperature.
Now add the sugar free simple syrup to the herb/alcohol mix. Reseal the container and place back in your favorite cool and dark location and allow to steep for another 7 days, agitating daily (you can opt to allow to steep for up to two weeks, if a stronger flavor is desired, but we did not choose to do this).
Now strain all mixture through some cheesecloth, then filter again through some fresh cheesecloth, or a coffee filter (we like to place a wide-mouthed funnel into our storage bottle and place the coffee filter in the funnel mouth so it drains directly into the container. Again, please make sure the appropriate sized container is chosen and be warned to pour slowly and that a second coffee filter may be needed if the first one clogs).
Your Sugar Free Amaro is now complete! Store at room temperature for up to six months (probably longer in the fridge) and enjoy!
*As always, using high proof grain alcohol can be dangerous. It is highly flammable and should never be imbibed by itself. If you only have access to the higher proof 191, just substitute 3/4 cup of 191-Everclear plus 1/4 cup water for every cup of 151-proof required.