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Gypsy Boy

Buying liqueurs in Rome...help!

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Hi all,

I tried posting this on the spirits board and, though I garnered plenty of reads, I got no responses. So perhaps this is the better forum to ask.

We will be visiting Rome (for the first time, I'm embarrassed to admit) for a week or so in mid-November. One of the "souvenirs" I've decided that I'd like to return with are some bottles of liqueurs (or other spirits) that are rare or impossible to find here. My preliminary list includes the following:

Alpestre

Borsci Elisir S. Marzano

Ebo Lebo

Genepy

Mirto di Sardegna

Nucillo e curti

Petrus

Verdemela

I'm posting to ask for your experiences and recommendations. I don't have much knowledge of Italian spirits, though I'm pretty open to trying just about anything, taste-wise (though I must confess I do not have a taste for grappa). What should I add to/subtract from the list? Thanks.


Edited by Gypsy Boy (log)

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le goût de ce qu'elles sont."

Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland)

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I'm a huge fan of amari ("bitters," but not the kind you add a dash of to a cocktail), my favorite being Averna. Cynar is good, too.

Also, look for Mirto, which is a Sardinian liqueur made from blueberries.


"Degenerates. Degenerates. They'll all turn into monkeys." --Zizek on vegetarians

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I'm also an advocate of amari - a fine way to conclude a dinner, and a decent early evening drink (with ice). It's always worth trying any home-made, rustic stuff that a rural Trattoria may offer you. Some amari can be over-sweet or cloying, but 'Averna' is good (and the most popular brand I suspect; it is available widely and at both Rome airports). You don't see it as often, but I think China Martini is more delicately balanced and refined than most commercially-available amari, so that would be my recommendation...

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One of the challenges that you will run into is that most of these specialty liquors is that they are regional, so you won't have such an easy time to find them. Rome is a major city so you will have access to more types, but don't be frustrated or surprised if you can't find everything on your list.

I would kill to have a bottle of Genepy, but I've never seen it this far south. It's a big drink in the Tourino area. We parceled our precious bottle out in ever smaller glasses until it was gone. :sad:

There are tons of amaros and they are all different. One of the most fun 'research' we've done is buying a different amaro every time we run out!

And why on earth would you be embarassed to admit that this is your first time to Rome?? What a wonderful thing to see Rome for the first time!! You will enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

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Too late to be helpful to the OP, but a bottle of the house amaro at The Abruzzi (P.zza Santi Apostoli, close to the P.zza Venezia and right by a stop for the 64 and 40 buses) is worth the 15 euro price. I am a fan of amari, and this is my favorite. Outside the Abruzzi region, I don't know of another source for it. Also, the green sambuca there (to me a cross between sambuca and green chartreuse) is unique in Rome to this restaurant and costs the same amount.

BTW: If you have dinner there, they often bring the bottles and glasses to the table and it is knock yourself out, literally.

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