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trillium

Amer Picon & Torani Amer

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A online acquaintance and Amer Picon enthusiast informed me that he is finally getting some "bites" from Diageo regarding Amer Picon.

He suggested a few more inquiries and friendly nudges from the cocktail community, might tip them in the direction of returning the product to world wide distribution (and maybe its original formulation.)

If you've got some free time...

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A online acquaintance and Amer Picon enthusiast informed me that he is finally getting some "bites" from Diageo regarding Amer Picon.

He suggested a few more inquiries and friendly nudges from the cocktail community, might tip them in the direction of returning the product to world wide distribution (and maybe its original formulation.)

If you've got some free time...

i have yet to track down lazio's "cio ciaro" but i want ot go by cirace in the north end tomarrow and see if they have it... i've heard it described at "root beer" like in character maybe from sasparilla? that might not be like amer picon but that sounds pretty cool. some of the italian amaros may not be classic as immortalized in famous books, but they are available now, fit into classic ratios, and offer stunning surprises...

i give my enthusiastic recommendation to the underdogs cynar and ramazotti

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...i have yet to track down lazio's "cio ciaro" ...

I don't know if it is a typo, but there is no space between cio and ciaro -- although I can understand how one might think there is a space considering that that it is capitalized as CioCiaro on the bottle. (I swear there is more to this post than nitpicking spelling.) The reason this struck me as odd is that Amaro CioCiaro is named after a small sub-sub-region in the Southwest of Lazio called Ciociaria and I can't think of why they would capitalize it that way (except maybe because it looks cool?). A person from this region would be called a Ciociaro, which is also the name of the local dialect and would further (as in the the case of the amaro) describe something coming from that region. This name is probably derived from ciòcia (from Latin soccus, which gave us "sock"), which I can best describe as traditional footware of shepherds comprised of a leather slipper bound to the foot with leather straps which are further wound up the legs. Hard to describe, but you would recognize them if you saw them. Anyway, I thought that was an interesting bit of trivia about Amaro Ciociaro that was brought to my mind by the capitalization.

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I have yet to find the Amaro Ciociaro in Northern California....

Amaro Ciociaro can be found at Vas Foremost on Milwaukee Ave in Chicago (as can the rare-in-Chi Hamm's beer!).

2300 N Milwaukee Ave

Chicago, IL 60647

(773) 278-9420

Foremost has stores all over Chicago but I dunno how many of them carry the Amaro Ciociaro. I live near this one and I'm happy to recommend it but I like the one on Ashland Ave. a little more. Both have some surprising things on the shelves and their prices are hard to beat.

No affiliation, etc.....

Kurt

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Here are a couple more bottles of Picon.

gallery_16941_5057_14774.jpg

Pre-metric tax-strip 3/4th quarts bottled in Lawrenceville, NJ unlike our previous bottles that are from NY. As you can see in the pics, the labels are badly faded, but the contents taste great. This is the 78 proof formula and probably dates from the 60's some time. Never expected to find more of this, but now we can start mixing it more freely.

Re the CioCiaro: we like it. Doesn't taste like root beer to us. Good substitute for Picon, but lacks the bitterness. Available at several stores in Brooklyn, we picked ours up at Smith & Vine.

-Mike and Jenny

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scratchline,

Wow, jealous of your finds!

So would you say that you need to add bitters to cocktails made with Amaro CioCiaro to get them closer to how they would be with Amer Picon?

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Definitely, Eje. Next week when I'm off work, I'll sit down and pull out the orange bitters and give it a try, but I think the CiaCiaro with a healthy dose of orange bitters should bring it very close to the Picon.

-Mike

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Definitely, Eje.  Next week when I'm off work, I'll sit down and pull out the orange bitters and give it a try, but I think the CiaCiaro with a healthy dose of orange bitters should bring it very close to the Picon.

-Mike

CiaCiaro + Angostura Orange + a Neutral Grain Spirit (to thin it down and increase the proof) give a pretty amazing Picon recplica.

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Ha, scratchline! That's exactly what I was going to point out to johnder!

Kind of defeats the purpose of replicating one unavailable orange bitter if you have to find another unavailable one!

Fortunately, over on DrinkBoy, Robert Hess posted the following update from Patrick Sepe, CEO for Angostura USA:

We have patiently awaited label and FDA approval based on the alcoholic content, we hope to receive the first container in early November.  I average about 250-270 emails weekly looking for the product as well as phone calls.  I will let you know as soon as it hits the U.S.

Hopefully soon!

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I'm not sure if this is the best topic for this, but it was the closest I could find...

I dropped by a tiny little cigar/alcohol store and found a lonely bottle of Picon Biere. According to Wiki, it's an aperitif that accompanies beer. Has anyone tried it? Would it be worth the Y4000 it costs to try it?

I'm just a teeny bit interested (I've never even tried Amer Picon, but all the fuss about it has me wondering if I should try it), but if anyone else would like to cough up the Y4000 for it, I'd be happy to pick it up for you! I'll be in Canada (and perhaps the US) this summer, so shipping could be arranged.

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I'm not sure if this is the best topic for this, but it was the closest I could find...

I dropped by a tiny little cigar/alcohol store and found a lonely bottle of Picon Biere.  According to Wiki, it's an aperitif that accompanies beer.  Has anyone tried it?  Would it be worth the Y4000 it costs to try it? 

I'm just a teeny bit interested (I've never even tried Amer Picon, but all the fuss about it has me wondering if I should try it), but if anyone else would like to cough up the Y4000 for it, I'd be happy to pick it up for you!  I'll be in Canada (and perhaps the US) this summer, so shipping could be arranged.

Picon Biere is the currently available product - it's 36 proof rather than the original 78 proof and considerably less bitter. Its fine in (rather than with) a glass of beer on a hot summer day , but of limited use in cocktails.

A litre bottle in a French supermarket shouldn't set you back more than 10 Euro- so assuming your Y4000 botte is also a litre , it looks to be around 3 times what you would pay in France (and given the punitive excise duties here , not much more than you' d pay for it in the UK).

gethin

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so i have a bottle of the beer picon and thougt it was pretty cool. low alcohol orangy bitter and thats about all... i can taste all the ingredients that are on the label and nothing more... (gentian, quinine, orange peel)

well i have all those ingredients so i thought i could make a replica of the higher proof version... picon feels like it would the same as any other orange liqueur but just with gentian and quinine... if the same alcohol content then probably the same sugar content... and probably even the same orange peel intensity...

well i made some beautiful tinctures of gentian and quinine and added them to a bottle of creole shrub... and about .75 of a gram of each botanicals by weight dissolved a the tincture...

i'll put the details of my proprietary tinctures on my site soon but anyhow its pretty tastey stuff... picon really isn't that bitter. its not exactly campari... but the botanicals really lengthen the finish to something very elegant... and make the sugar content seem more pleasant...

i based my botanical intensities roughly on guidelines from books of the subject and those guidelines seem to meet the average of most people's tastes. the test will really be to drink as many picon cocktails as i can and see if the elements are all parsible and in acceptible sugar balance...

and i feel like quinine is a nicer bitter than gentian and maybe i should make it more dominant...

the first cocktail i tried was the "brut cocktail variation" from the cocktaildb

1.5 oz. dry vermouth (M&R)

.75 oz. amer picon (replica)

dash peychauds bitters

stir!

this is beautiful and everything contributes... i even like how my replica picon's lack of caramel doesn't muddy the cocktail color... its this pretty pink hued color... the acid of the vermout is in good ratio with sugar of the picon... (justifies my sugar content?) and the bitter quotient is sublime...


Edited by bostonapothecary (log)

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I was going to post this in the "Drinks!" thread, but it seemed more appropriate here. I was in Seattle over Memorial Day weekend for a gig, and made a point to go by the Zig Zag (although I missed out on going to Vessel). Ben Dougherty was behind the bar and took care of us. I usually go with a straight "dealer's choice," rather than asking for something specific, but I mentioned that I wanted to try a Deshler, not having had one. (Rye, Dubonnet, Cointreau, Angostura - sounds good, right?)

It was excellent. On the second round Ben set me up with a "Creole" which was also fantastic. I asked him about the proportions, and he said he'd just write it down for me, which he did. So here's the recipe:

Creole Cocktail

1 1/2 Rye (he used Pikesville or Overholt, I can't remember)

1/2 Sweet Vermouth (??)

1/4 Benedictine

1/4 Amer Picon

Stir / Cook / Strain / Up / Lemon Twist

So, I asked him if he used Torani Amer, and he said he used "the real stuff." Of course, now I wonder what he meant by "the real stuff." Vintage Amer Picon, Modern lower-proof Amer Picon, or perhaps a housemade replica. Since, I'm back in Los Angeles, it'll be a while before I can ask.

I think tonight I'll make one of these with Torani and see how it goes.


Edited by campus five (log)

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So, I asked him if he used Torani Amer, and he said he used "the real stuff." Of course, now I wonder what he meant by "the real stuff." Vintage Amer Picon, Modern lower-proof Amer Picon, or perhaps a housemade replica. Since, I'm back in Los Angeles, it'll be a while before I can ask.

I think tonight I'll make one of these with Torani and see how it goes.

so how do you compare the torani amer to an orange liqueur like cointreau or creole shrub? is it just orangey with a small additional bitter element or am i under estimating it?

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I am so not the guy to properly answer that question, but my informal taste test found these differences.

Cointreau was way, way sweeter and cleaner. Torani had a caramel/brown sugar darkness to it, and subtle, but not over the top bitterness.


Edited by campus five (log)

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So, I asked him if he used Torani Amer, and he said he used "the real stuff." Of course, now I wonder what he meant by "the real stuff." Vintage Amer Picon, Modern lower-proof Amer Picon, or perhaps a housemade replica. Since, I'm back in Los Angeles, it'll be a while before I can ask.

I think tonight I'll make one of these with Torani and see how it goes.

so how do you compare the torani amer to an orange liqueur like cointreau or creole shrub? is it just orangey with a small additional bitter element or am i under estimating it?

Yeah it's not as clean as Cointreau and def. has the caramel aspect to it. The bitterness hits the palate in a different way than most other things I've had, more on the back of the palate almost. There's also a strange and oft-noted celery note that I find not entirely pleasant. Apparently Torani Amer + dash or 2 of orange bitters = something close® to Amer Picon.

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So, I asked him if he used Torani Amer, and he said he used "the real stuff." Of course, now I wonder what he meant by "the real stuff." Vintage Amer Picon, Modern lower-proof Amer Picon, or perhaps a housemade replica. Since, I'm back in Los Angeles, it'll be a while before I can ask.

I think tonight I'll make one of these with Torani and see how it goes.

so how do you compare the torani amer to an orange liqueur like cointreau or creole shrub? is it just orangey with a small additional bitter element or am i under estimating it?

Yeah it's not as clean as Cointreau and def. has the caramel aspect to it. The bitterness hits the palate in a different way than most other things I've had, more on the back of the palate almost. There's also a strange and oft-noted celery note that I find not entirely pleasant. Apparently Torani Amer + dash or 2 of orange bitters = something close® to Amer Picon.

Torani Amer and 2 dashes of orange bitters is what went into the Broollyn I mixed last night and I liked it very much.

I'll ask the experts this: Sweet or dry vermouth in the Brooklyn? I have always used dry, but see here others calling for sweet. Is there an answer or is it two versions of one idea? It certainly changes the drink

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So, I asked him if he used Torani Amer, and he said he used "the real stuff." Of course, now I wonder what he meant by "the real stuff." Vintage Amer Picon, Modern lower-proof Amer Picon, or perhaps a housemade replica. Since, I'm back in Los Angeles, it'll be a while before I can ask.

I think tonight I'll make one of these with Torani and see how it goes.

so how do you compare the torani amer to an orange liqueur like cointreau or creole shrub? is it just orangey with a small additional bitter element or am i under estimating it?

Yeah it's not as clean as Cointreau and def. has the caramel aspect to it. The bitterness hits the palate in a different way than most other things I've had, more on the back of the palate almost. There's also a strange and oft-noted celery note that I find not entirely pleasant. Apparently Torani Amer + dash or 2 of orange bitters = something close® to Amer Picon.

so the esthetic goal of amer picon would be an orange product with lengthened, more complex, bitter yet managable finish...

i wonder if the celery note you describe comes from the gentian... it has a funky hard to describe but sort of nutlike character...

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The celery note in Torani Amer doesn't come from gentian. Check against Suze for some point of reference.

The current Amer Picon has a burnt sugar/caramel note not so strong in older versions. While maybe not fitting for cocktails, the note is nice if enjoying a Picon Biere!


Edited by eas (log)

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The celery note in Torani Amer doesn't come from gentian.  Check against Suze for some point of reference.

The current Amer Picon has a burnt sugar/caramel note not so strong in older versions.  While maybe not fitting for cocktails, the note is nice if enjoying a Picon Biere!

what does it come from? what else do they put in the stuff that could give off that character...?

torani amer is too high alcohol to have wine in it...

is it from the sugar they used to sweeten it? a vegetal cane juice or something? or a grapejuice concentrate to sweeten it?

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so i'm trying my picon replica in a "brooklyn cocktail"...

1.5 oz. rye (sazerac 18) its all i had...

.5 oz. dry vermouth (M&R)

.25 oz. maraschino (luxardo)

.25 amer picon (replica)

stirred...

the rye dominates the nose... the first thing i tasted was the maraschino contrasted against the spice of the rye... i haven't really drank anything with maraschino in a while so it leapt out at me... the orangyness becomes more evident as i sip... the small percentage of bitter may be there but is lost in the rye heat... i think the picon may create a faint bitter roasted coffee note i get on the finish but i can't really see amer picon really making too much difference in how special this drink is... (thats assuming my replica is passable...)

i love this style of drink where the acidity of dry vermouth balances something sweet on a brown liquor background... drinks like this usually seem challenging on paper but are quite crowd pleasing...


Edited by bostonapothecary (log)

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Someone above mentioned bugging the distributor, so that US distribution of Picon might eventually occur.

Did my part lat week.

The reply is not encouraging, but let's stay at it....

"June 12, 2008

Dear James,

Thank you for taking time to contact Diageo. Your feedback is important to

us.

With regards to your inquiry, Picon is not available and we do not have any

future plans of marketing the product in the US.

We value loyal consumers such as yourself and we appreciate your enthusiasm.

If there is anything else we could help you with now or in the future,

please do not hesitate to contact us.

Once again, thank you for contacting Diageo.

Sincerely,

Lorena D

Diageo Consumer Representative"

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Reviving this threat because I wonder if there isn't something going on with Torani Amer....

I live in Northern California where TA is very easy to find -- it's consistently stocked at BevMo, for example, among several other places. Because of this, I generally keep a bottle in my stock and can easily pick up a replacement whenever necessary...like I did this weekend.

As others have noted in this thread and elsewhere, I too have always detected the distinct vegetal/celery characteristic of TA, both on the nose and the palate. It's absolutely unmistakable when TA is smelled and tasted neat (in fact, I've often experienced it as the dominant characteristic of neat TA), and it often comes through even in cocktails (Chuck Taggart's Hoskins comes to mind).

Except in this bottle of TA I bought this weekend. The vegetal/celery notes are almost completely missing. On the nose, in fact, they seem to me to be gone entirely -- all I get is a deep amaro herbal richness spiked with notes of bright, clean bitter orange, even after letting an ounce or so sit out in a glass for nearly an hour. Absolutely fantastic! Tasted neat there's almost no trace of those flavors until the very tail end of the finish, where they're no more than a whisper and fade very pleasantly into the background of herbs. By far the dominant flavor of this bottle, in a way I've never before experienced with TA, is bitter orange.

For reasons I cannot explain (having never tasted the real thing from any era) I've developed a dangerous obsession with Amer Picon. I've made so many batches of Jamie Boudreau's recipe that I've literally lost count. Most I've poured out, disappointed in the result (I'm sure the fault is mine, and probably in the orange peel tincture step, but I cannot figure out what I'm doing wrong). The bottle of TA I bought this weekend is better by miles than any of my home-brew attempts. It's what I imagine Amer Picon tasted like Back In The Day, although admittedly I have no personal basis to say so. It's stellar in any event; I just wish I knew why, and whether it's a fluke.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this with TA recently?

(Edited to add the obvious question)


Edited by Mike S. (log)

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