Cocktails are such fun drinks that you can try doing at home!
If you’ve got a mini-bar or collection of liqueurs, you can have fun mixing drinks and getting a more refreshing beverage to enjoy with others.
One of the ingredients you most likely come across in cocktail recipes is the Amaro Nonino, an Italian aperitif or digestif with a bittersweet and herbal flavor profile.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find and comes at a high price! What can you do if you’re on a budget or have no Amaro Nonino in your liquor store?
Easy, just use any of these substitutes for Amaro Nonino such as Alternative Amaro Liqueurs, Cynar, Gammel Dansk, Sweet Vermouth, Chartreuse, and Bonal Quina.
We’ve got the perfect list for whether you need it for cocktails or on its own.
What is Amaro Nonino?
Amaro Nonino is a digestif made from a blend of Treviso apricots and liqueurs.
It is said to have a unique flavor profile that features notes of wildflowers, herbs, spices, and dried fruit.
Amaro Nonino is typically enjoyed after dinner as a way to help aid in digestion.
It has a sweet and herbal flavor that makes it the perfect digestif for those with a sweet tooth.
You’ll find Amaro Nonino a popular ingredient in mixology lists, as it’s a base recipe in many alcoholic shakes and cocktails worldwide. Various cocktail recipes call for the Amaro Nonino, such as:
- Paper Plane
- Black Manhattan or Amaro Manhattan
- Amaro Spritz
- Amaro Sour
- Forever Young
- Bloody Valentine
And many more!
The 7 Best Substitutes for Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
Whether you’re on a budget, can’t find it in the liquor store, or you’re in a pinch in the kitchen and need some right away, there are various substitutions you can use.
You can either find these in liquor stores or sitting around your liquor cabinet!
1. Alternative Amaro Liqueurs
Before mentioning other Amaro Nonino alternatives, we first recommend using another Amari liqueur.
It’s just like replacing a specific whiskey variety with another one before you grab a totally different spirit.
Even with their differences, All Amari has similar production processes with just as identical flavors. Since there are so many Amari to choose from (we tackle a few in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section), we suggest using these:
- Amaro Averna is closest in flavor, among other characteristics. It also has a strong citrus flavor with hints of caramel, along with less intense herb and spice flavor notes. That said, Amaro Averna is sweeter with a thick, syrup-like consistency. Also, it has a lower alcohol content of 29% ABV.
- Amaro Meletti has a similar flavor of caramel and spices that Amaro Nonino offers, along with its intense, herbaceous bitterness. It also contains a high alcohol content of around 32% ABV.
- Amaro Tosolini has distinct citrus flavors and a unique bitterness similar to Amaro Nonino. However, it’s very dark amber and burgundy in color, so it may affect the final appearance of your beverage.
Amaro Nonino is a bitter Italian liqueur, or amaro, which translates to “little bitter” in Italian. It was created by Antonio Nonino in Friuli, Italy, in 1992, made with grappa, herbs, botanicals, and fruits. (*)
Cynar is actually a kind of Italian amaro but differs from the Amari we mentioned above. It’s made with 13 different herb and plant varieties, with artichoke making up most of the drink’s flavor.
However, you’ll be surprised that Cynar has no artichoke taste at all. Instead, it has distinct orange flavors with notes of bitter chocolate.
Cynar has a low alcohol content of 16.5% ABV and is very dark brown. Because of this, we recommend Cynar 70, which has higher alcohol proof, carrying deeper, darker flavors than regular Cynar. Think of the taste like coffee and dark chocolate with a hint of orange!
3. Gammel Dansk
This is a very popular Danish bitter made of around 29 herbs and spices.
It has a fragrant aroma and complex flavors, including cinnamon, ginger, Seville orange, and star anise.
While it’s very bitter and spiced, expect some sweet and fruity flavor notes, making it a great Amaro Nonino replacement.
It even has the similar golden brown color Amaro Nonino has, so you don’t need to worry about it changing the color of your baked goods or beverages.
4. Sweet Vermouth
We can’t say that sweet vermouth is the closest substitute for Amaro Nonino. But if you’re in a pinch, vermouth is more affordable and easier to find compared to the other options we mention.
While vermouth is wine-based, it has similar flavors to grain-based Amaro Nonino. Expect strong notes of citrus and spices like allspice and star anise.
You can find a variety of sweet vermouth available, so make sure you read the ingredient list closely.
Some vermouths use citruses like lemon, lime, orange, and pomelo peels.
It also uses popular herbs like oregano, lavender, flowers, sage, ginger, and juniper. As for spices, expect vermouth to have allspice, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and star anise.
Learn more: The Best Vermouth Substitute for Any Recipe
You may have heard of Chartreuse already, which is a common and popular French liqueur. Like vermouth, it’s easier to find and comes in different colors and flavors.
Regardless of the Chartreuse variety, it has complex flavors consisting of different spices, herbs, and plants. Comparing it to Amaro Nonino, Chartreuse is less bitter and has a spicy, earthy flavor profile.
There are two kinds of Chartreuse:
- Green Chartreuse has a higher alcohol proof of 110, or 55% ABV. It also contains more flavor and aroma than yellow Chartreuse, made of 130 spices, plants, and herbs.
- Yellow Chartreuse contains an alcohol proof of 80, or 40% ABV, which is still higher than Amaro Nonino. Compared to green Chartreuse, it tastes milder with sweeter notes.
Select your desired variety based on the cocktail you’re making and your taste preference.
Learn more: Top 10 Awesome Chartreuse Alternatives to Suit You!
You have probably seen the price of Amaro Nonino (around $50 for one 750ml bottle), and different factors explain how expensive it is. The flavor profile comes from unique ingredients, and it undergoes a distinct production process from where it’s distilled.
6. Bonal Quina
Bonal Gentaine Quina contains a fortified wine base that’s been infused with spices and herbs to create a complex flavor profile.
As the name suggests, this liqueur has quina, which is what gives Bonal the very bitter flavor that you find in vermouth and Amari.
It also has citrus and licorice flavors, like Amaro Nonino, but Bonal has intense cherry flavors, which you should consider when using as a substitute.
Furthermore, Bonal has a burnt olive-brown color, which may impact your beverage or dish’s appearance.
We like drinking Amaro Nonino on its own as an aperitif or mixing it into cocktails. It’s 35% ABV, containing more alcohol than some liqueurs or other amaro.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you stop reading and head to cooking, you can learn more about Amaro Nonino, its uses, and the best substitutes here in our frequently asked questions.
Wrapping It Up
If your following cocktail recipe calls for Amaro Nonino, you won’t have to groan and skip it because you don’t have the liqueur.
You can still use any of these replacements to achieve the flavor you want without going over budge such as:
- Amaro Liqueurs,
- Gammel Dansk,
- Sweet Vermouth,
- and Bonal Quina.
We hope you found the perfect substitutes for Amaro Nonino with the help of our list! If you’ve tried any of these substitutes or have more to recommend, let us know in the comments section.
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