All Things Amari
When we first began this journey, one thing was for certain— we wanted to have an Amaro focused bar program. What I didn’t realize was the immense rabbit hole this world would take me down. The rabbit hole of amaro or amari and herbal liqueurs. I’ve been working on an extensive training catalog for the staff for some time now and every time I think I’m done, I find more exciting new herbal liqueurs to add to the docket. I’ve decided to start this blog as a way to educate and train our staff and customers. To further your knowledge through history, education and instructions on how to use these alcohols in your home. I won’t solely focus on amaro– some days it will be that fancy new tequila we found, or that Hendrick’s special release that you absolutely need to try, but my goal in doing this is to have a resource for you to explore the spirit of Amaro’s Table. Pun intended.
Challenges in Southwest Washington
One of the challenges that I’ve faced with this concept is telling customers where they can procure the product. The local liquor stores don’t carry a lot of the specialized liqueurs that we have and it’s hard to sustain someones interest if they can’t find something to enjoy in the comfort of their own home. Oh, boohoo, you have to visit Amaro’s Table to enjoy the Amaro Sibilla that you have fallen madly in love with but it is an issue, and sometimes a hard one to address. I want people to have the luxury of amassing their own personal amari collection without having to trek around the world to do so. Thankfully, while Vancouver, Washington’s selection is sparce, we have our more progressive neighbor’s to the south of us that will often carry the more obscure and nuanced alcohols that our customers have grown to love. Also, the distributor debacle that has become my life, places limitations on who and what can carry an item in Washington. To date, I have 28 different distributors that I have to source my wine, spirits and beer through with the constant changing of hands and shuffling of brands. This week the Campari portfolio belongs to Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits but who knows, next week it could change hands and now Young’s Market are the providers of the Campari Portfolio. With the shifting of hands, comes the time and price transitions that follow suit. It often takes weeks to months for a spirit to become available after changing distributors. With the demise of Vinuum, some of my favorite amari dissipated into the ethers and now comes the quest to find where it landed. The good thing about this is I’ve become the go to gal for where to find things. If I don’t carry it, you can tell me the importing group and I could probably steer you in the right direction. Also, I’ve developed a pretty good sense for when things are changing hands and will stock up accordingly, often to the chagrin of our wallet and storage. Fortunately, most spirits don’t have an expiration date and while it might take me a hot minute, I will eventually use it.
Being on the border of a state is beneficial because Oregon doesn’t have this maddening system and most everything you need can be found at your neighborhood liquor store– or at least on an expedition around Portland–Black Note Amaro is at Hollywood Beverage, while Amaro Nardini is at Barbur liquor (examples only and don’t take my word on that.) If you were feeling spry enough, you could navigate your way through all of Portland’s major neighborhoods on an Amari treasure hunt and Oregon Liquor Control has this nifty feature on their site where you enter the product and it will tell you the locations that carry the thing your looking for. Now begin on your quest with infinite patience and a good audio book because… Portland traffic.