From Bari’s Murgia to the World
Italians have been drinking alcoholic herb concoctions to aid with digestion for centuries. Anywhere in Italy, it is expected to end a big dinner with a nice amaro – the Italian word for bitter referring to a digestive liquor. In Italy’s southern Puglia region, it is typical for families to make their own amari (plural) for their family’s consumption. However, the region is not one of the most well-known in the amaro market.
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A Family Affair
That is exactly how and why Amaro Maffei came to be. The Maffei family had been dabbling with different recipes for years and would gift bottles to friends and family for holidays. The family recipe, with its emerald green color and wild fennel as its main ingredient, was incredibly popular. In 2017, Gasparo Maffei decided to collaborate with his friend and colleague Vincenzo Carlucci to create Amaro Maffei – an amaro so versatile that it will put the apulian region on the ardent spirits map. To prove that the beverage goes well beyond aiding digestion, the pair tested Amaro Maffei in the kitchen by marinating a salmon dish in it and even creating a mousse with it for a tasty dessert. But the place where they experimented with it the most was, unsurprisingly, behind the bar.
“The Maffei family had been dabbling with different recipes for years and would gift bottles to friends and family for holidays.”
To illustrate the beverage’s versatility the duo tested out several cocktails. Some of the cocktails are reminiscent of beach days, like the fruity MilkAmaro Punch made with pineapple and granny smith apples or the bolder Count Maffei with campari, tequila and strawberry. Others evoke more of a speakeasy vibe such as the complex Maffei Swizzle with lime juice and golden falernum (a spiced syrup liqueur) along with the more robust Très Jolie with red vermouth, absinthe and orange bitter (topped with vaporized wild fennel essence). Of course, there is also an aperitivo vibe thanks to the refreshing Murgiano Spritz with cedar liqueur and prosecco or the Cocktail Wonder with prosecco, basil and smoked orange flowers.
“The family recipe, with its emerald green color and wild fennel as its main ingredient, was incredibly popular.”
International Recognition – only the beginning
In 2019 Amaro Maffei participated in two liqueur competitions and was given the recognition it deserves. The World Liqueur Awards in London is where it won Best Italian Herbal as well as the Bronze in Best New Launch Design. The second competition was the China Wine & Spirits Awards where it won a Gold medal. Of course, by now everyone knows what happened around the world in 2020, but even that did not stop Amaro Maffei. The Maffei family recipe is meant to do big things, and it is only getting started.