A French Brooklyn Twist

Forthave Spirits
Marseille Amaro
Brooklyn, NY
Purchased in 2018 and just opened
Co-founders and herbal mixmasters: Daniel de la Nuez and Aaron Fox

A neat pour of dark burnt amber. Before the glass even gets near my nose pine and eucalyptus appear. Get a little closer and there’s coriander, cloves, mint, and catnip tea (yes, I drink this, it’s good for your gut). Here comes the first sip and it’s a powerful beautiful statement of pine, gingerbread, cinnamon, cloves, singed orange peel, honey and vanilla. It’s not a dessert or a holiday in a glass, but it could be a combination of both with a warm comforting feeling enveloping you, or shall I even say a hearty hug.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: blurgh! don’t do it and ruin your lovely evening

Not going to lie, when I saw the bottle and design, I knew I had to bring it home with me. Kept putting off for that special occasion to open it, and here we are still in the middle of this pandemic mess. What better time than now! Just look at that Plague Mask on the label. Our N95s are no where near that dramatic. That giant herb filled beak is not what I would want to see my GP wearing during a doc appointment. This Marseille Amaro is built off the historical recipes attributed to the Four Thieves tale, who during a plague outbreak, were stealing from the sick and dead, but had come up with a “secret” vinegar herbal concoction that kept them safe from infection by warding off the fleas. The other more plausible tale is Richard Forthave’s vinegar remedy based on botanical research. Whoever got there first, Forthave Spirits’ contemporary version, I’m sure is far more delicious and aromatic than anything from ages long ago. Absolutely love it, and glad I have many more glasses for future evenings.

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Magical Mixture

Amaro Alpino
Lombardy Region
Bormio, Italy
Invented by pharmacist Francesco Peloni
Rested in Slavonian oak barrels
Acquired at D.O.C. Wine Bar after an amazing dinner outside

Served neat. Dark amber more reddish brown color. Take a deep breath in and it’s all sorts of herbs, piney, juniper berries, orange peel, cloves, and the whole forest floor with a touch of briney. Going in for the sip and it’s sweet and bitter at same time. Also tastes just like all of the above listed for scents. It’s better than a ricola and much more healthy. This will cure what ails ya!

Thank you Francesco Peloni for being so into herbs and creating this robust concoction back in 1875. From what I’m reading some of the herbs, plants and berries still used in this magical mixture are gathered on Monte Bràulio in Stelvio National Park, and are dried in the crisp mountain air and then ground before being added to the alcohol. Post mixture they hang out in stainless steel tanks for a few weeks and near the end some mountain water is added. I can’t imagine how strong that must smell. After extraction here’s where the Slavonian oak barrels come in. 15 months later, you have the perfect “secret” recipe and masterpiece.

Oh and obviously, no “Pairs with Cheez-It’s” since I was dining out, but I can pretty much guarantee it would be a big fat NO!


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