"It tastes like the barnyard," Gabrielle Dion of The Mixing Glass told me as I eyed the Amaro Dell'Erborista, a gigantic digestif bottle on display at her charming cocktail shop within the OC Mix. Some time later, an employee was a little bit more succinct: "It tastes like a horse's ass."
Fascinating...so I bought it. And I'm glad to report that, while Amaro Dell'Erborista is hella bitter, it's leans more toward Dion's sunny pronouncement than her worker's hilarious summation.
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The drink starts deceptively sweet, gracias to honey sourced from the Sibillini Mountains in central Italy: thick, assertive, bright. Given the shape of DellErborista's bottle, you might even initially mistake it for a mead. But then comes the bitter at the end: quinine, rhubarb, clove, and other dark herbs, all prepared on a wood fire that imparts an intense smokiness that makes Scotch taste like Gatorade. It's a beautiful drink, and worth the $70 price. Don't bother trying to get it for cheap elsewhere; anywhere else in OC has to special-order it, and it'll take you two weeks. Besides, support your local indie booze maven!
The Mixing Glass, 3313 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 975-9952; Instagram: @themixingglass