"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.
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