There is no shortage of vodka and gin in the Philadelphia distilling scene. There are actually fantastic options for both. There are however much less options when it comes to amaro. Known in the United States as the dark bitter spirits, amaro’s are not your standard spirit for the upstart craft distilleries. Many bars still look to Europe (specifically Italy) for these classic spirits.
Kensington’s Rowhouse Spirits however has teamed up with William Reed (proprietor of Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s) to create their second take on an amaro, both of which are still the only ones to be distilled in the city. The latest release distilled with Reed is appropriately named Standard Amaro. The spirit, distilled in the Italian style, is meant to be enjoyed as a digestivo as there’s a classic Italian adage serving as an inspiration that roughly goes, “drink liqueurs that are the color of sunsets before dinner, and those that are the color of the night should be taken after dinner.”
The spirit itself was distilled from Pennsylvania wine, infused with bitter herbs and charred Pennsylvania peaches, and then aged in an oak barrel. Standard Amaro was then brought to the bottling proof of 32%abv (64 proof) by blending it with Pennsylvania wine.
Because, if you end your meal with a spirit, you might as well start the meal with one as well, Rowhouse also offers their original take on an amaro, Bear Trap. The spirit meant to be appertivo, is flavored with 19 distinct herbs and spices and goes through three separate infusions to bring about its unique flavor.
Standard Amaro is only available directly from the Rowhouse Spirits distillery. Bear Trap is available at both the distillery and select PLCB state stores. The distillery is open to the public Thursday through Saturday from noon till 6:00pm.