November 10, 2023

A little bit of Italian history in a glass

A little bit of Italian history in a glass Subheading

Amaro Montenegro is one of those iconic bottles you’ve always seen in your local. This delicious elixir was created in 1885, in a small town in Italy. Crafted from a secret blend of 40 botanicals, the symphony of flavours creates a rich and versatile drink that can be enjoyed straight, on the rocks or as part of a refreshing cocktail. A little bit of history in a glass, this bottle is an incredible addition to any home bar. We interviewed the team to see if we could coax the secret blend out of them…


Amaro Montenegro Liquor Barons


Q&A with Amaro Montenegro

Tell us about Amaro Montenegro. We know it’s a secret recipe… but can you share a few of the botanicals it is made from? Where does Amaro Montenegro come from?

A traditional amaro from Bologna, Amaro Montenegro has origins in 1885 when it was crafted by Stanislao Cobianchi who had a passion for alchemy. Cobianchi embarked on a global journey, selecting 40 rinds, woods, seeds, rhizomes, flowers, fruits, citrus peels, roots, stems, and leaves, to distill the essence of the world into a liquid elixir. He initially named this elixir “Elisir Lungavita”, which quickly gained immense popularity due to its delicate and approachable flavour profile, harmoniously balancing sweet, citrus, and bitter/herbaceous elements. He later dedicated this liquid to Princess Elena of Montenegro during her royal marriage to Prince Vittorio Emanuele III, and thus “Amaro Montenegro” was fully born as we know it today.

The complete recipe for Amaro Montenegro remains a closely guarded secret, known only to the Master Herbalist, while the details of 13 botanicals have been publicly revealed:

  • Sweet
    • Nutmeg
    • Cloves
    • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
    • Sweet and bitter oranges
    • Petite dried oranges
  • Bitter/Herbaceous
    • Artemisia blend (four types)
    • Marjoram
    • Oregano
    • Coriander Seeds

For those who aren’t familiar with the Amaro Montenegro, what kind of alcohol is it?

Amaro Montenegro is part of a category of Italian herbal liqueurs referred to as “amaro” (plural: “amari”), which translates to “bitter.” Historically, these herbal blends were thought to aid in digestion, and as a result, Amaro Montenegro earned a reputation as a digestif, often served as a chilled, neat shot following a meal.

Amaro Montenegro has been around since 1885 which is incredible that it’s stood the test of time. How is it made and is it still made the same way since the 1800’s?

The production of Amaro Montenegro involves the delicate extraction of 12 essences from the 40 botanicals, achieved through the processes of boiling, maceration, and distillation.

Subsequently, these 12 essential extracts are skillfully combined to create six distinct aromatic notes, which are then harmoniously blended with sugar and water. However, the pivotal moment arrives with the addition of “Il Premio” (meaning “prize” in Italian). This seventh and final tasting note is crafted using a unique combination of five botanicals. Il Premio is an intense concoction blended with Master Herbalist, and every bottle only requires a single drop to give it its distinct flavour.

This process has not changed since 1885, and specifics on every step are a closely guarded secret.

Considering it’s been around for so long, why do you think it’s still as popular today?

The 40 botanicals used in the production of Amaro Montenegro are sourced from four continents, calling on familiar notes that resonate with individuals from around the world. This complex flavour profile makes it a great companion for a wide range of spirits, maintaining and raising its profile as a versatile liquid any spirits enthusiast would love.

What is the best way to drink it? What are a few of the go-to Amaro Montenegro cocktail recipes out there?

The best way to enjoy Amaro Montenegro in its purest essence is as a chilled, neat 30ml shot at -15C.

A great, easy way to enjoy it at home would be through a Monte & Tonic:

  • 30ml Amaro Montenegro
  • 60ml Tonic
  • Over ice with an Orange Peel
  • For an elevated, nuanced cocktail, try the Montenegro:
  • 60ml Amaro Montenegro
  • 30ml Rosso Antico
  • 30ml Botanist Gin
  • Over ice with an Orange Twist


Find your local HERE.


Get your hands on Amaro Montenegro from your local Liquor Barons store. 

Track down your nearest store

Or use current location