The Amaro Montenegro Residency Project

Not all brand trips are equal. Some focus on the production of a spirit for example whilst others talk about a long & storied history of the family that brought the product to life. There’s been no trip quite like our week in Italy with Amaro Montenegro for its Amaro Residency project. The premise is simple - spend 5 days with Amaro Montenegro around the country. As straightforward as it sounds we at Cocktails For You think that what Amaro Montenegro pulled off is quite remarkable, unique & will stay with us for the rest of our lives!

All 15 members of the residency project were able to grab a glimpse of the very heart & soul of Italy. What you were taught in school or you read online doesn’t even come close to the fully-immersive experience we were so lucky to be a part of last week. So lets share the details...

The Master Herbalist & his Amaro... Matteo Bonoli started the week off with a in-depth masters class into distillation, working with botanicals & the secret ‘Premio’ that goes into every bottle of Amaro Montenegro worldwide. A secret passed down to him by his predecessors that makes Amaro Montenegro what it is. The history of the Amaro itself it quite peculiar as it is linked to the noble families of Bologna. The very protagonist of this Amaro is Elena of Montenegro who was given the Amaro as a gift after marrying the King of Italy at the time. “We can only share 13 ingredients,” he says, opening a box that contains little jars of cinnamon, nutmeg, marjoram, and other stuff relatively easy to find at the supermarket. “They’re not so exciting.” He pulls out a jar of oregano. “This is a specific variety of oregano. If you go to the supermarket, you cannot find it.” Where is it from? “I can’t tell you.” The recipe for Amaro Montenegro is so closely held that no one person knows the entire thing—the 40 ingredients that go into the bottle are boiled, macerated, and distilled at a facility in southern Italy, and the people who work there aren’t allowed to talk to their Bologna co-workers. Bonoli, who has a PhD in food science, reports daily to a “secret room” above the main, stainless steel tank-lined production area to taste extracts of ingredients and amaro in various stages: unfiltered, before and after bottling. (It takes nine months to go from a pile of botanicals to the finished product.)

Glorious City of Florence The origins of the Renaissance movement trace themselves back to the city of flowers. Arguably the most important movement in the history of mankind in the last 300 years that lead to the enlightenment of the whole world to bring us where we are today. It is interesting to see the close ties between that period & the Church that obviously inspired so many of the great thinkers of the time. We were taken all around the city by the Global Ambassador of Amaro Montenegro Rudi Carraro as he shared with us hidden streets, niche details & centuries of legends that surrounded our group on every corner. The rule of Lorenzo il Magnifico (1469–92), Cosimo’s grandson, ushered in the most glorious period of Florentine civilisation and of the Italian Renaissance. His court fostered a flowering of art, music and poetry, turning Florence into Italy’s cultural capital. Not long before Lorenzo’s death, the Medici bank failed and the family was driven out of Florence. The city fell under the control of Savonarola, a Dominican monk who led a puritanical republic, burning the city’s wealth on his ‘bonfire of vanities’. But his lure was short-lived and after falling from favour he was tried as a heretic and executed in 1498.

After the Spanish defeated Florence in 1512, Emperor Charles V married his daughter to Lorenzo’s great-grandson Alessandro de’Medici, whom he made duke of Florence in 1530. Seven years later Cosimo I, one of the last truly capable Medici rulers, took charge, becoming grand duke of Tuscany after Siena fell to Florence in 1569 and ushering in more than 150 years of Medici domination of Tuscany.

In 1737 the grand duchy of Tuscany passed to the French House of Lorraine, which retained control, apart from a brief interruption under Napoleon, until it was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. Florence briefly became the national capital but Rome assumed the mantle permanently in 1870.

The Cocktails For You Seminar in Il Locale As part of the Amaro Residency project we at Cocktails For You were sharing our seminar 'The Power of Social Media' for all the bartenders involved in a grand location known as Il Locale based in the Concini Palace. The history of the Concini Palace has an extensive and unique history strongly tied to Florentine politics during the time of the Medici family. Undergoing a recent restoration, the space has been brou