Local distillery releases its first-ever amaro liqueur
Italian-style herbal liqueur made with estate wine grapes, botanicals
– Willow Creek Distillery in Paso Robles recently released its first-ever amaro, an Italian-style liqueur distilled from estate wine grapes and infused with premium botanicals including coriander, allspice, rhubarb, wormwood, and gentian.
Prized for its distinctive combination of sweet and bitter sensations, amaro is an herbalized spirit that gained widespread popularity in 19th-century Italy. Willow Creek Amaro can be enjoyed over ice or used as a base for a variety of cocktails such as Old Fashioneds and Black Manhattans. Willow Creek Amaro is available at the distillery and tasting room in westside Paso Robles, and online at WillowCreekDistillery.com.
“We set out to put our own stamp on the style, because no two amaros are alike,” said Kevin Coulton, Willow Creek’s head distiller. “We are very pleased with the results—it’s unique, flavorful and easy to enjoy.”
The journey of Willow Creek Amaro began when Coulton distilled a neutral brandy spirit from wine grapes grown at Opolo Vineyards, the distillery’s sister winery in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles. This spirit was aged for six months on new medium-toast French oak. Finally, it was infused with various botanicals to reach a peak balance of flavor, sweetness, and bitterness. A touch of brown sugar was also included.
The amaro shows notes of gentian, coriander, wormwood, and nutmeg followed by toasted oak, brown sugar, subtle spice, and a feathered bitter finish, according to the winery. A total of just 125 cases was produced for this first run, in line with Willow Creek’s emphasis on handcrafted, small-batch spirits. A new second batch is in the works.