Similar to Italian amari, these herbal liqueurs from around the globe are complexly layered with botanicals and natural flavorings. They can be a little bit of an acquired taste, but once you come around to them, you’ll appreciate their refreshing herbaceousness.
“Green and Yellow Chartreuse are both good options. They’re herbal liqueurs that aren’t too sweet and have been produced by French monks since the 1700s. They have a lot of flavor, but the alcohol content isn’t compromised. Those monks know what they’re doing.” — Morgan Zuch
“My go-to shot is Suze [a bitter Swiss liqueur made from gentian root]. It's low-ABV, clean, yet complex, bittersweet and thistle-y.” — Billy Helmkamp, The Whistler, Chicago, IL
“This liqueur from the Savoy region of France is flavored with all of the artemisia shrubs in the area. It starts off sweet and honeyed, then makes way to some very pleasant minty flavors, and finishes like dried flowers, particularly chamomile. Beautiful stuff. It’s about 90-proof—on par, if not higher than most whiskies or tequilas—so if getting a buzz on is your aim, it will do the job.” — Dave Castillo, Workshop Kitchen + Bar and Truss & Twine, Palm Springs, CA
“Chareau liqueur has the most wonderful, refreshing finish. It feels like a juice cleanse more than a shot. It is made with aloe, cucumber and muskmelon, and it is low-ABV, so one or two won’t sneak up on you.” — Bryan Tetorakis, Polite Provisions, San Diego, CA
“Mastiha [a Mediterranean liqueur made from mastic tree resin] straight is very sweet, so it is extremely easy to enjoy on its own.” — Johnny Livanos, Ousia, New York, NY