Breaking News
More () »

This Washington-made liqueur is a taste of Italy

Amaricano, made by Fast Penny Spirits, is a kind of Italian amaro - and perfect for summer sipping. #k5evening

SEATTLE — One sip of Amaricano will transport you straight to Italy - which makes sense, because this beverage was inspired by Jamie Hunt's Italian travels.

"I thought it was a great opportunity to get into the market and make a really wonderful Italian-inspired American amaro," says Hunt, co-founder of Fast Penny Spirits.

Amaro is an Italian herbal liqueur often enjoyed as an after-dinner drink, also called a digestif. It means "bitter" in Italian, which makes it a bittersweet, refreshing spirit that pairs well with sparkling water and prosecco.

Jamie Hunt and Holly Robinson, her fellow co-founder, produce Amaricano at their Ballard distillery and tasting patio, Fast Penny Spirits. They use the same methods Italian producers have used for decades, and source local ingredients for their amaro - like truffles, hazelnuts, and saffron.

Fast Penny Spirits is the definition of "small but mighty" - only three people work there! But every bottle, every label, every drink is lovingly crafted. They make two versions of Amaricano - the original, and the Bianca.

Credit: KING 5
Amaricano is made by Fast Penny Spirits in Seattle.

"So, the Bianca is a little lighter style," Robinson says. "It's more pure aperitivo style. It has a little bit more of a candied lemon saffron, kind of green herb, finish. And then the Americano pulls a lot from the black truffle that we get forged here in the Northwest."

There's a lot of ways to drink amaro, whether straight, on the rocks or Robinson's preferred method.

"We just start with about an ounce to an ounce a half of amaro and then a splash of bubbles. Add a little splash of soda water and a nice big wedge of citrus. It's the easiest cocktail."

Credit: KING 5
Amaricano comes in two varieties - classic and Bianca.

Fast Penny Spirits doesn't just make amaro - they give back. They do a 3% give back on bottle sales to non-profits that empower women.

"And that's been very important to us," Robinson says. "We've done it since day one, which is wonderful."

If you want to get your hands on a bottle (or two) of Amaricano, you can order it from their website, pick it up at Fast Penny Spirits in Ballard, or find it at some liquor stores around Washington.

KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

Before You Leave, Check This Out