Dark Night Ahead {a vodka amaro cocktail}

As my liquor cabinet is growing with bottles of gin, bourbon, rye, etc. I’ve found that I don’t work with vodka as much as I used to. But,that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy drinking it every once in a while. Especially when it’s a grape-based vodka that has been char barrel finished and used to make this vodka amaro cocktail.

vodka amaro cocktail recipe

Vodka distilled from grapes is nothing new. Ciroc is distilled from grapes and Tahoe Blue Vodka uses 25% grapes. Heritage Distilling Company also has a grape distilled vodka. However, they take some of this vodka and rest it in charred barrels. It comes out with a darker color and a unique taste. It has a little spice with notes of vanilla and caramel without losing the grape flavor of the vodka.

heritage distilling char barrel vodka

Because this char barrel finished vodka has more depth of flavor, I found it could stand up to the stronger flavors of amaro. I also added little bit of Bonal Gentiane-Quina (an aperitif wine from France) and some Fee Brother’s Black Walnut Bitters to help bring it all together. Top it off with an orange peel and your vodka amaro cocktail is ready to enjoy.

vodka amaro cocktail

And I should probably note two things: First, the recipe uses a barspoon and half a barspoon as measurements. I realize this isn’t very exact but every time I made it this way it came out delicious. When I tried to use exact measurements, it felt off to me. Also, the name Dark Night Ahead does not imply that you’ll have a dark night after drinking it. Rather, the name came from the dark color of the drink and the fact that I prefer to drink it as a digestif. Now go on, enjoy your cocktail.

Dark Night Ahead {a vodka amaro cocktail}
Char barrel finished vodka stands up to amaro in this dark cocktail.
Serves: 1
  • 1-1/2 ounces Heritage Distilling Char Barrel Finished Vodka
  • ½ ounce Cardamaro
  • 1 barspoon Averna Amaro
  • ½ barspoon Bonal
  • 2 dashes Fee Brother's Black Walnut Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish
  1. Add all ingredients except for the orange peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.
  2. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Squeeze the orange peel above the glass to express the essential oils, rub the peel around the rim of the glass and place on glass before serving.


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I was sent the bottle of Heritage Distilling Vodka to sample. All thoughts, opinions, images and the recipe are my own.

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Jessica Torres is the chief cocktail creator here at One Martini. Outside of the internet, she works at DEATH & TAXES (a bar) and midtown eats (a restaurant) in Reno, Nevada. When not working, Jessica can be found working out, spending time with her family or attempting to nap. Subscribe to our newsletter to get all of the latest cocktail creations delivered directly to your inbox.
Filed under: Cocktail Recipes, Other Cocktail Recipes
1 comment… add one
  • sippitysup March 29, 2014, 3:12 pm

    I’m quite a fan of Amari cocktails. Yours has a very sophisticated trio too. GREG


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