Delightfully named Don Ciccio & Figli has been churning out amaro in D.C. since 2012, using family recipes brought over from the old country. The Amodeo family established the first Don Ciccio & Figli distillery on the Amalfi Coast in 1883; it was closed twice, first by WWII and then by an earthquake, before its revival in the United States.
Don Ciccio & Figli’s latest release, Donna Rosa Rabarbaro, is a rhubarb liqueur based on a recipe from 1896. It is made using three different rhubarb roots sourced from around the world, plus another 17 botanicals. The mixture is aged for one year in French Oak barrels, and bottled at a mild 20% ABV.
Its nose features straw, blackberry, dark orange peel and pepper. It is light and tart on the tongue and begins with a sweet, candied orange flavor enlivened by a spicy, earthy note that’s something like celery stalk. That orange flavor returns in the back, though this time it is darker and more bitter. The multi-layered finale includes subtle pepper, more dark citrus peel, and a final bitter note that lasts for minutes after the last drops have been swallowed.
Donna Rosa Rabarbaro has a respectable bitterness and is unabashedley tart, two strong qualities balanced out by the sweetness of its citrus notes and the lightness of the body. It’s the kind of thing that can cure the post-Thai-takeout digestive blues, and refresh you on a hot day if some club soda is involved. Donna Rossa hits that rare sweet spot—it’s both versatile and nothing like any amaro you’ve likely had before.
— 20% ABV