Translated as ‘love and bitters’, this NYC institution is aptly named. The room is minuscule, eight seats; yet the bitters selection is one of the largest on the continent. Behind the Spanish tile bar, a single bartender conjures cocktails like no other, bitter-based beverages that still manage to display bright flavours. Consider the improbably refreshing Sharpie Mustache (amari, tye, gin, tiki bitters) or the elevated classic that is their signature 8 Amaro Sazerac (amari blend, green herbal liqueur, orange bitters, orange citrate). For purists, there is also vermouth – on tap.
The drinks programme is the brainchild of managing director Sother Teague, a respected drinks writer. Also a partner at Death & Co, founder Ravi DeRossi’s personality is evident in the cosy design replete with pressed metal ceiling, damask wallpaper and tidy shelves to hold all of those bitters. Amor y Amargo is now a full enterprise encompassing a bottle shop, a second location and a robust online presence. Yet, the original is an experience unto itself: one part magic show, one part spirits education and entirely delightful.