Amaro Nonino is a unique Italian liqueur with a bittersweet flavor with vanilla, caramel, and allspice hints.
It is among the most expensive of all Italian bitter liqueurs. Plus, it is pretty hard to find Amaro Nonino if you need it for a dessert recipe or for making a mixed drink.
Luckily though, there are a lot of other similar bitters from Italy and elsewhere, as well as other beverages and products you can use as an Amaro Nonino substitute.
What is Amaro Nonino Quintessentia?
Amaro Nonino is one of the various Italian Amari.
Amaro is a bitter liqueur from Italy. Some of the more popular ones include Aperol, Campari, and Averna. But they are made differently and are less expensive and more readily available than the Amaro Nonino.
The Amaro Nonino Quintessentia was invented by Antonio Nonino in 1992. The bitter is distilled in the town of Fruili, Italy. Its uniqueness comes from the fact that it is made from grappa with infused fruits, herbs, and plants.
The high-end liqueur has a complex bittersweet taste with a hint of caramel, vanilla, gentian, and citrus plus mango.
The most prominent spice flavors of this beverage are licorice, allspice, and pepper.
There are also hints of cocoa and honey, according to some.
It is not as sweet as some other Italian Amari and has significantly higher alcohol content than them. In fact, its alcohol by volume is 35% as compared to the 11% ABV of Aperol.
But as we noted already, its uniqueness comes with a price. Amaro Nonino is not only very expensive but is also very rare and hard to find.
Amaro Nonino Basics
- Appearance: clear golden amber liqueur with a copper-colored hue
- Flavor profile: caramel, licorice, citrus, mango, allspice, honey, vanilla, pepper, apricot saffron
- Aftertaste: caramel with a touch of spice
- Availability: very rare and difficult to find
- Price: significantly higher than other Amari
The Top Amaro Nonino Substitutes
So, given its complex flavors, its unique production process, its price, and its rarity, it comes as no surprise that you may not have been able to find some Amaro Nonino for your recipe or other needs.
The good news is that there are many available alternatives that you can use instead when needed.
The best substitute for Amaro Nonino depends on which of the flavors you are aiming for. If you are after a citrusy flavor, you should opt for a liqueur with such a profile. If the spicy taste is what you are looking for, you can use a pepper-based liqueur instead.
Here are the best 7 replacements for Amaro Nonino:
1. Other Amaro Liqueurs
The first and most obvious choice for a suitable replacement for Amaro Nonino is one of the many other Amaro liqueurs.
Amaro Averna bears the closest resemblance to Amaro Nonino. It too has a citrusy flavor with a hint of caramel. But it is much sweeter and has a lower alcohol content of 29%.
If you decide to use the Amaro Averna as a substitute, then use the same quantities as you would if using Amaro Nonino.
Another similar bitter liqueur of this type why you can use instead of Amaro Nonino is Amaro Meletti. It has a strong bitterness, with overtones of herbs, caramel, and spices. It has a high alcohol content of 32%.
Amaro Tosolini is yet another option to choose if you don’t have Amaro Nonino. It is as bitter as it and has a noticeable flavor of citruses. But keep in mind that the Amaro Tosolini is very dark in color, so the appearance of your dessert or other product you are making will differ.
Cynar is another bitter liqueur of the Amaro type which comes from Italy. It is made of 13 different plants and herbs, one of the main ones being the artichoke.
But the flavor of Cynar doesn’t resemble that of artichokes. Instead, this liqueur has a taste of orange and bitter chocolate.
This Italian beverage has a low alcohol percentage of only 16/5% and is much darker in color than the Amaro Nonino.
Then again, if you want something with a more robust taste, you can opt for the Cynar 70. It has higher alcohol content and a much deeper and prominent orange and bitter chocolate taste than the regular Cynar.
3. Gammel Dansk
This bitter from Denmark is very popular not only in its home country but around the world. It is made of 29 different spices and herbs, which give it a complex and fragranced flavor. This decadent taste makes it one of the best replacements for Amaro Nonino.
The more prominent flavors of the Gammel Dansk include star anise, cinnamon, Seville orange and ginger.
But even though it is bitter and spicy, this liqueur has some fruity notes and a touch of sweetness.
The color of Gammel Dansk is very close to that of Amaro Nonino, so it will not affect the appearance of your desserts or cocktails when using it as a replacement.
While vermouth is not the obvious choice for substitutes for Amaro Nonino, we have added it to this list because it is readily available almost everywhere and is much more affordable than most of the other options.
While Amaro Nonino is a grain-based bitter, vermouth is wine-based. Still, some vermouths have a strong allspice and star anise flavor combined with citrus, making it an excellent alternative for Amaro Nonino.
You get to pick among a wide variety of different vermouths. Our advice is to take the time to read the ingredient list on the labels to choose the vermouth, which is as close a match to the Amaro Nonino as possible.
Usually, the citruses used for making vermouth include lemon, orange, lime, or pomelo peels.
Some of the spices you can find in the ingredient lists of the different vermouths include star anise, allspice, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.
The herbs which are usually used include ginger, lavender, juniper, flowers, oregano and sage.
Chartreuse is another easier-to-find beverage that you can use as a replacement for Amaro Nonino. This French liqueur is available in different flavors and colors.
But all Chartreuse is made of a wide variety of different herbs, spices and plants. This makes its flavor profile rich and complex.
It is not as bitter as Amaro Nonino and has an earthier taste than it.
The most popular types are yellow and green Chartreuse.
The green Chartreuse has an ABV of 55%, so it is stronger and with a more pungent smell and flavor than the yellow type.
Yellow Chartreuse has a 40% ABV which is significantly lower than that of the green version of the liqueur. It also has a less intense flavor.
6. Bonal Gentaine Quina
Bonal Gentaine Quina is another wine-based liqueur which though is infused with a ton of spices and herbs.
It includes Quina, which is why it has a very bitter flavor, similar to most Amari and vermouths.
The color of Bonal Gentaine Quina is a darker brown than that of Amaro Nonino. But its flavor profile is pretty similar, especially given its distinctive hints of citrus and licorice.
The main difference with Amaro Nonino is that Bonal Gentaine Quina has a specific and rich cherry flavor.
But anyhow, it is a unique and delicious alternative to Amaro Nonino.
7. Angostura Bitters
This beverage is a common ingredient for a lot of mixed drinks. It is made of herbs and is highly concentrated. This means that you should add a few drops of Angostura Bitters to get that desired flavor.
The alcohol percentage of this beverage is 44.7% which is very high.
While it is quite different from Amaro Nonino, the two drinks have some similar flavors, including the allspice, licorice, and star anise.