"I would never want to live anywhere but Baltimore. You can look far and wide, but you'll never discover a stranger city with such extreme style." -John Waters
The range of possible flavor profiles for amaros seems endless. However, few feature a peppery spice flavor. The Baltimore Spirits Company offers something new to the amaro genre with their Baltamaro Volume 2: Szechuan.
This amaro features szechuan peppers that provide the defining flavor. While they are called peppers, genetically this spice is more closely related to citrus than either black peppercorns or chile peppers. Szechuan peppers have a history of cultivation dating back centuries for usage in food and medicine. Luckily, the Baltimore Spirits Company found a new use for this phenomenal spirit.
This amaro's rich amber color entices you to take a sip. The nose carries hints of fall spices, such as clove and nutmeg. The flavor palate ranges from slightly sweet to pleasantly spicy. It also carries through a wonderful hint of citrus. You'll want to come back for another sip to continuously discover new aromas and flavor notes.
Baltamaro's spicy and sweet profile invites experimentation. Substitute it into whiskey cocktails that call for amaro for a different dynamic. Add it to your margaritas instead of cointreau. With a spirit this bold try something inventive with it.
THIRST AND HUNGER
Twist on a Classic: Italian Buck
Traditionally the Italian Buck pairs Amaro Montenegro and Cynar. I substituted the mildly sweet Amaro Montenegro for the spicy sweet of the Baltamaro.
For the drink:
-1 1/2 oz Baltamaro Volume 2: Szechuan
1 1/2 oz Cynar
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3 oz ginger beer
Tom Collins glass
Add the Baltamro, Cynar, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour into your glass through a Hawthorne strainer and fine mesh strainer. Top with ginger beer. Garnish.
Something Original: Charmaro
Since Baltimore is the Charm City, I couldn't resist an amaro pun. This spirit forward cocktail allows the spiciness of the Baltamaro to steal the show with the tequila and dry curaçao playing excellent supporting roles.
For the drink
-1 oz Baltamaro Volume 2: Szechuan
-1 oz añejo tequila (Kah Añejo)
-1 oz dry curaçao (Pierre Ferrand)
Double rocks glass
Combine the spirits in a cocktail mixer and add ice. Stir for 30 seconds and pour through a Hawthorne strainer into a glass. Garnish.
Eat Your Spirit: Baltamaro Jalapeño Poppers
My porch garden had a jalapeño plant this year and I needed to figure out how to use the peppers in large quantities before they went bad. I settled on jalapeño poppers with the szechuan amaro to really give them a spicy kick.
-1 tablespoon Baltamaro Volume 2: Szechuan
-3 bacon slices
-3 oz crumbled feta cheese
-3 oz grated parmesan cheese
-2 tablespoons cilantro
-2 tablespoons chopped scallions
-2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 teaspoon black pepper
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon coriander
-Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Halve the jalapeños, scoop out the seeds, and bake for 5 minutes with the inside face down.
-Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Drop the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
-Fry the bacon strips then chop into pieces.
-In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, then fill the jalapeños.
-Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the top starts to brown.
Maryland typifies the American mid-Atlantic region. Stretching from the Appalachian Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, the state offers something for everyone. For the history buff, the Antietam National Battle field from the Civil War is the spot of the bloodiest day in American history. For those in love with the outdoors, Assateague Island has bands of wild ponies and hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail. For the foodie, Baltimore offers a range of phenomenal restaurants serving cuisines of the region.
Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland is truly an underrated American city. Sitting on the Chesapeake Bay, it offers a microcosm of of the region region in so many ways. The city's vibrant culture offers everything from music to food to history. Where else could you dine on the finest soft shell crab, visit Edgar Allen Poe's house, and see a game at the best baseball stadium in the US. Explore Baltimore to find a city that captures the essence of the mid-Atlantic.
The Baltimore Spirits Company is a distiller worthy of representing Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region. The distillery operates as part of the Union Collective, a group of like-minded independent Baltimore businesses that converted an old factory into a vibrant space. From their location, they produce phenomenal classic spirits like their EPOCH rye, while also pushing boundaries with their Baltamaro Volume 2: Szechuan and pechuga style apple brandy. While this post highlights their szechuan amaro, I am sure more of their inventive spirits will make an appearance on this site.