Everyone knows what an amaro is, it doesn't need a special introduction.
A quote from Danny Meyer, Founder of the Union Square Hospitality Group describes it well:
“Long before there were chef-driven cocktails, there were monk-driven digestivi, also known as amari. They made us feel better, encouraged post-prandial discourse, and set us up for a better tomorrow”
The term amaro (amari when plural) encompasses a number of bitter, herb-infused liqueurs. Amari originate from Italy, when monks in the middle ages were infusing herbs into alcohol, experimenting with pharmaceutical remedies. Even modern amari because of the properties of the herbs that are used have cleansing and digestive properties. Common herbs used in amari are gentian, rhubarb, orris, star anise, wormwood, angelica, bitter orange etc.
“[Amari] are a great ingredient in cocktails,” says Experimental Cocktail Club’s Damien Aries. “I like the complexity that all the herbs and botanicals add to drinks.” More people however should know how to sip it neat: “That’s when you’ll notice the most subtleties and differences between quality amari.”
Roots Diktamo is the first greek amaro, but based on an old recipe and on one of the most extraordinary and unique herbs, dittany of Crete (or diktamo in greek).
Dittany of Crete (Origanum Dictamnus or dittany of Crete), is a Mediterranean herb closely related to Marjoram and Oregano and is a healing, therapeutic and aromatic perennial plant from the island of Crete, in Greece. Dittany is indigenous in Crete and grows wild on its mountains and gorges.
In Ancient Greece dittany was used to heal battle wounds and ease the pain. Hippocrates prescribed dittany to aid all kinds of illnesses and Aristotle and Theophrastus extolled the virtues of the ʻmiracle cureʼ plant in various ancient writings. Today its limited range makes it one of the most sought-after herbs as it is rarely cultivated and commonly just grows wild on Crete.
In the Cretan dialect it is also known as Έρωντας (erontas, "love", for it aphrodisiac properties). According to legend, young men would climb the hills in the summer to gather dittany flowers to offer as love tokens. They were known as “Erondades” (love-seekers). To obtain a bouquet of Dittany, it was said, you had to truly be in love.
Dittany has a rich herbal scent, gently spicy and mountainous, reminiscent almost of a wild and deep oregano smell, while having at the same time quite floral and earthy notes. Roots Diktamo has a cerebral and layered taste combining harmonically herbal profusion with fruity subtleness. It gives a firm and gently bitter mouthfeel, mimicking the sense of a ʻsweet velvetʼ texture. Peaty richness is contrasted with herbal freshness.
Here is how some of our friends like to incorporate Roots Diktamo:
Oriole Bar London, UK Roots Brand Ambassador
Easy to integrate, the taste of Roots Diktamo is layered, combining a herbal bitter mouthfeel with sweet dry fruit notes. Roots Diktamo makes delicious highballs (with tonic and orange zest)
Bathtub Gin Bar, NY Roots Brand Ambassador
"Roots Diktamo has sweets notes of rhubarb and herbal notes. I often use it to balance citrus in a cocktail as well as making a twist on a classic like an old fashioned. It also works perfectly for me in tropical drinks.¨
Dimitrios Elias Zahariadis
New England Roots Brand Ambassador"Roots Diktamo, Greece’s first Amaro, is very unique in flavor due to the presence of the Cretan Dittany plant. This ancient plant with its healing powers will not only lend amazing flavor and complexity to your cocktails, but will also provide you, the bartender, with a backstory as ancient as the lands from which this plant is cultivated."
The Clumsies Athens, Senios Athens
"Roots Diktamo illustrates ideally the "Greekness" and the evolution of greek products, as dittany of Crete (diktamo) is one of the most unique greek herbs. I like to incorporate Roots Diktamo in one of the most classic cocktails of our times, the Negroni, where combined with the other ingredients brings greater complexity to this timeless classic."
VII Hills Gin brand ambassador, former Roots London brand ambassador
"Fantastic amaro style liqueur from Greece. It can be a fantastic ingredient for your house negroni with lively diktamo notes.
I like it to drink on its own after a meal or shake it in to a coupette as an aperitif style:)