Amaro flows freely at acclaimed Pittsburgh restaurant DiAnoia’s Eatery.
Heather Perkins, amaro aficionada and DiAnoia’s bar manager, serves over 20 different types of the bitter Italian herbal liqueur. She describes the subtle Montenegro as a “gateway” amaro, and says the dark and rich Amaro Sibilla is the perfect way to “wrap up a meal.”
DiAnoia’s is open all day. For breakfast, one might try the Shakerato, a combination of double espresso and a choice of housemade limoncello, sambuca, or amaretto. Later in the evening, there are amaro-centric (of course) creations, like an Amaro New Fashioned made with Nonino, Nardini, burnt orange, and cherry.
We caught up with Perkins to hear about her first legal drink (not amaro, surprisingly), and why there’s one bottle on her shelf she won’t be drinking anytime soon.
1. What’s your desert-island drink?
Painkiller. I would pay all the soggy dollars for endless Painkillers.
2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
I was in college in Davis, Calif., barbacking my way through school. I believe it was a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a shot of Jameson. That order continued for quite a few years.
3. FMK three cocktails: Negroni, Margarita, Manhattan?
F*ck: Margarita; marry: Negroni; kill: Manhattan.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your final drink?
Damn, I sure hope my crimes have at least granted me a death row meal to pair. Meaning a beautiful bottle of vino, something well structured and sexy, not too expensive but well looked after.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
Luca’s Bar in Bassano del Grappa, Italy. One, I’d be in Italy. Two, they have everything you need in the way of proper booze and music, and three, it’s just a bar run by rad ladies who give no f*cks. My kinda place.
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
Best: Braulio Riserva Speciale Amaro 2013.
Worst: Jeppson’s Malort (I imagine it will live there for quite some time).
7. What cocktail will you never order again?
Long Island Iced Tea. Got to enjoy a fabulous one at the Golden Cadillac in New York back in the day. Figure I should quit while I’m ahead. Although the staple Pittsburgh bar, Lefty’s, right down the road offers all-day $4 Strong Islands. What could go wrong?