This amaro alternative adds a dose of cannabis to an after-dinner concoction.

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Fernets and amaro are a huge part of my family’s culture. After dinner, shot glasses and espresso cups are filled with dark, potent liquids, lemon twists are expressed, and the nuts and fruits come out before the dessert.

This social pause in between courses is to allow for digestion, conversation and space to eat more tasty treats. The liqueurs served are therefore referred to as digestifs or digestivo.

Amari (the plural of amaro) is a broad term for herbal liqueurs, usually from greater Italy. Other Mediterranean countries have their own versions, like French pastis and absinthe.

Considering the base of this liqueur is an herbal blend that varies by region and tradition, why not incorporate another herb — cannabis — into this mix.

Bella D’herba Amaro

Makes 1 liter of finished product; 10mg THC per 1-ounce serving estimated

1 bundle washed dandelion

1 bunch mint

4 star anise pods

Peel of two lemons

10 green cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

⅓ cup bay leaves

1 teaspoon achiote seed

1 whole nutmeg

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

2 tablespoons lemon thyme

1 tablespoon dried marjoram

2 bags 7 blossoms tea

1-inch piece of ginger

3-4 strawberries

3.5 grams of finely ground decarboxylated cannabis

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

1 liter neutral spirit like vodka


I would recommend infusing these herbs individually as well as a blend, so you can easily customize a formula, take notes and fine-tune it over time.

Put the greens in a large jar and mash with a muddler. Pour enough vodka to cover and then add the other ingredients. You’ll want to smash the seeds and dried leaves slightly to allow them to infuse better, but don’t chop too fine or over-process for best results and easier straining.

Store in a dark corner for 1-4 weeks, tasting for your desired potency after each week and giving it a good mix every day. You can also add to the mix if you want to during the infusing time, but you won’t know what the finished product would have tasted like. I recommend infusing individual ingredients separately as noted above (that goes for the herb, too).

When you have what you are looking for, strain the solids out. Prepare a dark simple syrup by bringing the sugar and water to a boil and simmering until the sugar takes on a deeper caramelized tone. Add a portion of the syrup to the liqueur, 1 ounce at a time since it will be rich. You can continue to age it, or just start to enjoy it.

Serve neat with a lemon twist.

This DIY recipe gives you a one-time product and hopefully a long-term obsession.


This recipe is courtesy of The Fresh Toast, a lifestyle/entertainment site with a side of cannabis. The Seattle Times is running occasional light lifestyle items from this site. For related recipes, news, features and pop culture, visit The Fresh Toast.