Cynar is a bitter Italian tropical liqueur distilled from artichokes, which gives it its unique flavor. It's also traditionally served with ginger ale or seltzer water to take away some of the bitterness. Bartenders are using this in cocktails more and more these days, because when used correctly, it can add depth to both sweet and savory drinks. It can be used in cooking as well, but if you're using it for a recipe make sure to purchase the right kind of Cynar. There are several different flavors available so read labels carefully before buying.
How to drink it
So how should cynar liqueur be consumed? According to bartenders it cannot be consumed neat because of its strong flavor, and instead is used mostly in mixes and cocktails.
Some cocktails made using cynar include:
Cynar Cola - Cynar, cola and a lemon twist.
The Italian Job with Cynar - A "twist" on the classic Negroni cocktail with this liqueur instead of gin.
Saint Joan's Revenge - Made using cynar liqueur. It is a play on a Bloody Mary but it uses marinated artichoke hearts in place of the tomato juice to add an unexpected flavor combination for this savory drink.
It can be used in cooking as well. Adding some into meat sauces will give them that extra bitter touch which perfectly accompanies fatty flavors like butter or olive oil. This is because artichokes are actually low carbohydrate vegetables so they have very little impact on blood sugar and can be used in a low-carb diet.
It's versatile, it's tasty and bartenders just love to use it. However, if you decide to use this bitter liqueur, whether on its own or in one of these classic cocktails that have been around for decades, it is definitely worth having in your bar. It can be used as an alternative for gin when making a martini cocktail too so there are lots of options open to you with this drink.
Why you should drink it
Why you should drink cynar is because it's a liqueur you don't necessarily see all the time, but is well worth adding to your collection if you are an avid cocktail drinker. It also offers health benefits such as being a digestive aid, helping to reduce nausea and being good for the heart.
Cynar is also great because it can be used in cooking. You can substitute it for rum or put it into marinades to give them an earthy flavor. You should drink cynar if you are looking to try something new but don't want anything too crazy; this liqueur will definitely get people talking about your drinks when they taste how delicious the cocktails are. So, whether you're just trying out some of these recipes at home on yourself or having guests over who love their food with a little bit more bite, using it instead of other liquors is sure to go down well with all involved parties.
The history of Cynar
The history of this liqueur is a rather interesting one that is filled with many twists and turns, but at its current place in the market it has a lot to offer. It was first introduced in Italy in 1952 and was created by the co-operative of artichoke growers called Cynar. Its main markets are across Europe, with larger shares coming from Italy and France where it is often enjoyed as a digestif after meals (and sometimes during).
Its origins go back way before its creation in 1952 by Italian distiller Angelo Dalle Molle who wanted to create an artichoke-based liqueur that would have a unique flavor unlike other spirits at the time due to being made from wormwood extracts rather than the usual ingredients.
Interesting facts about Cynar
It is one of the main ingredients in classic cocktails such as The Negroni and Americano which are both well-known drinks created by bartenders.
You should aim for around 20-30 mls per drink but if you want something bigger then it can be mixed with up to 50 mls, however this will bear more alcohol content so please be careful when drinking, especially if you've just started out.
Often referred to as an acquired taste due to its bitter, herbal flavours it is still consumed worldwide today and has become popular in the world of mixology.
Cynar can be used just like any other liqueur or spirit that's for drinking on its own or mixing with other drinks such as cocktails. It works great when mixed into a classic negroni made up of gin, vermouth rosso and campari which are all Italian ingredients themselves.