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Amaro Nonino Substitute: What To Use Instead

Are you on the hunt for an Amaro Nonino substitute? You’ve come to the right place! We have a whole list of substitutes below. Find one that fits your needs and, of course, your budget. 

This liqueur is a bit difficult to find, and partly because of that, it is quite expensive. What do you do if you can’t get your hands on it? Well, that’s easy – you look for an alternative.

Tall glass filled with Amaro Nonino and ice.

What Is Amaro Nonino?

To understand what Amaro Nonino is, we must first discuss what an Amaro is. Amaro is the Italian word for bitter.

It is an alcoholic drink made with either wine or other spirits infused with herbs and spices. Understandably, it can be bitter, hence the name. 

Amaro Nonino is an intoxicating drink at 35% alcohol by volume (ABV). For reference, vermouths are at 18% ABV at the most.

This liqueur is packaged in transparent glass like an old pharmacy bottle. It can be taken on the rocks or added to cocktails.

History of Amaro Nonino

Amaro Nonino is one of many kinds of Amari (plural for Amaro). It originated from the 1984 ancient recipe of Antonio Nonino. His children recreated it using grappa as the base in 1992. This move gave birth to the Amaro Nonino Quintessentia® we know today.

In 2021, it won the Chairman’s Trophy in the Amaro category. It is the highest award in the Ultimate Spirit Challenge (USC). USC is one of the most prestigious spirits competitions worldwide. The following year, 2022, Amaro Nonino Quintessentia® Riserva bags the same award. 

No one knows the exact ingredient list, as the recipe for this prized beverage is closely guarded. What is known is that it is aged for a minimum of 12 months in oak barriques and ex-sherry casks. 

What Does Amaro Nonino Taste Like? 

The Amaro Nonino taste is exquisite and complex. It is bittersweet, with notes of vanilla, thyme, and honey. The flavors of orange, mango, allspice and pepper are also present. The aftertaste is that of cocoa. Some even say that they get hints of apricot and caramel.

Meanwhile, its aroma is described by USC as a heady integration of chamomile and orange. That was quite a mix of flavors, right? Yet, this unique combination gives it that distinct taste sought-after worldwide.

Uses of Amaro Nonino

1. As an Ingredient in Cocktails 

The most notable use of Amaro Nonino is its inclusion in the modern classic cocktail, Paper Plane. This cocktail mixes bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, and lemon juice. It became an instant hit and is served in popular bars, including those that are in New York. 

Other cocktails also benefit from the bittersweet flavor of Amaro Nonino. This liqueur is also part of Busted Pipe, along with bourbon and Luxardo cherries. Amaro Nonino is also added to negroni to make negronino.

2. As a Digestif

Amaro Nonino is also consumed as a digestif. A digestif is an after-dinner drink meant to aid digestion. The herbs and spices on Amaro Nonino specifically work to this end.

It is worth noting that a digestif is more popular in European countries, like France and Italy. This is because they usually have multi-course dinners. As a digestif, you can drink Amaro Nonino with chocolate or tiramisu.

3. As a Flavor Enhancer

You can also add this alcoholic drink to ice cream or baked goods. It lends a complex flavor and elevates the taste of your dessert. 

Best Amaro Nonino Substitutes To Try

1. Amaro Averna

When looking for a substitute for Amaro Nonino, it is best to grab another Amaro. Amaro Averna has a flavor profile as it also has notes of caramel and citrus. But it comes with a lower alcohol content.

This particular Amaro has 29% ABV and is made using the same process as Amaro Nonino.

It can replace Amaro Nonino as an ingredient in cocktails and as a digestif. This is one of the top substitutes for Amaro Nonino.

2. Amaro Montenegro 

If Amaro Averna is still too strong for you, don’t fret. You can opt for Amaro Montenegro as an Amaro Nonino substitute. With just 23% ABV, it is quite a jump from Nonino’s 35% ABV. 

You should note that Amaro Montenegro is sweeter. This change in sweetness is bound to give you a different experience.

The citrus flavor is also not as pronounced here, even when made using the same process as Amaro Nonino. 

This can be a welcome variation, especially if the flavor of Amaro Nonino is not something you adore. 

3. Amaro Tosolini

Yet another excellent alternative to Amaro Nonino is Amaro Tosolini. This Amaro has 30% ABV, which does not stray away from Amaro Nonino that much. Yet, it has a more evident citrus taste.

If you like fruity flavors, Amaro Tosolini is perfect for you. Be warned, though, that it has a much darker color, which can affect the appearance of your cocktail.

Plus, like Amaro Nonino, Tosolini is difficult to find, so it is not the most accessible option.

4. Amaro Ramazzotti

Another Amaro that can replace Amaro Nonino is Amaro Ramazzotti. The bitterness and the herbal flavor will still be there. The most prominent flavor here, though, is citrus, particularly oranges. 

This liqueur has 30% ABV, which is pretty close to the ABV of Amaro Nonino. That said, you’ll almost have the same intensity as Nonino, making it a good alternative. 

5. Cynar

By its name, you’ll know the primary ingredient of this drink. Yes, artichokes (Cynara cardunculus var. Scolymus) are what make up most of cynar.

You’ll not get the feeling of drinking liquid artichokes. Rather, it tastes of cinnamon, caramel, oranges, and bitter chocolate.

When it comes to the alcohol content, cynar only has 16.5% ABV. It is a bit far from Amaro Nonino, but it does a great job if you want something lighter. 

It’s a great digestif, too, plus it can blend seamlessly well in cocktails. 

6. Meletti Amaro

Amaro Meletti is another digestif that can take the place of Amaro Nonino. As it is another Amaro, you can expect that it is also made with herbs and spices. It also has a bittersweet taste with hints of citrus and caramel. 

What goes exactly into Meletti Amaro is also unknown, as it is a Meletti family recipe. It has 32% ABV, just slightly shy of what Amaro Nonino offers. This makes it a nice substitute option. 

7. Jägermeister

Jägermeister is a thick, syrup-like digestif. Like Amaro Nonino, it has 35% ABV. It is a complex blend of flavors, and the herbal notes are hard to miss. Yet, the most prominent taste here is that of anise.

That said, you can expect the licorice flavor to shine here more. This might be an issue if, like most people, you dislike black licorice and its taste. 

Plus, its thicker consistency might cause some texture differences in cocktails. You might need to adjust the other ingredients to compensate for this. 

8. Gammel Dansk

Its similar color makes Gammel Dansk a great substitute for Amaro Nonino. This Danish liqueur is also a known digestif. Be warned that it comes with a slightly higher ABV than Amaro Nonino, as it has 38%. 

Also, with Gammel Dansk, you’ll get juniper and clove flavors. The licorice and peppery tastes will still be there, too, though. 

This is best if you want something stronger with a different flavor profile.

9. Vermouth

If liqueurs do not appeal to you, you can try using vermouth instead. Unlike Amaro Nonino, Vermouth is a fortified wine. 

Yet, like liqueurs, vermouth has a note of sweetness too. For this reason, it can replace Amaro Nonino in some cocktails. 

There are two kinds of vermouth – sweet and dry. Dry vermouth is an aperitif, while the sweet type is a digestif. 

For this reason, dry vermouth is a better option for an Amaro Nonino substitute. Vermouth is generally more affordable than Amari. This makes it a more viable option for those with limited budgets. 

You must know, though, that it comes with a much lower ABV. It is a wine, after all. Most Vermouths have 18% ABV at the most. 

10. Chartreuse

This French liqueur hails from the Chartreuse de Paris monastery. The recipe is also a secret one, guarded by the monks. It was originally meant to be a medicine during the cholera pandemic. Unsurprisingly, it has 130 herbs geared toward better digestive health. The plant extracts in Chartreuse give it its natural color and intense flavor. 

This liqueur makes an excellent digestif you can take instead of Amaro Nonino.

When it comes to cocktails, you can expect a change in appearance. And you should also be aware that Green Chartreuse has 55% ABV, and yellow has 40%. Either way, they are stronger than Amaro Nonino. 

11. Bonal Gentaine Quina

Unlike Amari, Bonal Gentaine Quina is an aperitif. An aperitif is the before-dinner counterpart of a digestif. Aperitifs are meant to encourage appetite and condition the stomach for food.

Rightfully so, Bonal has earned the nickname “ouvre l’appétit,” which translates to “the key to the appetite.” 

When it comes to taste, think of a cross between sweet vermouth and Amari. This has herbs like chinchona and gentian, but it also comes with cherries and plums. Its most notable ingredient is quina, which is responsible for its very bitter flavor.

With 16% ABV, this can replace Amaro Nonino in cocktails if you want something lighter. But, if you’re looking for another digestif, you should skip this. 

12. Angostura Bitters

The Angostura Bitters were also first made to relieve stomach ailments. Yet, unlike other bitters, these are also marketed as flavor enhancers. 

In 1960, the company released “The Secret of Good Taste: The Angostura Cookbook.” This gave people the idea that bitters are not only great with cocktails but are also great when added to food. 

There are three kinds of Angostura Bitters:

  • Aromatic Bitters – 44.7% ABV
  • Orange Bitters – 28% ABV
  • Cocoa Bitters – 48% ABV

Because of their extremely bitter nature, they are not usually taken on the rocks. Instead, they are best added to mixed drinks or, yes, food! For this reason, they are not perfect replacements for an Amaro Nonino as a digestif taken by itself. 

13. Fernet

Another Italian bitter, Fernet, can also be a great substitute for Amaro Nonino. It is also made with herbs and spices, so the flavor profile is not too far. The most significant difference is that this Fernet is usually stronger than Amari. It has 45% ABV at the most. 

Because of this, it makes a perfect substitute when used in cocktails. Be cautious when taking it on the rocks, as you may feel intoxicated faster than if you’d taken an Amari. 

14. Aperol

Aperol’s bitter taste makes it another viable Amaro Nonino substitute. It has a strong orange flavor with a hint of vanilla. 

This makes a great addition to cocktails in place of Amaro Nonino. Aperol is also an ingredient in the famous Amaro Nonino cocktail, the Paper Plane. 

Yet, it is an aperitif with a bright orange color and 11% ABV. That said, it might not be suitable if you are looking for a digestif replacement. 

Plus, this might change the color of your cocktail to a brighter hue. 

15. Campari

Campari is a well-known aperitif. It tastes woody, has a bittersweet orange flavor and comes in a vibrant red color. Campari has 28.5% ABV at the most, so you can expect it to be lighter than Amaro Nonino. Yet, it also contains clove, cinnamon, and cherry notes, so it can blend well in cocktails. For this reason, it is a great alternative to Amaro Nonino.

16. Chinotto 

Unlike other alternatives on this list, Chinotto is non-alcoholic. This is perfect for those looking to reduce alcohol intake. It is made from Chinotto oranges and tastes like bitter orange juice. 

The herbal note is also present, which makes it taste similar to Amaro Nonino. Chinotto can be enjoyed as a digestif or added to cocktails, too. Expect a different experience, though, as this is a carbonated drink.  

What is a Non-Alcoholic Substitute For Amaro Nonino?

Chinotto is a non-alcoholic, carbonated drink that can replace Amaro Nonino in cocktails. 

Is Amaro Nonino Gluten-Free?

Since Amaro Nonino’s ingredients are unknown to the public, we cannot say for sure if it is gluten-free. The FDA says that all distilled alcohol is gluten-free upon distillation. The issue is that ingredients that contain gluten can be added after distillation.

Why Is Amaro Nonino So Expensive?

What makes Amaro Nonino expensive is its rarity. No one makes Amaro Nonino other than the Nonino Family. As a result, limited bottles are produced. The supply can barely keep up with the demand, driving higher prices. 

What Amaro Is Closest To Amaro Nonino?

The closest Amaro to Nonino is Amaro Averna. It has the same flavor profile, and it’s also a digestif. Amaro Averna is just a few notches down in ABV, but it is the best Amaro Nonino substitute.


Amaro Nonino has a complex flavor profile. Yet, other unique beverages can replace it if you find the bottle empty. The best options are alternative Amaro liqueurs, as they have similar flavors.

If you want to go alcohol-free, the go-to substitute is Chinotto. Lighter alternatives also include Amaro Montenegro, Cynar, and Aperol. However, if you want more kick, then go for stronger ones. Your options are Chartreuse, Angostura Bitters, and Fernet, among others. 

For just the same ABV, go for Jägermeister. 

If the color of your cocktail is important to you, avoid Chinotto, Campari, and Gammel Dansk. They come in different hues that will affect the appearance of your drink. 

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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