Invented in 1837 by Gaetan Picon, Amer Picon is flavored with oranges, gentian and chinchona. Currently not imported into the United States (as of 1/2011), there are two common types: Picon 'Club' (seen in the picture) and Picon "Biere", meant to be mixed into beer. Amer Picon is famous in the Basque region as the main ingredient in Picon Punch.
Where Amer Picon is unavailable:
- David Wondrich recommends Amaro CioCiaro,
- Bittermens Amere Nouvelle, and
- Jamie Boudreau has concocted “Amer Boudreau” from Ramazzotti, orange tincture, and Stirring Blood Orange Bitters.
Amer Picon is dark brown in color, with a strong topnote of candied sweet orange and a counterbalancing dusty-bitter punch. The bitterness is strongly root-like. Interestingly enough, the empty tasting glass smells strongly of cola, more Pepsi than Coca-Cola. While Amer Picon has some sweetness (it's 36 proof), the citrus and bitter aspects provide a good sense of balance.
Some popular cocktails containing Amer Picon
- The Grand Wazoo — Gin, Herbal liqueur, Amer Picon
- The Elves and their Antics — Genever, Cardamaro, Amer Picon, Bénédictine, Orange peel
- Bushwick — Rye, Sweet vermouth, Amer Picon, Maraschino Liqueur
- Amer Picon "Pouffle" Fizz — Amer Picon, Bitters, Club soda, Grenadine, Egg white
- Bitter Temptation — Rye, Sweet vermouth, Jamaican rum, Cynar, Amer Picon, Orange liqueur, Peychaud's Bitters, Bitters, Absinthe
- Vieux Pentagone — Pineapple rum, Bourbon, Sweet vermouth, Falernum, Amer Picon, Bitters
- French way — Gin, Amer Picon, Suze, Dry vermouth, Bitters
- Brooklyn Cocktail — Rye, Dry vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur, Amer Picon, Maraschino cherry
- A Six for a Nine — Añejo rum, Falernum, Bénédictine, Amer Picon, Bitters, Orange peel
- Creole Cocktail — Whiskey, Sweet vermouth, Amer Picon, Bénédictine
Ted Haigh suggested Torani Amer as well. I just ordered some online. Down side is I have never had the pleasure of Amer Picon so I won't have anything to really comapre to. I will simply trust in the "Doctor".
I have them both, and they're somewhat similar. The Torani is much less bitter and more of a candied orange fruit profile than the Amer Picon, though it is higher proof. Amer Picon is much more gentian (earthy, root-like), and more bitter. It's like the difference between Bitter Truth Orange and Angostura Orange, with the Bitter Truth being Amer Picon.
I was on vacation in Australia and found a sole bottle of Picon Biére lying on the shelves in one of the local spirits shops in Sydney which I quickly grabbed and brought back. Can I use Picon Biére in cocktails (specifically Brooklyn) or is it just for use with beer? -Matt
If I remember them correctly, you might want to stiffen the Picon Biere with some source of gentian to use it as a sub for Amer Picon. Thanks, Zachary