White Whales: Amer Picon

The book Vintage spirits and forgotten cocktails lists Amer Picon as one of the great missing ingredients.  There are a number of cocktails that rely on this bitter orange flavored aperitif.

It is produced in France by the house of Picon.  In the last several decades they have reformulated the Amer Picon repeatedly, reducing the ABV to almost half of the original 78 proof.  It is regional, seldom and sporadically exported.

For a liqueur with such a renowned history it’s odd that they seem to have done everything possible to reduce it’s popularity.  It is almost impossible to locate the actual Picon itself in the US.  Several people have at times produced replicas of varying quality.  One of the most commonly referenced is Torani Amer.

Produced by the venerable syrup producer of San Francisco this is one of their few products that contains alcohol.  As such it tends to be almost invisible on their website and attempting to buy it from the company is almost impossible.  At a recent Food and Beverage show the Torani rep didn’t even know if they still produced it.

At 78 proof it does show up in the oregon liquor search with about 12 locations in the state.  I was actually stunned to see it on the shelf on a recent trip and was reminded to put it on my future shopping list next to Campari and Apreol.