I love the bar at Bäco Mercat in downtown Los Angeles. The ambiance is fun, the food is amazing, the bartenders are friendly, and their spirit selection is pretty much unparalleled. I love their home-made Bäco Pop, a series of surprisingly-flavored sodas, so I was very happy to taste it alongside one of my favorite Italian amari in a lovely little cocktail I like to call the Monte-Bäco.

Having spent a lot of time in Bologna, I have a particular weakness for the city’s trademark amaro, Amaro Montenegro.  It’s subtle, feminine floral notes are coated in molasses, citrus rind and bitter chocolate.  I love the very slight sweetness, finished with a touch of licorice bitterness.

When paired with the sweet, spicy freshness of the Ginger-Orange-Juniper Bäco Pop, the Montenegro was elevated to greatness.  At General Manager Daniel Flores‘ insistence, the final touch was a twist of lemon peel, which took the whole thing over the top.

Like a perfect teen pop star, the Monte-Bäco  is fresh, hip, super spicy, and balanced with just a touch of sweetness.