Last week, I first reported that a new wine and liquor store would be opening on 5th Avenue between 1st and Garfield, in the space last occupied by boutique Lucia. It will be called Amaro, and owner (and 10-year park Slope resident) Steve Fromhart talked to Park Slope Stoop about what we can expect.
It's a fairly lengthy interview, but here's a distillation (no pun intended): He'll be selling mostly wine, digestifs, and aperitifs. The wine will be predominantly from small producers, and will average $9 to $25 per bottle. The real point of differentiation will be the spirits component, though: he's focucing on herb-based digestivi and aperitivi like Aperol, Averna, Ramazzoti, Cynar, Campari, Fernet-Branca, and the like.
In Italy and other parts of Europe there's certainly a culture of drinking herb-based, bitter aperitivi (like Negronis) to stimulate the appetite before a meal, and medicinal-tasting digestivi (like Averna or Underberg) after a meal to help digest. Apparently he's planning on stocking about 75 of these spirits from 20 different countries, with more in the works.
I happen to be a big fan of Negronis, and even of Underberg in its tiny little bottles, but this is certainly a niche category. As previously established, though, wine and liquor stores tend to do quite well, and this could stand apart from the pack if it's one of only a few shops in the city selling some harder-to-find spirits. No word on whether he's planning on stocking staple liqours like vodka and rum, but if he doesn't he'll most likely end up confusing a lot of potential customers.