An iconic French bitter aperitif, made primarily with orange, Picon Amer is surprisingly difficult to get hold of outside of its home country.
This bitter drink was first created in 1837 in Algeria, then a French colony, by cavalry sergeant Gaetan Picon. Amer is French for bitter, and this drink is very similar to Italian Amari.
Amer Picon is made with both dried and fresh orange peels, which have been steeped in neutral alcohol before distillation. Separate macerations of gentian and quinine are also made, with the distillates then blended with sugar and caramel.
The final result is a fruity, orangey liqueur with bittersweet herbal notes, and touches of sharp quinine.
Like many drinks created at the time, Amer Picon was considered a tonic which could ward off malaria.
The classic Picon serve matches the aperitif with grenadine, soda and orange, but these days it is mixed widely, especially with lighter beers. It is excellent as a base for highballs.