Cynar: Cocktails, Collectibles and History

by sockii

Cynar is a popular Italian bitter liquer, enjoyed both straight and in delicious cocktails.

Travel to Italy and you're sure to see Cynar behind most bar counters, along with other popular Italian bitter liquers. But have you ever tried Cynar for yourself? It's becoming increasingly popular with bartenders around the world and with cocktail enthusiasts looking for a new taste.

Cynar is made from a blend of thirteen different herbs and plants, with the most predominant being artichoke. Yes, that's right, it's an alcoholic drink made from artichokes! But don't let that deter you; if you enjoy herbal liquers that are unique and great for before or after-dinner drinking, then check out some of the Cynar cocktail recipes linked below. I've also included unique merchandise and collectibles related to Cynar perfect for Italian cocktail enthusiasts and collectors.

About Cynar

Cynar was first introduced onto the market in 1952, and is part of the Italian family of alcoholic beverages known as Amaro. Amaro is Italian for "bitter", and so these are all herbal liquers with a bitter flavor, typically enjoyed as an after-dinner "digestif".

Cynar is at the low range of alcohol content for an Amaro, only 16.5%, making it easy to drink even straight with its bittersweet flavor. It is made from a blend of 13 different herbs and plants, with the predominant one being the artichoke—hence its name (artichoke = Cynara scolymus) and distinctive label.

Cynar is especially popular in Italy, Brazil and Switzerland. However American bartenders and mixologists are increasingly discovering the delights of using Cynar in lots of different cocktail preparations.

Of course, you don't have to be an expert bartender to enjoy Cynar yourself. If it's too strong for you to drink straight, try mixing it simply with some sparkling water or club soda; it's a refreshing alternative to cola and similar in taste (to me) to a strong iced tea. In Switzerland and Germany, orange juice and Cynar is a common combination. You can also try it instead of Campari in classic cocktails like the Negroni or the Spritz.

Enjoyed either before or after dinner, Cynar is a lovely liquer and one all cocktail enthusiasts should be sure to give a try.

Cynar Cocktail Creations

Photos from Flickr to tempt your tastebuds...
Violet Hour
Violet Hour
Pouring Ribbons
Pouring Ribbons
Bourbon Cynar Sour
Bourbon Cynar Sour
This Cynar Julep is delicious!
This Cynar Julep is delicious!
Toast Cleveland
Toast Cleveland

Cynar Cocktail Recipes

Want to try mixing with Cynar at home? Here are some creative and classic Cynar cocktail recipes

Cynar Collectibles and Merchandise

Items available from eBay and Amazon

Cynar Ashtrays

Perfect for collectors and fans, even if you don't smoke!

Cynar Posters

Vintage and new art, great for framing and hanging in your home bar or office

Learn More About Italian Bitters (Including Cynar, of Course!)

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas

The European tradition of making bittersweet liqueurs--called amari in Italian--has been around for centuries. But it is only recently that these herbaceous digestifs have moved...

View on Amazon

Classic Cynar Television Advertisements

Italian television ads for Cynar featuring Ernesto Calindri were key in building the brand's lasting popularity in the country. Enjoy some of them today thanks to YouTube!

Updated: 01/31/2017, sockii
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sockii on 04/14/2015

I first tried it in a cocktail a couple years ago and found it quite interesting; I tend to prefer bitter to sweet flavors and so Cynar is right up my alley.

AngelaJohnson on 04/14/2015

I learned something new! I've never heard of cynar. I don't drink much and then only wine, but if someone offers me a drink with it, I'll give it a try.

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