Amer Picon

This is a post that I’d started several weeks ago, but just hadn’t had the time to finish. I apologize for the delay.

Several months ago, after a visit to Zig Zag, the boys there took pity on me as they observed me pining away (yet again) after a bottle of Amer Picon that they had prominently displayed in order to intrigue the recreational bar fly, and infuriate/frustrate the devote barkeep (i.e. me). After months of wistfully wishing that I had developed the fan base that Murray Stenson had acquired from God knows how many decades of bartending in Seattle, (yes Murray, that was a dig; get your own blog and respond), enabling him to acquire countless obscure spirits whenever one of his regulars goes on vacation, he decided to throw this old dog a bone, and give me one of his bottles (and yes, there are many) of Amer Picon. (Is it just me, or was that last sentence way to long?)

After peeing in my pants, jumping up and down with glee, and giving the staff strict instructions not to touch the bottle until I had photographed and tasted it, I settled down to decipher the liquid gold that was in the bottle. What made it so special that it was named in dozens of cocktail recipes, and why wasn’t it available now?

After a little bit of research, I discovered that while I had no idea why distribution was pretty much limited to France, the recipe for Amer Picon had changed in the 1970’s. Rumor had it that the new Picon was a shadow of its former self, not only in flavor profile, but in proof as well. As I had really enjoyed the taste of the bottle so graciously procured for me, I began to fantasize (as I tend to do when thinking about the bars and spirits of yore) of old Amer Picon, aged, wizened and yet barrel-chested, daring all before him to challenge his greatness.

As I absolutely loved my cocktail experiments with the Amer, I decided that there was no way that I would allow myself to run out of this treasure. I needed to find a source for more, but how? I know of but one person in France, but he rarely comes to this continent, and having him ship bottles of booze from France to here can quickly become costly. So, in my booze-addled mind there was only one solution: make my own.

Step one in the process involved my acquiring some Torani Amer, which from what I understood was America’s answer to Amer Picon. Since I live in Washington, California and its wonderful online liquor stores came to the rescue.

Tasting the Torani next to the Picon immediately revealed that they were not the same beast. While Torani had a higher proof, which I enjoyed, it was more vegetal than orange on my palate, and not a good base from which to start my experiment. Having said that, let it be known that Torani Amer can be used in recipes calling for Amer Picon with pleasant results, albeit some adjusting will be needed in ratios and while the drink won’t be the same, they will still be darn tasty.

Another base was needed, so I looked to my shelf at my selection of Amaros. Montenegro would be too citrusy, Nonino too sweet, but Ramazzotti, with its orange and chocolate notes, would suit Goldilocks just fine.

Having tasted the Ramazzotti next to the Amer Picon, I noticed that the main difference was the lack of bold, complex orange flavors in the amaro. Figuring that orange tincture would fix the problem, I headed down to the cellar to acquire some of the orange tincture that I had in jars for just such an occasion. Adding it to the Ramazzotti, I realized that while it was really close, it was missing some complexity in the orange department. Looking around for different orange flavors, my eyes fell on a bottle of Stirrings Blood Orange bitters. Would it really be that simple? Apparently the answer was yes! I had discovered the Fountain of Youth, and it was to be bottomless.

Cut ahead to the Lost Ingredients seminar at Tales of the Cocktail. The seminar having just ended, I approached Ted Haigh, and introduced myself. We had first had contact years ago when he had asked me for a sample of my citrus bitters, but this was the first time that we had met face to face. I produced a sample of my Amer Picon, which had just been discussed, and his face lit up as he realized what I had.

“Someone get LeNell!”, he exclaimed as he tasted my amer. LeNell approached, and upon seeing my little bottle of Picon, procured, as she had just moments before with Dr. Cocktail, a hip flask which contained a sample of the original, pre-formula change, Amer Picon. A woman with these talents should be invited to every gathering!

Tastings ensued, with Ted, LeNell, Robert Hess and Paul Clarke giving the consensus that my Amer Picon was essentially identical to the original, with just slightly more sweetness.

Comments noted, when I arrived home, I set about adjusting my recipe, which I now present to you:


3 bottles Amaro Ramazzotti
7 ½ cups orange tincture
¾ bottle Stirrings Blood Orange bitters
¾ liter Evian

place all ingredients into a container and stir.
allow ingredients to get to know each other for at least one week.
filter and bottle.
keep excess refrigerated.


take any size jar, and fill it half way with dried orange peel.
fill remainder of jar with high-proof vodka (I use Smirnoff Blue Label)
let sit for one to two months
strain and filter

to shorten infusion time, shake three times a day and infuse for three to six weeks
high proof vodka extracts more flavor, so if possible, use Everclear and infuse for three weeks, then, after filtering, add water to bring down the proof.

My current favorite drink happens to be a creation of mine that uses the Amer Picon. Sort of a cross between a Creole and a Brooklyn, this is a cocktail that never fails to put me in my happy place.

For your drinking pleasure, I give you the:


2 oz Rittenhouse 100 proof bonded rye
1 oz Amer Picon
¼ oz maraschino liqueur
¼ oz Benedictine
stir and strain
garnish with orange twist if desired

Recipes and pictures by:
Jamie Boudreau



~ by Jamie Boudreau on September 9, 2007.

236 Responses to “Amer Picon”

  1. Nice post and nice pictures!
    Though the Nirvana has for my taste to many different liqueurs (if you call Amer Picon a herbal liqueur).
    And a really fantastic research (the whole story finding the original Amer Picon…)

  2. Opinionated:
    You should give the Nirvana a shot. Don’t think of the Amer Picon as a liqueur, think of it as a bitter that is balancing the sweet of the maraschino and Benedictine.
    I haven’t tried this with commercial Amer Picon (as I have none left), so I’m not sure on how it would hold up.

  3. So without sitting down and doing the math, which makes my head hurt, is the primary difference between this recipe and the one I ran in Imbibe the addition of Evian? Or did you adjust the proportion of tincture to the rest of the mix?

  4. Do you think this recipe would hold up in reduced quantity? I’d like to try it with one bottle.

  5. Paul:
    Main difference: less Stirrings (means less sweet), added water.

    It will totally hold up if you keep the quantities the same. My first attempt was a small, two bottle batch.

  6. […] Amer Picon « […]

  7. Jamie LOVE your blog, your recipes and your way of working very nice! LeNell and I have been talking also about Amer Picon I have been analyzing it as well. I’ve been finding that a tiny amount of the Torani added into a formula adds a slight bitter edge that the Original Picon has ( i have a small amount of the original)

    It is just a shame that Diageao refused to promote Picon or relaunch it in it’s original form. There is so much continued interest in it that one would think they would consider it but again this is wishful thinking on my part. But some other defunct products are now returning to the market maybe the time is rite.


  8. I am definitely trying this. A few month’s back Ted made my boyfriend a Picon Punch with real Amer Picon and it was transcendent. Being able to have one of those again is too tempting to resist.

  9. Just got back from the store with my orange peel and some 190 proof neutral grain spirit.

    Just out of curiosity, why dried peel instead of fresh orange zest or orange oil?

  10. Tradertiki:
    Orange oil provides a different flavor profile, as does fresh orange zest. I’ve also found that when making tinctures and/or bitters one should always use dried products or the shelf life of the final product is GREATLY reduced.

  11. Hm, I think I now have a suitable use for my extra bergamot tincture 🙂

  12. This may just be the motivation needed to finally acquire the ingredients for creating Amer Picon. Maybe … it looks like I can actually special order that Amaro through the Pennsylvania system.

    I can’t recall if a source for Seville orange peel was in Imbibe or not; where do you get yours?

    Beautiful cocktail shot, as always.

  13. Interesting notes on the shelf life of products using fresh vs. dry spices.

    I make liqueurs like Nocino, Sloe Gin, and Limoncello with fresh ingredients all the time, and don’t particularly notice a shelf life problem. Are you talking about things that have been around for more than a year? Anything with organic materials is going to continue to evolve over time, the only way to stop that, is to distill.

    I do agree about the flavor profile differences, though.

  14. Rick — right here:

  15. Erik:
    In the past, I’ve found that occasionally, when fresh ingredients are used in tinctures/bitters, a organic film will form over a period of months. I don’t refrigerate either, though. To keep expenses down, I tend to use dried ingredients, as I won’t get a nasty surprise in two months time, and have to throw out product and start again.

  16. Just curious if the type of orange peel is important? You’ve listed Seville Orange peel (Citrus aurantium -Bitter Orange). Would regular dried orange peel work too? (Citrus sinensis – “sweet” orange).

  17. Nick:
    As I haven’t used that peel, I couldn’t say. If I were to hazard a guess, however, I would say that if you were drinking the Picon straight, you’d probably notice a difference, but if you are mixing it in a cocktail the difference would probably be imperceptible.
    Give it a shot, and let me know how it turned out.

  18. Hmm I really want to try this. Any idea where I can possibly get Amaro Ramazzotti? I live in the south (Alabama to be exact) and I have to drive to Mississippi to even get anything exotic. Do you think most liquor stores would order it for me?

  19. Kevin:
    I’m afraid that as I am Canadian, I don’t know anything about Alabama liquor stores or laws. Your best bet would be to phone your local liquor store and ask them if they will find this item for you. You might want to try one of the many online liquor stores that abound on the web as well.

  20. Jamie, what would you think about a version that used an alcoholic orange bitters (e.g. Regans’) rather than the non-alcoholic Stirrings, in order to cut the sweetness down a bit? Would that bring it more in line with the sweetness of the original Picon? Or perhaps a mixture of the two?

  21. Chuck:
    I needed to make the final batch less sweet, not more bitter. The solution to this was to a reduce the quantity of the Stirrings product in the recipe; I still wanted the “different” orange flavor for complexity.
    The recipe that I’ve posted has been adapted since we met in NOLA, and I feel that it reduced the slight sweetness that showed through when we tasted my old batch with the vintage. I had thought about adding the bitters, but the Stirrings solution has seemed to work.

  22. […] Boudreau breaks down Amer Picon and provides his recipe for this ‘lost ingredient’ in ‘Amer Picon’. Make your own, then go back and make Paul’s punch; you won’t regret […]

  23. Thanks very much for the recipies for the Amer (which Chuck has taken to calling “Amer Boudreau”, love it) and the Nirvana! Both are outstanding.

    This weekend, I bottled my first attempt at your Amer recipe, and overall I like it a lot. I feer I may have messed it up a bit, though; I could not find true Seville orange peel and so used a dried bitter orange peel purchased from a local, high-quality and well-regarded Asian herbal medicine shop. Seems like a great product (the peels are *whole*, not grated or even chopped at all, and seem to be almost entirely zest with little or no pith. The problem is that I think they are “aged” and seem to have a bit of a funky, musty smell about them that was definitely noticable in the tincture (made with 100 proof Smirnoff and the shake/1 month infusion method), though less so in the finished Amer. Could you provide a bit more in the way of description of what the end-result tincture is supposed to look/smell/taste like? Mine, at the end of a month infusion with daily shaking, was a VERY dark orange color — so dark that you could only see its orange tint by looking at held up against the light. Is this anything like it should be? My quest for actual Seville peels continues, and once found I’ll immediately start another tincture, but I’d like to know how far off my current batch is.

    Anyway, thanks again — I’m enjoying a Nirvana as I type this and it’s just great! An excellent use of “your” Amer, along with (if he’ll pardon the plug) Chuck’s Hoskins Cocktail.


  24. Mike S:
    Your final tincture should not be a dark color, but rather a light amber color. I’ve used a couple of different orange peels in the past and have never had that color before. Maybe dilute it with more vodka?

  25. Thanks. I’m sure it was the peels I used, I figured almost from the start that they were not right. Ah, well…start again! That is, if I can ever find the damn things.

  26. Jamie:
    I’m having a tough time finding dried seville orange peel, even here in new york city. I came to your recipe from a slightly different angle – it was printed on a handout of homemade bitters recipes I got from LeNell’s. The recipe on that sheet (credited to you of course) doesn’t specifically call for seville orange peel in the tincture, and just specifies “orange peel”. It does however call for I believe less blood orange bitters and instead some amount of fee’s orange bitters. Is this perhaps to balance out using a less bitter orange in the tincture? If I were to follow the recipe above, do you know a reliable online source for seville orange peel? Thanks!

  27. Hi,

    Where can one buy this stuff?

    • From Me! I’m willing to part with 8-10 bottles at the right price. Older juice from 90’s, 21%. Not selling individual bottles though.

      • Steve, How do I place an order with you for the AB?..I believe it can be shipped to New Jersey.

  28. Paul:
    It has come to my attention that one does not need to use Seville oranges, and that the bitter orange peel that I had purchased was probably not Seville after all (damn sales person!). Tenzing Momo sells orange peel (see Paul’s comment above)

    To the best of my knowledge Amer Picon is only available in parts of Europe. As to exactly where, I don’t know.

  29. […] 3/4 ounce Amer Picon (I used Jamie’s replica) […]

  30. The Amer Picon-recipe looks fantastic, I have to try… especially because my father-in-law gave me his old Danish cocktail recipe book from the 60ties – and it has a few delicious-looking recipes with amer picon.
    I just have a few questions before I get set and go:
    The best way of getting dried orange peel where I live (in Denmark) is in brew-your-own-beer shops where you’d typically get 100 grams of bitter curaçao peel.
    How much do you actually need for 7 1/2 cups of orange tincture – and would you guess that that kind of peel is o.k.?
    and btw. – how much does a canadian cup contain 🙂 ?
    oh and finally – am I right, did you downgrade the amount of Stirrings? If so, how much??

  31. Niels:
    1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
    When making tincture, fill the container half full with peel. Fill completely with alcohol. Seal.
    The recipe listed above is the final recipe.

  32. Jamie: A friend and I spied a bottle (the old formula) at the Cliff House in San Francisco about a year or so ago. We gave the young female bartender instructions as to how to make the drink and it turned out beautifully. Alas, my friend recently visited the Cliff House and the bottle was gone. I had heard some years back that, given the sizable Basque population in the Bay Area, Amer Picon used to be consumed in substantial quantities, hence the demand for a cheaper version i.e. Torani. Some months back, Eric Felten in the WSJ devoted a col. to Amer Picon. He remarked that Torani was an adequate substitute for the original. As one of your bloggers points out, it just ain’t so. I’ll try your recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

  33. […] Since I can be a complete doofus in person and especially in a public presentation, I invited three remarkably talented panelists to help flesh out the session. Erik Ellestad and I will cover the home enthusiast’s end, with examples ranging from simple but tasty infusions — that’s a boatload of Tequila por Mi Amante in the photo, soaking away in preparation to being poured for whoever shows up — to compound syrups (falernum! orgeat!) and house-made liqueurs such as Swedish punch; we’ll then kick it over to the pros: John Deragon from PDT in New York and Jamie Boudreau from … uh, his apartment in Seattle, I guess … who will cover house bitters, fat-washing and more complex ingredients such as Jamie’s vintage Amer Picon replica. […]

  34. […] along with finishing up a large batch of falernum and decanting nearly a gallon of Jamie’s Amer Picon replica that are also for the […]

  35. […] ounce Amer Boudreau (housemade Amer Picon replica, using Jamie Boudreau’s […]

  36. […] You can try to make it yourself using Jamie Boudreau’s recipe, Amer Picon. […]

  37. Jamie,

    Before commenting on this excellent article, I want to express my admiration for your inventive mixtures, for your wonderful photographs, and your interesting and fun blog posts.
    That said, I have to appologize ’cause I am a French person. And as a common French guy, I am living in France. This causes me a lot of troubles because most of the recipes you present in this blog involve ingredients that I cannot find here. However, there is an ingredient that I can buy as easily in France as you can buy Evian water in the U.S. This ingredient is called Amer Picon. Since I cannot find orange bitters, I sometime replace it buy Amer Picon (and sometimes by Angostura depending on whether the orange taste is essential or not). But Amer Picon is not exactly like an orange bitters. It is more like a bitter orange liqueur.
    Actually, Picon is mostly used in France in a similar way as crème de cassis is used in Kir or Kir Royal. I would say that at least 90% of Picon sold in France is eventually used in the so-called “Amer bière”, which is basically 3 to 6 cL of Amer Picon with 25 cL of cold lager beer. This beverage is very popular in the North-East of France and in Belgium.

    PS: let a thin slice of lemon float in your glass of Picon bière. Enjoy!

  38. […] than perfect in the Brooklyn. The best alternative for Amer Picon is generally considered to be Jamie Boudreau’s recreation, but if you don’t have the time to make that Ramazzotti works very nicely. The guys over at […]

  39. QAwPR4 gks72nf95mdHfLav1Xpu

  40. Jamie – I’ve made a batch of your amer picon replica, but I’m not sure if it needs to be refrigerated. Can you shed some light on this? Thanks!

  41. Fred:
    Given the amount of alcohol, I wouldn’t think so, but having said that, I’ve always kept it in the fridge, so I can’t speak from experience.

  42. I have an old bottle of amer picon. Yet I just can’t bring myself to open it to taste the difference. I do not know the proof of my amer picon, as there is not a proof labled on it. I’d love to know what the difference would be from picon amer of old and new plus the replica. Has anybody tasted the high proof to know the difference?

  43. Jeanette:
    read the article above and you’ll see the differences between the old, new and replica 😉

  44. I see the replica and the new. Then I re-read and found what I was looking for. The replica had an essentially the same taste with just a little more sweetness. I wondered how old the bottle was that he tasted, all it said was pre 1970’s. Not the actual year he had. I would love to know how old his bottle was. But, I will try the replica and not open my bottle : ). CHEERS

  45. Oh crud . . . I just put together two bottles of the Orange tincture, yet now I realize that I didn’t dry the orange peals first . . . Just pealed the oranges and threw the peals in. Is my tincture going to taste right or should I just dump it all down the drain and start over? PS – How much vodka is “7 1/2 cups”?

  46. Hi Jamie! I’m in the process of duplicating your recipe.. two questions:
    One, I picked up an 80 proof vodka instead of 100 proof. Do you think it will be the same result if I omit the Evian at the end?
    Two, have you experimented with using orange vodka instead of making the orange tincture? I was thinking that it may make things faster/easier.

  47. Roman:
    The result will be similar, but not the same as higher proof alcohol picks up more flavours than lower proof alcohol.
    Orange vodka is not the same as the tincture as the flavours are artificially produced and the color will not be the same. One also gets a touch of bitterness when using the tincture. Most orange vodka has a distinct sweetness to it.

  48. The tincture will taste different and your shelf life will not be as long as if you had used dried peels in the first place. Dried peels are fairly easy to purchase, and you shouldn’t have to be drying out your own.
    As for your next question: 7 1/2 cups = 7 1/2 cups. If you need to convert it to some other measurement (cL? L? oz? mL? quarts? pints?)then go to one of the many online converters that the web offers.

  49. Does anyboyd know how to date a bottle of amer picon? I have an old one but am getting conflicting statements on how old it is. I even went to diago, but they said it was from 1950’s via a 1960 advertisement.(Am not sure how that worked,) they wanted to trade me a couple of bottles of anything they made for it. Then I found a 1920’s advertisement that looked similar to my bottle. It says belgium on the bottle and it has a B 03 54 perforated on the lable. It looks like it was hand perforated. It also has the signature in a different place than other bottles I’ve seen and around where the oranges are and the g. picon is,, my bottle is again different. I am thinking it is like from barrel 03 or bottle 03 1854 since it has the belguim addy. It also had a lead ring around the top of the bottle. Anybody got any suggestions?

  50. Well since I used some fresh instead of dried orange peal, instead of tincture I got some nice vodka infusions going on. Apparently this doesn’t take very long as the vodka already has a nice fresh orangie flavor.

    As far as measurements I guess what I should have asked was how many cups are in a liter? But I can look it up, no biggie.

  51. Jay:
    As many photos of the bottle as you can give us will be necessary to judge.

  52. Dear Jamie,

    Please send me your e-mail address as this site won’t let me attach photo’s. I’d be happy to send you all I have.



  53. Jay: my email address can be found under Contact

  54. […] going to cut it in this drink, so set about creating Jamie Boudreau’s Amer Picon replica, Amer Boudreau. After steeping my orange peels in vodka I set off to pick up a bottle of Stirrings Blood Orange […]

  55. […] handful of folks out there with a sample of Bittermens mole bitters and/or Jamie Boudreau’s Amer Picon replica, I used these in the original incarnation, in place of the mescal and Averna, respectively. Try out […]

  56. […] back before we moved to Rhode Island. My plan was to make a small batch of Jamie Boudreau’s Amer Picon replica. Well, I’ve had the bottle for nearly a year, haven’t made the Amer Picon, and have […]

  57. Normally I would just give it a shot, but not having tasted Amer Picon I have little as a point of reference.

    Ramazzoti, Which I do not have access to, is a Medium Amaro, no? How would it differ from, say, Jaggermeister?

  58. Ian M:
    Unfortunately Jager and Ramazzotti have little relation. While they are in the same family, they are about as similar as Cabernet and Riesling. Ramazotti is no where near as sweet or viscous and has nice notes of chocolate and orange. Other available amaros such as Montenegro, Averna or Nonino don’t really match the flavor profile either.
    Good luck!

  59. Hey, there. I’ve made your Amer Picon replica, which is great stuff. I made a cocktail with it, recently, when a friend issued an Iron Chef style challenge to make drinks based on sage. I like what I came up with, and since a good deal of credit goes to he who reinvented the Amer Picon, I thought I’d throw it on here. Anyway, here is the Tenochtitlyn, as brooding and strange a drink as I’ve ever had:

    1 oz. Mezcal (unaged, I used Los Danzantes Mezcal Minero)
    2 tsp. Pedro Ximinez (PX) sherry
    1/2 tsp. Amer Picon replica
    2 fresh sage leaves

    Combine all ingredients, and muddle the sage leaves. Add an ice cube. That’s all.

  60. Matt P:
    An interesting concoction indeed!

  61. […] Picon such that drinks like the Picon Punch taste off using it,  making it worthwhile to mix up your own replica of the original, but that takes two months!  Regardless, the Hoskins was invented with the Torani […]

  62. […] At Spur, I’m a fan of David Nelson’s Pear Rum Swizzle, and Jamie Boudreau makes a fine Amer Picon replica. At Liberty, my favorite right now is a rhubarb liquor that I use for a punch which is mixed with […]

  63. Jamie,

    I realise this will only be a poor-man’s imitation of your picon, but how would using Ramazzotti and a dash or two of Angostura Orange bitters approximate in a cocktail like the Brooklyn?

  64. Richard:
    It will very very loosely approximate Picon. The drink will still taste good at any rate.

  65. […] So while waiting for the two month soak of my orange tincture to finish for a batch of DIY Amer Picon, I decided to experiment with summer […]

  66. Jamie – wondering if you bring this to Tini Bigs – would love to try your version. Am about to embark on making my own – with 1 bottle of Ramazotti – which looks like it yields 2 bottles of Amer Boudreau. Having done some research and some calculation it looks like your version nails the proof and flavor profile. Question – what other amaros did you try this with? (nonino?)

    jason (in seattle)

  67. …seems to have cut out one sentence….”nailed the proof when using 151 (gets you to 80 proof vs. original of 78) – why would you use lower proof vodka or water down the 151?

  68. Fantastic article and recipe. I’m completely intrigued and may just try it. One question before I get started: I may go for the quicker Everclear version of the orange tincture because I’m impatient like that, but you note to “add water to bring down the proof.” How much water would you recommend? I’ve never tasted an orange tincture before so I’d have no idea how to mix to taste. I worry I’d over dilute it, or not dilute enough. And do you add the water at the beginning of the process or the end?


  69. Where can I buy this drink in Australia.

  70. Steve:
    Bring down as much water as is needed to bring the proof down to 100 proof. Also, disregard the point that says add water after filtering and add the water to the Everclear before macerating: you’ll get more flavour that way.

  71. Jason:
    everything was done to taste as opposed to recipe. I rather have the product taste right than appear right on paper. I have tried this with all of the amaros available in WA and Ramazotti was the one that worked.

  72. I recently discovered your site and I am starting my orange tincture today and will try your recipe. I grew up partly in Bakersfield CA and I am hooked on Picon Punches. I usually buy Torani Amer from Wineglobe but I still have a bottle of Amer Picon that is all but drained to the last drop. My question is about the bitters. My local store does not have the Stirring, is it worth trying the Fells West India Orange Bitters? Also I understand the Stirrings is sweeter than most of the other orange bitters, I am not sure I want the extra sweet. Any advice appreciated on using other orange bitters.

  73. […] two solutions to this problem though neither is perfect. First you could make your own using the recipe created by world famous bartender and molecular mixologist Jamie Boudreau which those who have had […]

  74. Jay:
    I’m not familiar with Fells, so I can’t make a call on it. When I added the Stirrings, I wanted another orange flavour for complexity. I wasn’t looking for something bitter (or sweet for that matter). Stirrings fit the bill. It is also easily found on the web (and in most Safeway stores).

  75. Jamie,

    What are your thoughts on including the Amaro Ramazzotti in the Vodka Tinture to steep for a month or two or will that dilute it all too much? Perhaps that will add some additional complexity to the brew.

  76. […] talking! The amaro is great in combination with the chocolate, especially if you are using Amer Boudreau with it’s “jacked” orange component. And interestingly enough the bitterness of […]

  77. Jay:
    The recipe as listed almost exactly replicates pre-change Amer Picon

  78. Thanks for coming in and checking out my first attempt. I’ll try harder next time.

  79. Dear Jamie, If I use Everclear for my tincture do I add 20% water to cut it down to 80 proof? Thank you so much for taking the time to share this. John

  80. Sorry did not see your post to Steve. If you bring the proof down to 100 first doesn’t that slow the process down again. John

  81. Tasted the final product after two weeks “marrying” and Wow is it good! Very nice balance of several sweet orange notes with mild bitterness. Jamie, thanks for the recipe.

  82. John Cavanagh: Let it sit for a bit (a week) in the everclear and then add water for the last bit of maceration.

  83. Thank you, I already dropped it to 100 proof and will take it slow I have time. Do you have the most authentic recipe for Picon Punch by chance? John

  84. John:

  85. Thank you so much. Keep up the good work. John

  86. That photo is stunning! In case you’re wondering how someone sees a blog entry from a couple of years ago, I was reading Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari, followed a link in his glossary to Cocktail Chronicles’ falernum recipe, then a link from that page to here. I don’t know if you will read the new comments, but I’m glad I found your site. Great posts and beautiful photos!

  87. Forgot to add, I love the actual glass you used in the picture on this page. What you did with the lighting and color scheme really enhanced the beauty of the glass etching.

  88. I absolutely love Amer Picon and beer. It’s pretty much all I drank when I got to visit my friends in France. The problem is I live in NYC and it is no where to be found, or at least bought. I know of two bars that carry it (and it’s $$$), but I cannot get an answer from any liquor store, Beer craft stores, etc. on where to but it, or if it’s even imported here. If anybody knows, I would greatly apprecitae it. Thank you.

  89. Hi guys, feel real sorry for all of you in the States, just had 2 nice Nirvanas with real Amer Picon, have 3 more bottles out in the shed!! One of the advantages of living near France.
    All the best, Roy, Newquay, Cornwall, U.K.

  90. […] blog for he had re-created what is considered the closest thing to the original, calling it Amer Boudreau. Jamie is a mixologist I highly respect and he has kindly shared the recipe for everyone on his […]

  91. […] blog for he had re-created what is considered the closest thing to the original, calling it Amer Boudreau. Jamie is a mixologist I highly respect and he has kindly shared the recipe for everyone on his […]

  92. […] option is to use a homemade concoction called “Amer Boudreau”, developed by Seattle bartender Jamie Boudreau. It involves a bit of work, starting with a base of […]

  93. […] a comment » It took forever, but my homemade Amer Picon has finally finished.  Amer Picon, for the uninitiated or even merely “not geeky”, is […]

  94. […] This cocktail was created to feature the flavor of Torani Amer, an American version of the French bitter orange apéritif Amer Picon. Picon is more readily available in Europe, and while still a good product it’s a shadow of its former self. In the 1970s the makers of Amer Picon changed the recipe, dropped the proof by more than half, and sadly it doesn’t taste the same. (I’ve tasted some vintage Amer Picon, and that stuff is beyond extraordinary.) If you have one of the two current incarnations in Europe, Picon Bière or Picon Club, either is an acceptable substitute, but the best flavor comes from the Torani Amer (available via mail order from Beverages and More if you can’t find it locally) or from Jamie Boudreau’s recipe for home-made Amer Picon substitute which is informally known as “Amer Boudreau”. […]

  95. […] ounces Cruzan Estate Diamond Rum, 5 years old (or Cruzan Single Barrel). 3/4 ounce Amer Boudreau (or Torani Amer). 1/2 ounce green Chartreuse. 1/2 ounce […]

  96. […] (perfectly acceptable) substitute.  I went with the former, as I have two big bottles of homemade Jamie Boudreau-version replica to drink through – heaven help […]

  97. Have you made a Brut cocktail with this? Seems like your amer picon would match the stuff used in 1908.

  98. jpd:
    looks interesting, I’ll have to give it a try.

  99. […] Come as you are, stir & strain, and garnish with an orange twist. (source) […]

  100. […] is fairly rare and currently only available in a weaker reformulation so I usually reach for the Amer Boudreau when making drinks that call for it. Unusually in the Bushwick I actually think the original works […]

  101. Hey everybody
    My wife and I have a bottle (never opened) of the original “PICON” Amer Picon that is now about 30 years old. Does anybody have interest in this bottle?

  102. Hi Jamie, Thanks for the recipe; I’m in the late stages of making the tincture and can’t wait to taste the final results in a week or two. I’m curious whether your instruction to “filter and bottle” at the end has a specialized meaning, or whether I can just run the liquid through a strainer with cheese cloth and keep it in any clean glass container with a lid or screw top? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  103. Sam B:
    Cheese cloth is ok, coffee filter even better. And any clean lidded container will do.

  104. Are any of you familiar with the English summer drink Pimms? Well, a bootleg version of this can be made using Picon too. Simply mix 1 part Picon, 1 part gin, a dash of Cuarenta y Tres, top up with 2 parts Sprite, garnish with mint, and you have a very passable imitation of Pimms at half the price!!!

  105. […] does not hew to the flavor of the original.  Some devoted souls actually make their own based on a popular recipe from Jamie Boudreau that has been favorably compared to closely guarded caches of the original.  I go a different […]

  106. […] you bought! The orange zest will be used to make an Amer Picon facsimile using a recipe by Jamie Boudreaux and the green peppercorns will be used for making peppercorn flavored vodka. The coffee is to help […]

  107. […] a source or two. Current Amer Picon is supposedly not comparable to pre-1970 vintage Amer Picon. This recipe is supposed to be closer to the original. I just started my orange tincture yesterday […]

  108. I think I will have to make me some of this! Cheers!!

  109. […] Picon 1 oz sweet vermouth   Shake and strain.  Garnish with lemon twist.   I had to make my own Amer Picon, so I don’t if I got it right.  My end result was sort of boozy, bitter orangey, sweet […]

  110. […] since been sated. True, there’s still no Amer Picon on the shelf of my local liquor store, but easy work-arounds exist, so it’s been quite a while since I’ve found myself really stymied by a cocktail recipe that […]

  111. […] agreeable.  That said, I’m about to try making Amer Picon at home (thanks to Jamie Boudreau’s published recipe), so I’ll post an update once I’ve seen how that adds to the flavor of this […]

  112. Thanks for the recipe and great discussion.

    Once I find the dried Seville orange peels, I’ll be starting my batch.

  113. You have got to be kidding. I grew up on Picon Punch. I have tried Torani Amer and it is acceptable. But if Jamie is real I plan on making the “Amer Boudreau”. Now tell me you have had Picon Punch, please. And, where do you get the 1-2 lbs of dried orange peels to make the tincture? Do you really have to refrigerate the “Amer” after making it? Can it be stored in the cellar? I can’t believe you can make Picon Amer!

  114. CJ:
    I would keep it refrigerated, but so far my experience has shown that it’s not necessary.

    • Sweet orange peel or bitter orange peel? I was told that sweet orange peel doesn’t have the oils needed and to use bitter orange peel.

  115. CJ
    Use what you can find. Don’t use Seville

  116. I have 2 lbs of bitter orange peel on the way. Does the vodka type make a difference? Do you have a more precise recipe for the tincture? Also, I have the Amaro Ramazotti coming as well. I can’t wait.

  117. CJ:
    50 % ABV vodka is best. Tinctures are made with organic matter and in varying quantities so are done to taste. The higher the ratio of range to vodka, the faster the infusion.

  118. Would that be 100 proof? Since I’m trying to make close to the 7.5 cups of tincture in your recipe, I’m thinking 2lbs peel and 1.75 ltr of vodka. Am I on track?

  119. I have used Everclear for the tincture. Should I leave for 3 weeks? Should I squeeze the peels when I strain it? They have sucked up a lot of liquid. How much should I cut it? I need some direction, please.

  120. CJ:
    Add some water now to cut it. Don’t squeeze the peels. Strain from the peels when there is a strong orange flavour.

  121. Thanks Jamie. I will add water today. I am not sure how to tell a strong orange flavour. But I will try and follow the directions and suggestions from this blog. Will I lose a lot of liquid from the peels? The color right now is a very dark greenish orange. My Amaro Ramazotti comes in next week. Still need to find the Stirrings.

  122. Has anyone ever corked a bottle and put it in the cellar? I plan on making a large batch and storing like wine.

  123. Well, I mixed a batch last night and now will wait for everything to “get to know each other”. This recipe is very important to me since I grew up around Picon Punch, “Basque Punch”. Amer Picon had always been part of my family and then it is gone. Torani has done a good copy but unfortunately I have no access and Torani never communicates back with any information. I have tried for three years. So, Jamie’s recipe is very important.
    I have followed the recipe as best I can. First, the orange tincture. This one, single ingredient is the wild card. There is no standard for this part of the recipe. What I did was as follows:
    1lb. dried bitter orange peel. I purchased this thru my wholesale connections. I can get it on a regular basis if anyone needs some. I put the peels into a 1 gallon glass jar. The peels, which were chopped when I got them, filled the jar a 1/3. I added a 1.75l and a 750 ml of Everclear. This brought the level to about 2/3-3/4 full. After 10 days I filled the rest of the jar with water. The peels have now rehydrated and have expanded to 1/2 the jar.At first, the tincture was ugly but ended up a nice amber color. The end was 20 days, had a very, very strong orange flavor. Strained the tincture and then filtered it thru coffee filters which took a while since the filters clogged quickly. I used 6 filters for the entire jar. The result was exactly 10 cups of very nice amber clear orange tincture. 20 days in the jar!!
    Because I had cut the tincture after 10 days I felt that no more water was needed. Now, I have 10 cups of tincture so I increased the rest of the recipe proportionally:
    4 bottles Amaro Ramazzotti
    1 bottle (12oz) Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters
    1 ltr. bottled spring water.

    All of the ingredients were put into a 6 gallon glass carboy. I whirled the mixture for several minutes, put an airlock on top and put it into the cellar. The aroma is confusing at first, not what I remember of Amer Picon but I will give the recipe time to mature a bit. The color is Amer Picon. I am really hoping that this turns out as Jamie has described. Again, the wildcard is the tincture, did I make it correctly? Stay tuned.

  124. Day 5. I sampled the mixture. Very bitter and lots of orange residue. Too bitter for using because of the residue. I filter again using 5 layers of cheese cloth and then filtered again thru coffee filters. Seems much better but will wait a few days to see if the orange peel residue shows up again. As I suspected, the tincture is the wild card. As I mentioned in the recipe I used above, I used bitter orange peel rather than sweet orange and I didn’t have much detail from Jamie on this. I wish Jamie would give more detail on the tincture. And filtering seems to be very critical. The aroma is beginning to remind me of Amer Picon. Stay Tuned. Hey Jamie, are you out there? Feedback would be much appreciated, guidance is needed for all of us novice mixers.

  125. CJ:
    You seem to be on the right track. You are on your own now. I suggested that you don’t use bitter orange and Everclear, both ingredients that I don’t use so am unable to offer much more guidance at this point. Filtering is a pain when you don’t have a proper filter, that is true.
    Good luck.

  126. Jamie, I went ahead and used some clarifying agent, isinglass, to get rid of all the bitter peel residue. This seems to have do the trick. I will need to wait a week or so before I rack it to leave the sediment behind. The color is now much better and the clarity is starting to become pleasing. I will let you know how it comes out. As far as using bitter orange peel in the future, sweet orange (Seville) will not have the oil content that bitter does. If the isinglass works then I will use bitter peel again. Stay tuned.

  127. Here it is. The recipe is good. The wild card is the tincture. I researched many different orange liquors and all use bitter orange for their recipes. Why? The oils. The problem here is the tincture. A tincture brings out more oils and bitterness. My next tincture, I will use 2/3 dried bitter orange peels and 1/3 dried sweet orange peels and try to cut the bitterness down a little. The original Amer Picon is a bitter orange appertif. I would not recommend using only sweet orange peel. You must get the oil needed. Good recipe just not well instructed on the tincture. Next time I hope to match it exactly. Oh, the filtering, a definite pain. Make sure you use a clarifying agent on the tincture before you mix. Make sure the tincture is absolutely clear before you mix. It took me 4 filterings to get it clear.

  128. Jamie, what are your thoughts on the re-formulation of Torani Amer since 2008 (I think)? You can only identify it by its shinier label around the neck. I find that it definitely tastes less vegetal, more orangey, and far better than the old stuff, but I wonder how it compares to your recipe/original Picon.

  129. ChrisCV, I am picking up a case of the new Torani Amer in two weeks. I plan on doing a comparison with Jamie’s recipe. As I have mentioned above, the recipe is very good. I need to make a slight change on the tincture. I have asked some old timers about the recipe I made and it does come close as does the Torani. Nothing will replace the original.

  130. ChrisCV:
    I don’t have access to Torani and haven’t tasted the new version.
    If you make my version properly, without changing any of the ingredients, it is almost indistinguishable from the pre-1970 formula, as determined by expert tasters side by side with an actual pre-1970 sample.
    It really is very simple to make as well, the only laborious part being filtration of the orange tincture, which shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.

  131. Ok everyone, here goes with the comparison. I just got back from California and was able to pick up a case of Torani “brand” Amer. Believe me, I was very anxious to make the Picon Punch. As I have stated before, I grew up on Amer Picon. Everyone in my family drank the Picon Punch. After the formula changed in the 70’s it all stopped. So, when I read about Jamie’s recipe I was an instant follower. I have had my family try Jamie’s recipe and all agree that it is very, very close to the original Amer Picon. More on that later. So, to the comparison. One must first understand that Torani makes the syrups that go in coffee. When you read the bottle label it states it is made from: grain neutral spirits, flavored syrup and caramel coloring. Torani is not a distillery, nor are they a maker of quality liquor. At first smell, the orange is off a bit. Too sweet, candy like, not the intense orange that you get from Amer Picon. The taste from it straight is not even close. There is no bitter orange oil flavor at all. And the sugary orange flavor is syrupy. Remember the candy orange pieces covered with sugar? That is the taste. Remember, it is from Torani. So I made the Picon Punch. It does make a close replica. You must add the Brandy float to get the close taste. I know that all the Basque bars use Torani. You can see it on YouTube from Elko, Reno and Boise. But, Torani “Brand ” Amer is only close when used in the “Basque Punch”. Torani lacks the deep, bitter, intense orange oil taste that the original Amer Picon had. The solution? Jamie’s recipe. I will repeat this over and over, DO NOT USE TORANI IN JAMIE”S NIRVANA. It will ruin the drink. Jamie’s recipe is as close to the original Amer Picon as one will ever get until Amer PIcon is made once again as it once was. YOU HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE TINCTURE. Jamie should be much more specific on the orange peel type. I would suggest using 1/2 bitter orange peel and 1/2 sweet orange peel. Use a settling agent to remove all sediment from the tincture. All of the ingredients can be found at your local homebrew shop. If not, I can get it for you. So, there you are. Torani is ok for a Basque punch but if you want something very special make the recipe Jamie has discovered for all of us. Enjoy.

  132. Thanks much CJ. I do pretty much only use it for Picon Punch (I come from a northern Nevada family with some Basque blood).

    I guess I’ll have to go ahead and try this recipe then.

  133. OK, I have a new one for you. Have you ever heard of Amer-Basque? It’s an old bottle that is unopened so I have not tasted it. I have had no luck finding any info on it. Interested to hear what you may have to say. It was made and bottled in Detroit, Michigan by Liqueur Products Co. and distributed by Jules Berman and Associates, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA. It is “an excellent aperitif prepared from Quinquina bark, oranges and gentian. Well, that’s all I can tell you. Would love to know if it is comparable to Picon and how old it is. Thanks!

  134. Ann Marie:
    I’m afraid that I have not heard of Amer Basque, and given that it was made in Detroit, (not exactly a hot-bed of fine spirits) I wouldn’t out too much stock in it.

  135. […] requires Amer Picon, which is pretty hard to find as of this writing.  I’ve been using the Jamie Boudreau substitute recipe with a 151 proof orange […]

  136. […] Ingredients 2 oz Hennessy VSOP 3/4 oz Dolin Dry vermouth 1/2 oz maraschino liqueur 1/4 housemade Amer Picon (Brand name Amer Picon is only sold in Europe, but you can make a facsimile with this recipe from Jamie Boudreau) […]

  137. […] recipes for home use.  This became particularly apparent the first time I tried to reproduce Jamie Boudreau’s recipe for Amer Picon.  I love this recipe, by the […]

  138. […] on the Negroni, the Bitter Devil does require some homework if you don’t have the Jamie Boudreaux Amer Picon substitute available.  I feel like I’ve talked about or used his recipe a lot lately.  But it has […]

  139. […] geeks make their own, which is crazy complicated. If money is no object, you can always directly import the current […]

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  147. Thanks for the fantastic resource, Jamie.

    I decided to try making my orange tincture with Everclear as you describe above. However, when diluted it louches. The end product Amer is still very good, but slightly milky in appearance. Assuming I want to try again with high proof tincture (to keep the final product in the 78 proof range), do you have any tips on avoiding louching?

  148. Thanks for posting this important recipe. I posted it on Kindred Cocktails as an ingredient ( I have been thinking that using 100 proof vodka to dilute the mixture would result in something very close to the original 78 proof historic Amer Picon. Would this be advised?

  149. Wow, you should have not have had any “louching” occur. I have made all my tinctures with Everclear and have had crystal clear , beautiful amber tincture after cutting with room temp water. Something happened. Also, the recipe, using bitter and sweet dried orange peel makes a near perfect Amer.

    • Thanks for the response, Hugh.

      I just started a second batch of orange tincture and tested it yesterday to see if louches and, yep, it does. Interestingly, I also have a batch of bitter orange peel macerating and it does not louche. The main difference between the two is that I got the bitter orange peel commercially (from a beer brewing supplier), whereas I dehydrated the sweet orange peel myself. I wonder if my “fresh” dried orange peel is simply more oily than the commercial stuff.

  150. I believe the commercial peels are prepared for food processing. The oils should not have anything to do with it. I have never and would never use anything but commercially dried peels. I use 2/3 sweet to 1/3 bitter. The tincture is always crystal clear with much sediment that needs to be clarified. I use Turbo Clear. The recipe is near perfect. I have taste tested with Torani Amer and the recipe beats it everytime.

  151. This is on my to-do list! Besides ordering on-line, any advice where I could find dried orange peels? I visited several dried goods stores today and they all seemed stumped. In this thread so far I’ve seen “asian medical supplies”, beer brewing suppliers,… Any other ideas?

  152. The only place I would get dried orange peels, sweet or bitter, is at your home brew shop. They should come in 1 lb bags that are sealed. DO NOT GO TO HERBAL OR CHINESE PLACES. Your home brew shop can get them and know what they are for. Good luck.

  153. […] Yes, the time has finally come to make some homemade spirituous infusions! I’ve been lagging behind in this area quite a bit, though I have a number of recipes and experiments I’d like to try (Amer Boudreau, anybody?). […]

  154. Jamie, what is your thoughts on the Picon Cocktail? This is found on the original back label. 1 part Picon and 1 part sweet vermouth. It is excellent. I can not obtain the ingredients for your cocktail. What sweet vermouth would you recommend?

    • Hugh,

      My favorite sweet vermouth is made in Madera CA and it is called Vya. It is pricey but excellent ($20/bottle)

  155. Thanks! Just found one in Toronto, headed there soon.

  156. […] cool citrus rind.  The overall savory quality was probably a product of the combination of the Amer Picon (an obscure French amaro), with a cherry-almond note from the […]

  157. […] using Jamie Boudreau’s Amer Picon recipe.  This is a beautiful Halloween cocktail, with deep brown topped with a faintly orange foam.  […]

  158. Many thanks for the tip on where to purchase the dried orange peel! Any memory of how many units of this are needed to produce the orange tincture recipe in the proportions listed above? I have never used the stuff, so I have no idea how many ounces/grams/etc. I would need to buy in order to “half-fill” a container capable of also holding ~8 cups of vodka (I’m assuming /some/ volume of vodka gets soaked into the peel during the infusion process, so more than 7 1/2 cups are needed to start?).
    Thanks again!

  159. […] Recently, I came across an old post about a “Make Your Own” recipe for Amer Picon. […]

  160. I really liked your blog article.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  161. I used 1 lb dried orange peel. I put into a 1 gallon jar w/lid. The dried orange peel took up 1/3 the volume of the jar. It took approximately 2.25 liters of grain alcohol to cover the peels and raise the volume to 2/3 of the jar. You want this 2/3 because you will need to cut the tincture if you used grain alcohol.

  162. Jamie,

    What would you think of using clementine (mandarin orange) peels instead of regular orange peel in the orange tincture? The peels have very little pith naturally, so they would be easier to prepare I would think. I have two pints of clementine tincture macerating right now, thought I would try it to see. But I just wanted your opinion. I’ll be trying it side by side with a regular orange tincture to see what the difference in taste is.

    Also, I opted for using the 190 proof everclear in my tincture…can anyone tell me how much water to add to bring it down to the right proof? And what is that proof exactly? Never was any good at math. 🙂 Thanks,


    • I did this with Everclear and will be using 100 proof vodka next time. There are two problems with Everclear:

      1. When you dilute your tincture, it will louche, turning your Amer cloudy.
      2. When you dilute your tincture, you dilute the flavor.

      If you decide to use 190 proof tincture, then you will need to dilute it with 950 ml of water to get it down to 100 proof. To do these calculations, I created a spreadsheet for myself, which you can use:

      Anything with a blue background can be edited. I converted all quantities to milliliters.

      • Do I add water to both Tncture & Amer Boudreau?

      • Yes, you need to add water to both. The Boudreau recipe is proportioned to reach 78 proof if you use 100 proof orange tincture, so you’ll need to add 95% water to 190 proof tincture. The water added to the recipe above is, presumably, to lower the proof further.

  163. […] based on a Jaime Bourdreau’s “Nirvana” Cocktail found in his post about making an Amer Picon Clone.  It was my impatient response to the fact that his cocktail sounded great, juxtaposed against my […]

  164. Jamie, I am in the process of making my Orange Tincture, I am using Everclear and a mixture of 1/2 bitter & 1/2 sweet dried orange peels. I am 2 weeks into the infusion and it smells amazing. Question: when I add 20%water to lower the alcohol content, is that the amount in the Amer Boudreau recipe (3/4 liter Evian) or is this a totally separate amount + the 3/4 liter for the end product?

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  166. […] he perfects a long-tested ice-orb experiment, writes a short account of a 90-day Amaro experiment in the style of Jamie Boudreau, and throws his hat back into the Boozy Cherry […]

  167. Uh oh I had five bottles from an estate I was selling for a client. Gave all but one away! How much should I sell it for?

  168. I wouldn’t be too concerned. Unless the bottle is more than sixty years old it isn’t worth more than $25…

  169. […] his excellent blog He has created his own version of Amer, which he calls Amer Boudreau, that is supposed to taste almost identical to the original Amer Picon formula. It calls for Amaro […]

  170. In short: the intent to more perfectly approach the original Amer Picon does not appear to be well-served by the imprecise description of Orange Tincture. The confusion evident in discussions in nearby blog-space confirms this. What is needed is a more precise description of “dried orange peel”. There are many different varieties of orange. Furthermore, orange peel can be purchased in a range of granule sizes which profoundly affects the mass contained in a half-jar. In addition, one might choose to peel and dry oranges one’s self with extremely variable results. So, a recipe for orange tincture needs to specify the variety or varieties of orange used and the weight of dried peel used. I hope that Jamie will be able supply this information so that his invention can truly be shared.

  171. Every single apothecary in the PNW that I’ve been to has only one orange peel for purchase, so, if you desire to know exactly which one, I would contact one of the many places in the PNW that carry orange peel. As for size variances, this is commonplace and the norm. Even when traveling to Europe and seeing the stores of herbs, etc, in distilleries the size, smell shape of orange peel is exactly the same as can be found here. You would have a very blessed store to have more than two types of orange peel. As stated before, you don’t want bitter or Seville orange peel. As stated before, you don’t want to dry your own.
    As for weight, it’d be ideal, but isn’t necessary if one does as stated before: fill a jar 1/2 way with orange peel, top with booze, wait a month and strain.

  172. Thank you, Jamie, for bringing that information to my attention. I do not see those details about the orange peel in the blog entry on which we are commenting or any of the web sites that have reproduced it. Are the details in one of your follow-up comments on this page? I confess that I did not read all 180 comments. I was also ignorant that I can buy this standard orange peel in a PNW apothecary, but alas I live in Massachusetts. I see that you do know of more than one type of orange and you instructed us at some time not to use Seville oranges. Now, since I will have to locate the correct orange peel on-line, I will also avoid herbal web sites that sell powdered orange peel. Since you happened to mention distilleries in Europe, perhaps the orange peel sold in brewer’s supply web sites is what you intend for us to use. I’ll get the granules of “sweet orange peel” from one of them and start over. If anybody has suggestions for what to do with 1.5 liters of 151 proof orange tincture made with home-dried organic Valencia orange peel, I’m all ears. It is probably the correct flavor, but way more concentrated than Jamie’s standard tincture since the peels broke into tiny pieces made quite a solid mass in the bottom half of my jars. If only the directions used weight; then I might be able to dilute it correctly.

  173. Orange extract already has some of the work done. Can that be subbed in or does the “lack of proof” affect things? I’m thinking about doing this recipe since Amer Picon is in some pre-prohibition cocktails and cannot be got anymore.

  174. Orange extracts that I have tasted are quite the same as infusions. I also wouldn’t be able to tell you the ratio difference as extract is more concentrated.

  175. […] probably be familiar with if you make a habit of perusing nineteenth century bar manuals. Another takes about two months to make – and you have to make it yourself, because it’s been extinct in the US for about 50 […]

  176. […] the Amer Picon the recipe here by Jamie Boudreau is tough to beat. It’s frequently used as a substitute for the hard to get […]

  177. I’m wondering why drying your own orange peels is not recommended. What qualities do purchased peels have that home-dried do not?

    • They are way too oily. The resulting tincture has a ton of orange oil dissolved in it. It tastes terrible and louches when diluted with water. I know from experience. It’s good for cleaning bugs off the front of your car, though, and leaves a nice scent.

  178. […] running low on Amer Boudreau. Since Hannaford is having a pretty good sale on big bags of oranges I took that as a I sign that I […]

  179. […] in 2007, Jamie Boudreau came up with a makeshift recipe for Amer Picon (cleverly named “Amer Boudreau”) that combined the amaro Ramazzotti with orange extract and nearly a full bottle of orange […]

  180. […] in 2007, Jamie Boudreau came up with a makeshift recipe for Amer Picon (cleverly named “Amer Boudreau”) that combined the amaro Ramazzotti with orange extract and nearly a full bottle of orange […]

  181. Hi Jamie, I made the Amer exactly per the recipe. Tastes fantastic! Only problem is after it’s been filtered (I used large coffee filters, after pouring water through them to remove papery flavor) and bottled for about a week, there are small light brown flecks floating on the surface. Any ideas of what that might be and if it’s potentially harmful?

    Thank you!

  182. Jeff:
    There is no reason why you should have brown flakes unless they came from the container that the recipe was poured in to. I haven’t seen this before and so can not comment.

    • OK, I’ll try straining it into another container.

      What do you use to filter the recipe at the end?

      Also, it’s not absolutely necessary to refrigerate due to the high alcohol content, correct?

      Thanks again!

  183. Just finished serving this recipe to my friend from Brittany and he was astounded! His only critique was that it did not have the caramel color and subtle caramel notes of Picon (he had his own bottle on hand).

    With that being said, I also saw online that Amaro CioCiaro was a good substitute. Have you ever tried using it in place of the Ramazzotti?

    Excellent work! 🙂

  184. […] Boudreau hat ein weit beachtetes Rezept aus mazerierten Orangenschalen, Stirring’s Orange Bitters und Ramazzotti […]

  185. […] formula has also changed since the Brooklyn was first mixed.  If you have the time, you can make Jamie Boudreau’s formula.   If not, you can follow the lead of St. John Frizell (late of Pegu Club and currently residing […]

  186. Damn orange tincture. Someone gave me the recipe for the Amer and I am currently soaking a couple of cases of Navel orange zest in vodka. I spent hours one evening painstakingly peeling the SOBs so no pith was involved. Its been in the soak for about a month now. From what I am reading, since I used fresh, my shelf life will be minimal meaning that I am going to gift bottles of it to friends. I should have gone on line before I made the stuff and found this page. Live and learn. I live in western Nevada where the “Picon Punch” is king here. In fact, I run a FB page called Picon Drinkers of the American West. Check it out.

  187. Okay, here is the modified version that is the closet you can get to Amer Picon. I had several old timers try it and they asked where I bought the Amer Picon. They were shocked when I revealed my concoction.
    I used pure grain based moonshine for my tincture. You can not buy the moonshine, you have to make it. Unless you know someone who has a small still. Sorry. Hands down better than using vodka or Everclear. The smoothness is unreal. Now, substitute one bottle of Ramazzotti with one bottle of Amaro Ciociaro. To keep the proof up, I didn’t proof down the moonshine as much with the original Jamie recipe. Try it folks, you will not believe the results.

  188. I am going to try the Ciociaro recipe with the regular tincture per Jamie. My order of CIO arrived today and it is tasty but needs a bit of orange and bitter layered in.

  189. […] So why is Picon such a sought after product that has bartenders going out if their way to get it like it’s some first edition Superman comic? Well, everyone wants what they can’t get, and it’s pretty damn tasty! For me, it’s the perfect balance of citrus and bitter. Lots of people have tried making alternatives, such as the American-made Torani Amer, which is high proofed just like the old stuff. The best substitution that I’ve ever tried was made by ex-Vancouverite Jamie Boudreau. The recipe for his homemade version, aptly dubbed Amer Boudreau, can be found here. […]

  190. JT Bar in Gardnerville, Nevada serves a fantastic drink they call a Picon. That place is my only exposure to this amazing beverage. If you live in Seattle, you owe it to yourself to visit JT Bar and try this out for comparison with your Nirvana Cocktail. (Note: their food, served family style in astonishing quantities, is also amazing — try the lamb chops with extra garlic. I sometimes dream of this meal.)

  191. […] Amer Boudreau is the innovative creation of Jamie Boudreau, and is made in the same fashion as Amer Picon, but also captures the flavor of Amer Picon even better than Amer Picon itself.  The reason for this claim is that Amer Picon changed its’ flavor profile and became lower proof in the 1970s (Boudreau).  The new recipe is more sweet, and a comparison between the original and the new would declare that the new formulae approaches almost cloyingly sweet (Ibid).  The creation of Amer Boudreau revolves around the use of an orange tincture and Amaro Ramazzotti, and isn’t actually all that difficult to produce, provided you are willing to wait for the orange tincture to come to its’ ow in terms of flavor.  Personally, if you are going for the historical route of flavor concerning this drink, Jamie’s method is perhaps the best; otherwise, importing Amer Picon from France would still produce a drink appropriate to the name (and not a bad one at that). […]

  192. […] Amer Boudreau is the innovative creation of Jamie Boudreau, and is made in the same fashion as Amer Picon, but also captures the flavor of Amer Picon even better than Amer Picon itself.  The reason for this claim is that Amer Picon changed its’ flavor profile and became lower proof in the 1970s (Boudreau).  The new recipe is more sweet, and a comparison between the original and the new would declare that the new formulae approaches almost cloyingly sweet (Ibid).  The creation of Amer Boudreau revolves around the use of an orange tincture and Amaro Ramazzotti, and isn’t actually all that difficult to produce, provided you are willing to wait for the orange tincture to come to its’ ow in terms of flavor.  Personally, if you are going for the historical route of flavor concerning this drink, Jamie’s method is perhaps the best; otherwise, importing Amer Picon from France would still produce a drink appropriate to the name (and not a bad one at that). […]

  193. Check out They are importing French (Alsatian) amers from Wolfberger and Sommer. Available now in NY.

  194. Jamie, or others, I followed the Orange Tincture recipe using 64 oz of 100-proof vodka and 8 oz of dried peel (4 oz sweet and 4 oz bitter). After soaking and shaking for 6 weeks, it was run (very slowly) through coffee filters to remove the grit from the dried peel. But this yielded around 50 oz of final tincture. Quite a bit was lost in the peel soaking and in the filters.

    Is there a better process for filtering? Or use larger pieces of fresh peel dried in an oven to eliminate the dried grit?

  195. […] Several of the recipes in the book require a spirit called Amer Picon. They don’t make it anymore so I had to locate a recipe online: […]

  196. What kind of orange peel? Seville vs Valecia vs the Vietnam bitter one used in making grande Marnier?

  197. […] Dr. Cocktail suggests using Torani Amer. Torani is probably best known for their coffee flavoring syrups, but their Amer is a different beast. Many say that it makes a good substitute for Amer Picon, but since I can’t get either I decided to make my own using a recipe created by Jamie Boudreau. […]

  198. […] it gave me an excuse to use some of my hard won Amer Picon. Made from a recipe from Jamie Boudreau, it took me several months to prepare and it worked well in this […]

  199. […] в чём отличия, но вот уважаемые люди как то так считают. И вот тут. А на моей этикетке- написано внизу- […]

  200. […] a version of a spirit no longer available in the U.S.—Amer Picon—that David concocted from an internet recipe over the span of a month or […]

  201. […] Ward Eight uses Amaro CioCiaro blended with orange bitters. Seattle bartender Jamie Boudreau makes a version with Ramazzotti an orange tincture and orange bitters. Andy Shay at Big Jones does something […]

  202. Hey! I should subscribe to this blog because I keep coming back here looking for recipes for my Victorian cocktail book (as in recipes so I can duplicate the cocktails for tasting). So of course I’d heard of the Amer Picon but hadn’t started looking for it yet. When I found it here, I was thrilled! I’m going to start a big batch of orange tincture anyway, need it for my orange bitters (which are very popular and I’ll probably use those instead of Stirrings).

    In New Jersey I can get an ultra high proof vodka, Devil Springs. It’s distilled in NJ, over 150 proof, and $10 less per bottle than a big bottle of Everclear.

    I get my dried orange peel (and other herbs and spices) from They have two physical locations in Philadelphia. If I need to buy in bulk (one-pound packages), I go to


  203. I have a bottle of modern 18% Amer Picon arriving from France soon. It is €10 in French supermarkets. Now I know that it is but a shadow of it’s former self, I am going to have to make myself some of Jamie’s version.

  204. This is awesome, thanks again for sharing! I also have been reading about Amer Picon, and how the flavor profile of the original recipe was supposed to be close to the flavor profile of the original Campari, and wanted to check it out for myself, since I am in love, recently discovering Campari. I got a bottle of the Torani Amer, and I have to say I didn’t really enjoy it using the recipe on the bottle (with soda). Hate to say it, but it reminds me of Triple Sec (orange rind and boozy), and I taste some of the bitterness but none of the complexity of other amaris and such. When I get some time, and enough interest, I will definitely try out your recipe for home-made Amer Picon.

    I also really wanted to try your Nirvana cocktail, and while I didn’t have maraschino liqueur or Amer Picon, and I was convinced that Torani Amer is not a decent replacement on its own, I threw together a cocktail which actually worked out pretty well. In place of the 1oz of Amer Picon, I used 1/2oz of Torani Amer, 1/4oz of Ramazzotti, and 1/4oz of Campari, and about 4 drops of angostura orange bitters. In place of the maraschino liqueur, I used a barspoon of maraschino cherry syrup, and a few drops of Peychaud’s bitters (not a great replacement, I know). I just made one and it’s quite nice. It really reminds me of an orangey version of my favorite cocktail, the Vieux Carre.

    Just for shits, here’s my recipes. Just in case someone has everything I have but not the maraschino liqueur and freshly homemade Amer Picon.

    Substitute Nirvana:

    2oz Rittenhouse 100proof rye
    0.5oz Torani Amer
    0.25oz Campari
    0.25oz Ramazzotti
    0.25oz Benedictine
    2-4 drops of orange bitters (i used 4, it was quite orangey (in the spirit of Amer Picon), but 2 might be better)
    2 drops of Peychaud’s bitters (adds a nice complexity and fruitiness, to make up for not having maraschino liqueur)
    1 barspoon (or less) of maraschino cherry syrup (from the jar)

    An adjustment to this (if it’s too strong at all) would be to add a little splash of water and maybe (if you like sweet) a small amount of simple syrup, in the spirit of an old fashioned. I did this near the end of my drink and it was nice. (I tried adding vermouth (in the spirit of a manhattan) and it was terrible!)

    The above was my first and only shot at making the Nirvana, so take it and make it your own. However, I have made the following drink numerous times until I found my perfect recipe:

    Matt’s Vieux Carre:

    0.75oz rye whiskey (Rittenhouse, Old Overholt, Knob Creek, George Dickel, experiment and find your favorite mixing rye!)
    0.75oz Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
    0.40oz Carpano Antica Vermouth (just a hair under the 1/2oz mark)
    0.20oz Benedictine (just a hair under the 1/4oz mark)
    2 dashes angostura bitters
    2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

    Pour all of the above into a cocktail shaker, add crushed ice, stir with a barspoon at least 50 times, then strain into a rocks glass (preferably with one of those oversized ice cubes that won’t melt).

    Finally, add a lemon twist: Cut a small piece from the peel of a lemon, squeeze the oils into the drink (from the peel), then rub it on the rim of the glass)

    Perfect! Feel free to mess around with the measurements to find your perfect cocktail. I started with an original recipe, and the vermouth was coming through too much so I had to reduce that, and the Benedictine is very nice, but was a hair too sweet so I reduced it just slightly. Now I’ve had plenty of these and this is my absolute favorite recipe for my favorite drink.

  205. Made the Amer Bourdreau recipe using Everclear but had a bit of a problem with louching. As soon as I added the orange tincture to the Ramazzotti with enough water added to bring the proof down to 80 or so it clouded up – looked like a latte. Tasted fine but looked terrible. Solved the problem by adding additional Everclear until it cleared-up. Pretty boozy though – probably ended up 120 proof or so. Tastes great great thought and makes an awesome Brooklyn

  206. […] product commercially available that truly mimics the flavors of Picon.  But fortunately, I found an article by Jamie Boudreau of Canon in Seattle which describes his homemade method of making Amer Picon.  In it, Jamie explains his search for […]

  207. […] Ward Eight uses Amaro CioCiaro blended with orange bitters. Seattle bartender Jamie Boudreau makes a version with Ramazzotti an orange tincture and orange bitters. Andy Shay at Big Jones does something […]

  208. I am from Alsace (NE France by Germany and Switzerland) and we drink Picon with beer (Amer Biere) or white wine. A lot of alsacian distilleries now make their own versions of Picon that are arguably superior to Picon. If you are ever in the area, I would recommend Wolfberger’s Fleur de Biere (made with hops, among other ingredients). I wish it was available in the US but after many years of making Mr. Boudreau’s Picon (and hooking my Wisconsin friends on it, in the process), I am working on altering it to match Wolfberger’s.

    Thank you Mr. Boudreau BTW for the recipe!

  209. Just found Basque Bitters made by San Francisco Bitters to use for Amer Picon! Any thoughts, please respond. Thanks.

  210. […] for, or even to emulate, Amer Picon. Ten years ago, Seattle bartender Jamie Boudreau published an Amer Picon emulation that he called “Amer Boudreau;” it has a good reputation, and has become the DIY […]

  211. Why would the excess of this ‘amaro’ need to be refrigerated with such a high alcohol base? Thank you!

  212. […] the beginning. Ramazotti or Amaro Montenegro are both acceptable substitutes. If you want to try making your own Amer Picon try this […]

  213. […] (See Link for Jamie Boudreau’s Amer Picon Recipe) […]

  214. […] this liqueur, I couldn’t, because it’s no longer available in America. Because of that, this bartender tried recreating the formula. He basically added some orange tincture (vodka infused with orange […]

  215. […] the beginning. Ramazotti or Amaro Montenegro are both acceptable substitutes. If you want to try making your own Amer Picon try this […]

  216. With all this fanatic enthusiasm for something better than Torani America, it seems bizarre that no one makes a product that ships to the USA

  217. […] because I am lucky enough to be in possession of actual Amer Picon (as well as my own version of Amer Boudreau) and because, as in the Manhattan, using Punt e Mes keeps the drink from being too sweet. For […]

  218. […] so far down the rabbit hole at this point that I think we should just stop. Check out the Amer Boudreau story (complete with a great cocktail recipe) if you like but otherwise rest assured that the black […]

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