What can I use instead of Gran Classico? We found the best substitutes for Gran Classico to be Luxardo Aperitivo, Campari, Leopold Bros Aperitivo, Amaro Averna, Meletti 1870 Bitters, Rinomato, Contratto Bitters, and Martini & Rossi Fiero.
Gran Classico is a Swiss-made digestive in the Amaro liqueur group, a maceration of aromatic herbs producing bittersweet syrupy liqueur that is lightly spicy with plenty of herbal complexity from the wormwood, gentian, rhubarb, and bitter orange peel. So, when you need an Amaro run out of your favorite Gran Classico, we found some of the best substitutes for you to try.
The Best Gran Classico Substitutes
A lower alcohol content aperitif can substitute for Gran Classico when you want something slightly milder.
Luxardo Aperitivo is an Italian digestive bitter produced by Girolamo Luxardo SpA. Low in alcohol with only 11% ABV (22° proof).
Beautifully balanced between an infusion of rhubarb, gentian, and different herbs with root and zesty citrus fruit. It’s the lightest of the group offering a gentle pre-dinner aperitif to keep your appetite up.
Luxardo Aperitivo leans slightly towards the bitter side of bittersweet, the blend of rhubarb and gentian is somewhat sweetened with notes of tart ruby grapefruit, and zesty orange marmalade savors, without forgetting the herbal rooty notes.
You can savor the flavors neat on the rocks or enjoy the refreshing tingles of bubbles with a hint of bitterness to cool you down on a sultry night with an elegant Aperitivo Spritz combined with prosecco and soda water.
Campari makes for a popular substitute for Gran Classico.
Produced by the Campari Group, this Italian alcoholic drink blends 68 herbs, fruits, and spices and is finished in a passionate carmine red color. It’s produced in varying ABV from 20.5 to 28.5%, depending on the country.
The multilayered aperitif is distributed to over 190 different countries, and in the United States, the ABV is a mild 24% (48° proof).
Campari has a bitter, sweet, and spicy amaro combined with grapefruit, mild herbs, orange, lemon leaves, and light spices.
The flavors produce a pleasantly bitter aperitif of intense herbaceous quinine balanced with the syrupy sweetness of cherries and honey.
Not only is it the key ingredient to a perfect negroni, but its uses overflow into the culinary world.
Uplift the flavors of a fruit-based vinaigrette, or add to a refreshing coupe of melon salad to contrast the sweet and bitter notes.
Leopold Bros Aperitivo
Here is an American-made, Italian-styled amaro that is ideal as a substitute for the Gran Classico amaro.
Made in Colorado, Leopold Bros launched an Aperitivo following the traditional Italian digestive spirit in 2015.
Mixing three major components, from the bitterness of gentian roots, sweetness from sugar cane, and citrus from coriander and grapefruit peel, blending with floral fragrances of hyssop, artemisia pontica, providing a balanced aperitif with an ABV of 24% (48° proof).
The coloring comes from natural cochineal scarlet dye, ethically sourced from Southern America.
It’s a divine balance of bitterness and sweetness with a refreshing citrusy zest.
It makes a great alternative to a tarty grapefruit Paloma cocktail if Tequila is not your choice of spirit.
Another charming substitute for Gran Classico is the historic Sicilian product Amaro Averna.
Amaro Averna is a recipe invented in the heart of Sicily in 1868 by a herbalist monastery monk called Salvatore Averna. Produced by Fratelli Averna SpA in Caltanissetta, this true Sicilian-crafted Amaro is bottled at 29% ABV (58° proof).
A lengthy maceration of Mediterranean herbs, roots, and citrus rinds is infused in a base liquor before caramel is added to add sweetness.
Amaro Averna is a sweet digestive with a tick viscosity, with gentle herbal bitterness. It offers a silky mouthfeel with a spicy nuance and citrusy notes of orange and lemon, complimented by a dark mocha coffee savor.
To enjoy this true amaro, savor it as an aperitif neat over ice rocks.
Meletti 1870 Bitters
A light and flirty substitute, Meletti 1870 is ideal as a replacement for Gran Classico.
Meletti 1870 is a new recipe in honor of Silvio Meletti, who founded the Ascoli Piceno distillery in 1870.
Reminiscent of an old-school Italian spirit consists of three separate distillations of sweet orange, bitter orange, and herbs and spices before being blended with pure spirits and bottled at 25% ABV (50° proof).
It opens on a note of sweet citrus before the mild bitter orange shines through. Warm baking spices combined with gentian root, coriander, cinnamon, and clove give it an elegant finish.
It makes a perfect energizing Caffe Corretto with a single shot of expresso coffee or added to a refreshing Sardinian Ice Tea cocktail with citrus juice and sparkling wine.
Another Italian Amaro that is a bright and fresh substitute for Gran Classico is Rinomato Aperitivo Deciso.
A candied orange colored aperitif made in the historic aperitif region of Italy, Piedmont, nestled at the foot of the Alps.
It was a collaboration between Italian bartender Giancarlo Manano and American partner Fasel Shenstone to produce an aperitif that compared well to the big names and falls somewhere between Campari and Aperol.
Bottled at 14% ABV (28° proof), the blend of orange peel with spices and herbs like turmeric root, gentian root, clove, wormwood cinchona bark, myrrh, and angelica produce an initial sweet flavor that intensifies into a bitter finish with bright notes.
Try it in a Spritz Deciso coupled with tonic water to accentuate the bitterness and garnish with a grapefruit twist to bring out the citrusy notes.
Contratto Bitters is an artisanal alternative to Gran Classico.
Made from a recipe dating back to 1933, it’s an all-natural liqueur with no added colorants or flavorings.
Contratto Bitters is combined Italian brandy with 24 botanicals crushed in a hammer mill before the powders are processed according to traditional slow, cold maceration methods.
The ingredients are irrigated through a hydroalcoholic solution for 35 days. The elixir is then rested and aged for 40 days in steel tanks before bottling at a mellow 22% ABV (44°proof).
Contratto bitters is a sweet and fruity digestive with laces of vanilla. The layered notes, touched with hints of bitterness from the orange peel, offer a warmth of spice.
Enjoy the flavors with lengthening Contratto bitters with plenty of ice and soda water, or liven it up with a sweet sparkling wine.
Martini & Rossi Fiero
An imperfect substitute for Gran Classico, but perfect when you can’t find a good amaro.
Technically, Fiero is a vermouth made from aromatized wines with essences of citrus fruits and sweet Murica Spanish oranges that are laboriously peeled by hand and laid to dry under the romantic Italian sun.
It’s a bright and fruity liqueur with strong citrusy notes of both orange and lemon with a sweet reprieve at a mellow 14.9% ABV (29.8° proof).
Although it’s vermouth, it packs plenty of amaro characteristics with complex flavors of bitter orange and notes of brown spice, especially clove, finishing with strong gentian root savors. It’s slightly syrupy with bittersweet nuances of pink grapefruit and the slight acidity of wine notes.
Poured into a balloon glass mixed with plenty of ice, tonic, or soda water, the refreshing savors of Fiero are reminiscent of a glorious red sunset descending on the Italian countryside.