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Talking Amaro with Ana Rosenstein, CEO of Amante 1530

Our Editor-in-Chief talks with Ana Rosenstein, CEO of Amante 1530, an exciting new amaro brand in the aperitivo space.

Ana Rosenstein, CEO of Amante 1530.

Ana Rosenstein, CEO of Amante 1530.

Ana Rosenstein, CEO of Amante 1530, has transitioned from the world of venture capital to the helm of an exciting new Italian spirit brand. We spoke with Ana about her background, the emergence of Amaro in Italian cocktail culture, the whitespace between aperitivo behemoths, and more. And, yeah, her famous partners came up in our conversation, too.

Please tell us about Amante 1530.

Amante is an amaro aperitivo. A group of us were just sort of sitting around in Italy a couple years ago having cocktails, and we realized that there was room for another player in this space. As friends, we loved the idea of creating something that we could come and drink together year after year, summer after summer, in the countryside in Italy. From a business perspective, though, we looked around and realized that nearly every other drink on a table was a spritz. There hasn't been a ton of innovation in the aperitivo category. As you know, there are some massive incumbents who have particular products, but there's whitespace in between those behemoths.

So, that's what we set out to do, and as we kept talking we realized that the biggest whitespace was between Aperol and Campari. Aperol is sweeter, and Campari is more bitter. We felt that there was room for something that sat in between the two that had a more complex flavor profile but was still easily mixable and bartender friendly, something that would pair really well with different base spirits. That was during the pandemic. We started taste testing. We brought in Riccardo Cotarella, who is among the best winemakers in Italy, if not the world. Long before he made wines, he made amaros, and his face lit up when we brought up the idea. So, we were taste testing during the pandemic, and then a year and a half ago, the group of founding friends, partners, investors, whatever you want to call them, turned to me and said, “Hey, do you want to run this?” And I said, “No. Absolutely not. No, thank you.” And then they spent the next six months convincing me that I should take the job. I finally said “Yes.”

That's when we really hit go, and we started taking all of those liquids that we've been taste testing for two years and started to figure out what was this thing was going to be. And we knew immediately that we had created something that sat in between Aperol and Campari. What was really interesting to me was as we were doing the final taste tests at the distillery (Pollini, one of the oldest distilleries in Rome), everyone who tried it loved it in a cocktail, but they also loved it neat or on the rocks. And that’s when I realized on the x axis we had something that was sitting between our aperitivo rivals, and on the y axis, we were in between an aperitivo and a digestivo. People were drinking it in a cocktail before dinner, but they also just really loved it on the rocks with some lemon. That was super interesting and what makes this liquid so unique.

Amante 1530
Amante 1530 is a new Italian amaro brand.

What else makes Amante 1530 distinct?

The flavor profiles. There’s, of course, the nice balance between bitter and sweet that we were after, but the notes that people pick up on are usually lemon, orange, vanilla, ginger, and honeysuckle. It’s also important to recognize that the liquid pairs well with so many different base spirits. We’ve partnered with amazing mixologist who have designed cocktails with gin, tequilla, vodka, even whiskey in a hot toddy recipe. It allows you to buy a bottle Amante and your favorite spirit then go home and make one of the cocktails on our recipes page.

What’s your favorite way to take an Amante 1530?

I had always consumed it with muddled cucumber, tequila, Amante, lime, and a splash of soda. We have finally finalized the ratios of that concoction, and we call it the "Last Lover.” I also really like it on the rocks with some lemon.

You come from the world of venture capital. What inspired you to be the CEO of an Italian spirits brand?

I'd been a consumer investor from the day I graduated college. I've always worked really closely with founders. I’ve learned a lot about how to run a consumer brand, how to run a supply chain, where to spend capital, and about what types of advertising and marketing actually get a return on your investment. Working with brands is nothing new to me, and I love it. I've also spent a ton of time in Italy as an adult and while growing up. It's where my family loves to be. I love Italian cooking. I love Italian wine and spirits. I’m not Italian, but I like to think of myself as one of them.

Another thing that many people don’t know is that I have been sort of a bar/spirits critic/connoisseur since I was 22 when I started writing a blog called Drinking Alone. I moved back after college to New York, the city where I grew up, and realized that none of my friends had come back home. I had to figure out how to solve my own loneliness, so I started going to bars by myself every night and writing about sitting on the barstool across from a bartender, who I learned could be my best friend for the night, and writing about the different things I was drinking, the people I was meeting, the experiences I was having, and what I was thinking. That blog picked up some steam. A lot of interesting people were reading it. I ended up taking it around the world. I spent six months alone skiing around the world and writing about the ski bars that I would end up in at the end of the day. I actually just turned the stories into a book. So, I actually have been studying bartenders and spirits and glassware and drinkers for almost a decade now.

Amante 1530 bottle and cocktail
Amante 1530 is a new amaro brand that originated at Sting and Trudie Styler's Il Palagio villa in Tuscany.

From where does the name Amante 1530 derive?

It's such a good story. Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, are among the friends with whom the brand was conceived. The original idea, which I mentioned earlier, was born at Il Palagio, their estate in Tuscany. One night I was sitting with Sting having a drink before dinner, just after I had accepted the offer to be the CEO, and I asked him, “What are we going to call this thing?” He said, “I don't know.” Someone came downstairs with a deck of Tarot cards and was whipping through them. We looked up when Tarot cards were invented, and it turns out to be Italy in the 1500s. Il Palagio dates back to 1530, so we have 1530 in the name as a nod to where we came up with the idea. And then we flipped over the first Tarot card in the deck, and it was The Lovers card. Sting turned to me and said, “Lover in Italian is amante. That's the name. You'll walk up to the bar and order a lover.” This was perfectly true to our original idea of drinking a cocktail in Italy with the people you love most.

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