Terrativo Review

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Terrativo is a unique bourbon-based aperitivo made by Liba Spirits. It is made with a base of high rye bourbon and then infused with various ingredients, including tart cherry, orange peel, rhubarb, and herbs. Terrativo can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. It is also a great option for those who enjoy amaro or Italian bitters. Learn all about it in our review!
Tennessee Bourbon Liqueur
Bitter Aperitivo
70 Proof
Liba Spirits
Distilled at Corsair Distillery
MSRP: ~$30

Please enjoy our Terrativo Tennessee Bourbon Liqueur review!

A Terroir-Inspired Bourbon Liqueur From A Nomadic Distilling Company

Nomadic Distilling? What’s That?

What is a nomadic distilling company, you might ask? Well, it is as it sounds. The cofounders of Liba Spirits, Devon Trevathan and Colton Weinstein, travel the globe, renting local distilleries to make unique spirits. These spirits are inspired by the local flavors, traditions and terroir. The nomadic methodology allows Liba to craft their own versions of spirits that embody a specific locale, using indigenous ingredients and styles.

Terrativo: A Unique Spirit

So what types of spirits might those be? One would expect them to be unique, and they are. Terrativo is discussed in detail in this review. Liba’s other current spirits are 1643 Alpine Gin and Lafcadio Botanical Rum. The Alpine Gin was made in the Austrian Alps, while the Botanical Rum was distilled in New Orleans.

Terrativo is described as “the first bourbon based aperitivo in the world”. The goal was to keep the bourbon character while still making a spirit that was aperitivo in profile, and to have American flavors.

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The Making of Terrativo

Terrativo starts off with a base of high rye bourbon. Then, the flavors from tart cherry, fresh & dried orange peel, rhubarb, rhubarb root, hibiscus, cardamom, allspice, gentian, lovage root, cinchona bark are added via maceration or vapor infusion. As the final step, the liquor is dosed with sugar in the form of sorghum syrup. So what’s Terrativo like?

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

Tasting Notes – Terrativo Review

Let’s taste it:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉🏻Nose: Herbal & citrus notes, with cardamon and a hint of allspice; dark berry syrup; moderately sweet; mild bitterness; light menthol; mild alcohol
👉🏻Taste: Sweet dark berry syrup, cardamon & black pepper; tart citrus later on
👉🏻Finish: Sweetness, cardamon and black pepper continue; herbal bitters and citrus tartness grow in the finish; later on, there is lingering black pepper, mild berry syrup sweetness, herbal bitterness, with a bit of spice in the middle of my tongue; there’s a negligible burn; but the flavors last for quite some time

The nose has an herbal character, with dark berry syrup and hints of citrus and menthol. The taste becomes quite sweet, from the dark berry syrup, but with added spice from cardamon and a growing herbal bitterness. The flavors continue into the finish with tart citrus and black peppery spice growing.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

Let’s try Terrativo in a cocktail – Terrativo Review

While Terrativo is quite enjoyable on its own, the folks at Liba Spirits suggest using it in a cocktail as a whiskey or bourbon replacement, or as a modifier. I did a bit of experimenting myself, and arrived at a riff on a Boulevardier, that I found quite enjoyable.

Terrativo Boulevardier

2 parts 100 proof bourbon (I used Early Times Bottled In Bond)
1 part Terrativo
1 part sweet vermouth
1/2 part Campari
Stir well with ice, strain, and serve over ice with an orange twist

The Terrativo combined with the sweet vermouth can create a fairly sweet drink, so the small amount of Campari is added to counteract that as well as to add a bit of the familiar flavor found in a traditional Boulevardier. An alternate method, using only Terrativo, can be constructed by eliminating the Campari and dialing back the sweet vermouth a bit.

Terrativo Boulevardier
Terrativo Boulevardier – Terrativo Review
The Aperitivo Conundrum

I am an Italian bitters fan and very much enjoy amari. Or are they bitter aperitivos? Defining them and differentiating them is in no way as straightforward as I would have hoped. Sadly, nothing about spirits ever is. Aperitivo is the most confusing term, because it refers to a whole pre-dinner experience of drinks, small bites, and socializing. It also refers to the beverages consumed during that time, which are generally anything fairly light and bitter, or maybe even a light wine. Or maybe not.

According to Difford’s Guide, “An apéritif, or aperitivo in Italian, is a light, dry or bittersweet drink intended to sharpen the appetite before a meal. Derived from the Latin verb aperire, meaning to open, such drinks open your palate and start you salivating in anticipation of food.”

Bottle & Glass - Terrativo Tennessee Bourbon Liqueur Review
Terrativo Review

They go on to say “Examples of drinks enjoyed as apéritifs include vermouth (and other aromatised wines) amaro, dry wine or fortified wines (particularly sherry) and Italian red bitters.” “Apéritif drinks such as amaro, vermouth and Italian red bitters form the backbone of numerous apéritif cocktails.”

Interestingly, all of the following spirit terms: apéritif (aperitivo), amaro and Italian bitters, seem to be used interchangeably. This makes the most sense to me. I genuinely enjoy sipping Terrativo. If I were asked what it reminded me of most, I would not hesitate to say, “a delicious amaro”. And that is truly a compliment.

Conclusion – Terrativo Review

Terrativo, whether an Amaro, Italian Bitter or Bitter Aperitivo, is really a special spirit. As someone who is a fan of this spirit category, I am truly enjoying Terrativo. Drinking it neat is my preference. It is simply delicious. However many might prefer it in a cocktail or spritz. I’m interested to know how you have enjoyed it. Let me know! Cheers!

We hope you have enjoyed our Terrativo Tennessee Bourbon Liqueur review! If you would like to read a review about a rye whiskey that has some related flavors, check out our Sagamore Spirit Manhattan Finish Rye Review!

This bottle was provided by Liba Spirits for my review. Thank you!

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