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Best Amaretto Cocktails, Mixers

Looking for a sweet, nutty, and slightly bitter undertone for your cocktail drink? Then you cannot go wrong with Amaretto. This popular liqueur has a luxurious sweet almond flavor with a color that of molten amber.

Though it essentially tastes like almonds, some often use apricot or peach kernels instead. With a history that dates back centuries, Amaretto is considered a pride of Italian liqueur.

What is Amaretto?

Amaretto in Italian translates to “little bitter”, which comes from the distinctive flavor of mandorla amara or the bitter almond. This bitterness is not overpowering and is enhanced by sweeteners such as brown sugar or sweet almonds to temper the liqueur.

Certain brands of Amaretto infuse extracts such as vanilla or other herbs to add a balanced flavor. While burnt or dark sugar is combined to bring out the notable amber color in the liqueur.

This famous aperitif is versatile and can be used to make sophisticated cocktails, desserts and also in mouthwatering cuisines. A popular Italian sweet – Amaretto cookies, is a testament to this age-old prominent spirit.

History of Amaretto

The history of Amaretto is shrouded in mystery. Despite this, its origins hold a sentimental value to the people of Saronno and their culture. Two Italian families stake claim to the legacy of Amaretto. These brands are popular even today in producing exquisite Amaretto liqueur.

Lazzaronni Amaretto

The first version states that Amaretto was first created in 1851 by the Lazzaronni family in Saronno, Italy. The family has a long history of selling Amaretto cookies and found that they could also infuse them in liqueur. It fostered a unique concoction of sweet almond-flavored spirits. This liqueur is marketed today under the label Lazzaronni Amaretto.

Disaronno Originale

The second claim dates back to 1525 during the Renaissance period. A church in Saronno commissioned a painting of the Madonna; the responsibility was given to an artist by the name of Bernardino Luini, who was a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci.

In need of a model for creating his painting, a young local widow who was an innkeeper agreed to pose for him. When the time came to part, she gifted Luini a liqueur with apricot pits soaked in brandy. It was supposedly the first Amaretto liqueur to be produced.

As most Italian traditions go, the recipes were handed down to generations and became Amaretto di Saronno Originale. The name was shortened later to Amaretto Disaronno and finally settled to Disaronno Originale in 2001.

It was not until 1960 that Amaretto was first introduced in the United States. Its popularity grew widespread, and by 1980; it dominated the liqueur scene coming only second to Kahlua. April 19th is celebrated as National Amaretto Day in the US.

All drinks with Amaretto:

Amaretto FAQ

How does Amaretto taste?

Amaretto tastes sweet, rich, and nutty with a deep flavor of almond. Depending on the brand, notes of vanilla and burnt sugar can also be detected.

In what ways can Amaretto be used?

Amaretto can be drunk by itself, but it also serves in various culinary applications. Its safe to say that if you have a bottle of Amaretto at home, you will never get tired of implementing them in new ways. Some of them are:

  • Cocktail recipes
  • Desserts
  • Italian cuisines
  • As a substitute for orgeat syrup

How is Amaretto made?

Some amaretto recipes are a well-guarded family secret handed down to generations. But the production process is the same as any other liqueur. In distilled liquor (like vodka), flavoring such as sweet or bitter almonds, apricot kernels, peach stones or herbs such as allspice and cardamom is added. It is then strained out, and caramelized or burnt sugar, is infused to tame the spirit and add color. Depending on the brand, it is aged accordingly.

Which are some of the popular Amaretto cocktails?

Amaretto’s nutty, sweet flavor compliments well with warm drinks such as coffee and cold mixed drinks with fruits. Here are a few popular Amaretto cocktails for you to try:

Which are the notable brands of Amaretto?

Each Amaretto recipe is different, and if you want to experience a well-developed flavor profile, you can go for a quality brand of this delightful liqueur. Some of the notable brands are:

  • Disaronno
  • Di Amore
  • Lazzaronni
  • DeKuyper
  • Luxardo

What is the alcohol volume of Amaretto?

Depending on the brand, Amaretto contains up to 21% to 28% ABV (alcohol by volume). Disaronno Originale contains about 28% ABV. While Lazzaroni Amaretto, consists of 24% ABV.

In which glass do you drink Amaretto?

Some prefer to drink straight from the bottle, while others use a glass. You can use a rocks glass which is typically used to serve Amaretto Sour Classic on the neat. Shots and shooters are also a popular way to drink Amaretto. For creamy cocktail mixers, such as Amaretto Jack, highball glasses are the preferred type.

Where did Amaretto liqueur originate?

Amaretto liqueur was first founded in Saronno. It’s a commune in the town of Lombardy, in the province of Varese, Italy.

How to drink Amaretto?

You can enjoy Amaretto straight with ice or add them to cocktails. Its popularly served as a shot over ice and cola in a tall glass. This delicious drink is so adaptable that you can pair them with a wide range of flavors, from liqueurs to fruits, coffee and spices. If you haven’t got enough of Amaretto, they can be infused in martinis and in various shooter drinks.

Why you should try Amaretto?

Amaretto is not only a delicious liqueur but it’s reminiscent of the 1970s. With its rich history and addicting sweet almond flavor, it can transport you to the Italian town of Saronno.

Along with its old-world vibe, Amaretto liqueur can inspire you to create new cuisines and cocktails. All you need is a bottle of this exceptional liqueur to indulge in a decadent experience.