Amaretto is said to have originated somewhere in Italy centuries ago. Two families claim the title of amaretto inventors, yet no one has been able to verify the claims. The oldest story states that of the most popular amaretto brands we know today, Disaronno, originated in 1525 and the recipe has been handed down for generations. Now that’s a story!
Even though amaretto has been around for quite some time, it didn’t hit American shores until the 1960s, and now we can’t get enough. Today it’s used in popular cocktails like the Amaretto Sour or enjoyed over ice. If you’ve tried this cocktail before, you’ll know the distinct flavor, and if you haven’t, you’ll want to know – what does amaretto taste like?
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All about the taste of amaretto
If you are looking to explore the flavors of a classic Italian liqueur, you may be wondering what does amaretto taste like? In Italian, the name “amaretto” translates to “a bit bitter”. And this is exactly how it tastes. Amaretto is a popular almond-flavored liqueur that has a distinct almond aroma with a hint of slightly sweet cherry, nutty flavor and a bit of bitterness. Amaretto is amber-colored and has a sweet, syrupy texture.
It is a highly versatile ingredient for cocktails, long drinks, and other beverages due to its sweet nutty flavor. It’s also used to add complexity to coffee, cappuccinos, and lattes. Amaretto can also be used in a range of desserts, from tartlets to cakes, to enhance the flavor of the dish.
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How do you make amaretto?
Amaretto is typically made from a base of apricot kernels, peach stones, or almonds, and flavored with sugary syrup or vanilla. Then combine either brandy (which is the traditional method) or a grain alcohol. The alcohol is then sweetened with sugar syrup.
Sounds like this should be very sweet right, so what’s with the bitter taste? Amaretto has a slightly bitter taste because apricots, peaches, and almonds have a chemical compound called benzaldehyde which has a bitter almond odor, giving the slightest note of bitterness.
Since it contains almond flavor, it can also be used as a flavoring for other liquors, like Scotch, vodka, and even rum. The syrupy consistency and sweet taste pairs well with the stronger flavors of these liquors. Amaretto is often associated with sweet desserts, like tiramisu and other frozen desserts, and it is also used in baking recipes like biscotti and amaretto cheesecake! Its flavor is often enhanced by the addition of amaretto liqueur.
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Make Your Own Amaretto Recipe
To really take your cocktail presentation up a notch, try making your own amaretto at home! Your guests will surely be impressed and it will make a great conversation topic. Or perhaps even a fun DIY mini-tutorial while you’re serving up the drinks. Here’s a simple recipe to make your own amaretto:
- 1 cup Vodka or Brandy
- 1 cup White Sugar
- ¼ cup Sweet Almond Extract
- Add all ingredients to a shallow pan or bowl and stir to combine.
- Place the pan or bowl into the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Stir the mixture again before pouring it into a separate, labeled bottle or container.
- Place the bottle in the refrigerator and enjoy your homemade amaretto.
How do you serve Amaretto?
Amaretto is such a versatile spirit and can be enjoyed straight up, mixed into cocktails, and even used in baking recipes. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just want to make a special drink for yourself, here are some tips on how to enjoy and serve amaretto.
First, choose a glass. For a simple amaretto and soda, select a highball glass. If you’re looking to enjoy a classic amaretto sour, a lowball glass is always a nice choice. Next, pick a garnish. Amaretto is deliciously sweet and pairs well with a range of different garnishes. Try slicing up a lemon or orange wedge and adding it to the glass, or dropping in a few berries or cherries for a colorful touch. Finally, chill, mix, and enjoy. If your guests are looking for a refreshing, light drink, pour 1-2 ounces of amaretto over ice and then fill the rest of the glass with tonic.
Many Amaretto drinkers will enjoy this liquor neat, served at room temperature in a cordial glass. It’s also pretty common to use in coffee drinks, so it can be served hot as well. There are so many ways to enjoy amaretto, whatever the season!
Cocktail drinks with amaretto
Show your bartender skills at your next get-together and make these tasty cocktails drinks with Amaretto.
- Amaretto Sour: The classic amaretto cocktail. Mix 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) amaretto, ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) bourbon whiskey, 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lemon juice, 1 teaspoon simple syrup or maple syrup, 1 egg white (optional), 2 dashes Angostura bitters in a shaker and shake for 15 seconds. Add ice and shake for 30 seconds. Pour and garnish with a cocktail cherry.
- French Connection: The easiest Amaretto cocktail ever! Add ice to a lowball glass and pour 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) Cognac and 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) amaretto liqueur and gently stir.
- Amaretto Stone Sour: A spin on the original, and a perfect springtime patio drink. In a lowball glass, stir together 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) amaretto, 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) orange juice, 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) sweet and sour mix (or substitute ½ ounce each simple syrup, lime juice, and lemon juice). Add ice and garnish with an orange wedge and cocktail cherry.
- Amaretto Coffee: A tasty Amaretto drink and your caffeine fix all in one! This spiked coffee is sure to please! Mix 8 ounces (1 cup) of your favorite coffee with 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Amaretto. Top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon and enjoy.
Be sure to share your Amaretto cocktail creations with us!
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Does Amaretto need to be refrigerated after opening?
If you like your amaretto chilled, then yes store it in the refrigerator after opening. Even if you like your chilled amaretto served over ice, keeping it cold in the refrigerator will enhance the chill of the drink.
Amaretto won’t spoil in the sense that it grows mold or can make you sick, but it can deteriorate with exposure to oxygen and light which causes it to lose its flavor. So you’ll want to store it tightly closed in a dark and cool place, like your kitchen cabinet.
Since amaretto is an alcohol, it doesn’t expire or go bad. To preserve maximum freshness and taste, make sure you close the bottle to avoid unnecessary exposure to oxygen. Here’s your quick guide to storing amaretto.
- Keep it in a cool, dark place. Avoid storing amaretto in direct sunlight or a warm area, as this can cause the flavors to break down over time.
- Store it upright to prevent air from getting in the bottle.
- Ensure the bottle is sealed correctly to prevent air from entering and potentially affecting the flavor of the liqueur.
- Before consuming it, check it for any signs of spoilage, such as an off odor or discoloration.
Remember, even if stored properly, the taste and aroma of the Amaretto may change over time, and it may not taste as good as it did when it was first opened. Good thing you have a handy dandy DIY amaretto recipe now (wink).