Fun fact: amaretto comes from the Italian term amaro, which means bitter. This fact is fun, because if you’ve ever had commercial amaretto, bitter is not a term that comes to mind. I’m not the biggest fan of super sweet drinks, so the idea of making my own amaretto appeals. Especially since my curiosity was piqued when I discovered amaretto often contains apricot. This is made relevant because at some point my green cocktail thumb thought to know that amaretto somehow translated into sweet almond nectar. Don’t ask question.
I have since come to my senses and endeavored into making amaretto. During that journey, I have discovered that there are actually two methods by which to do so: The Easy Way (which we will be explained below) and The Hard Way. To be honest, the hard way produces a better, more complex and true amaretto liqueur, but also requires more effort and less green thumb. For the sake of simplicity we shall endeavor down the road more travelled.
– 500 mL vodka
– 1 cup water
– ½ cup sugar
– ½ cup brown sugar
– 2 tablespoons almond extract
– 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
750 mL (approx.)
– Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until dissolved.
– Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool.
– Stir extracts into mixture, followed by the vodka.
– Strain the mixture and store in a clean, dry bottle.
***mixture last for 6 months in the fridge***
Even this simple homemade amaretto gives you a sense of the true depth of this spirit. When you strip away the excess sugar, you discover almond has a rather complex taste and texture to it; One that now makes much more sense when you think about the classic Amaretto Sour cocktail. Until I first ventured to make amaretto (and my own sour mix), I simply didn’t understand why anyone would want to essentially dilute sour mix w/ sugar and then drink it. Now however, I see why this drink took off in the first place. The playful nature of citrus, almond/apricot and a final splash of sweetness to leave the tongue refreshed. It’s a simple drink with a big statement. Or you can flip the sour on its head, like in the cocktail below.
4 oz. prosecco
1 oz. homemade amaretto
1 oz. sour mix
– build ingredients in a rocks glass over fresh ice
– stir to mix
garnish: orange wedge, cherry
If you find yourself with the time and means, I suggest trying the Hard Way to make homemade amaretto. It produces a truly magnificent spirit that is far more enticing than the commercial tinctures often present at bars worldwide. Don’t get me wrong, commercial amaretto serves a purpose and is good in its own right, but you always find a different spirit when you do it yourself. #DoubleEntendre.