Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Booze of the Week: Amaretto Di Docaitta

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education. – Mark Twain

Photo: zone41, Flickr ccl
Sorry, so my title is my play on the name of the well known Amaretto Di Saronno®. I’m just being silly. This recipe is for Amaretto, plain and simple. Call it what you will, but one of the words in your definition will be “delicious.”

Everything you need except for some white sugar and water.
It’s surprising that amaretto liqueur only appeared in North America in the 1960s. It quickly became a hit in cocktails – and food preparation. In cooking it is often an ingredient used with chicken, or in “amandine” sauces with fish or vegetables. By the 1980s, amaretto was second in sales only to Kahlua®.

Amaretto is an almond flavoured liqueur, but oddly enough may or may not contain almonds. The base of the liqueur is made from apricot pits or almond pits, and can contain many other spices and flavorings. 

According to legend, the original version was made in Saronno, Italy in the 1500s and the recipe is still a closely guarded secret. The translation of the Italian word amaretto is "a little bitter" so named because of the bitterness of almond kernels.

I have to say this isn’t a bad imitation. Amaretto Di Sonorro® ages. This doesn't. It took me about 1/2 hour. It’s a little less potent than the purchased variety (20% versus 28%), but sometimes that’s not a bad thing, especially in cocktails that have very little mix!

Homemade Amaretto
Makes about 1 pint (can be doubled, etc)
The finished product. I had to test it, didn't I?
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee
1 cup potato vodka, or good quality grain vodka
1 tbsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine coffee with the water in a saucepan. Then add the sugars. Brin to a boil, reduce heat slightly and let simmer for 15 minutes then let cool for 15 minutes.

Stir in the vodka, almond and vanilla. Cool completely before bottling.

So what can you make with Amaretto?
Alabama Slammer
1 oz southern comfort
1 oz amaretto
1/2 oz sloe gin
splash lemon juice
serve on ice

Amaretto Sour. Photo: ReeseCLloyd, Flickr ccl
Bam-Bam Layered Shooter
1/2 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 oz amaretto
layer in a shot glass

Ocean Breeze Cocktail
1/2 oz amaretto
1 oz white rum
1 oz Blue Curacao
fill glass with ice, then pineapple juice

And for the adventurous...
Dr Pepper Cocktail
1.5 oz. beer
1.5 oz. coke
1 oz. amaretto
serve on ice


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