I have mixed feelings about the Amaretto Sour. On one hand, it would never make my top 10 list of favourite cocktails and yet – and this is a big yet – drinking one always makes me happy.
This conflict is due to its simplicity. There are only two key ingredients – lemon juice and amaretto – and it’s the balance of the lemon’s sourness and the amaretto’s nutty sweetness that makes this work. I appreciate how pared back this is and yet, as with anything that comes too easily, I don’t entirely respect it.
Amaretto fans might argue there’s more to it, however, since the liquor also has an underlying bitterness that I like to accentuate by adding a dash or two of bitters.
There are a number of amarettos you can use for this cocktail but I’m using Disaronno Originale at the moment (and here’s a nerdy fact: even though Disaronno tastes like almonds and many call it an almond liqueur, it doesn’t contain almonds at all. Instead, it contains apricot kernel oil, burnt sugar, and what the company calls the “essence of 17 selected herbs and fruits”).
The proportion of amaretto and lemon juice varies from recipe to recipe but I like the following sugar-free recipe that results in a tart, sour – but not too sour – cocktail that has a nice tang to it:
Prep Time: 3 minutes
- 45ml (one and a half shots) of amaretto
- 30ml lemon juice
- dash of bitters (Angostura or orange bitters work well)
If I feel like a bit of colour and sweetness and there’s no-one around to judge me, then I’ll also add a tiny dash of grenadine. Shake the ingredients and either strain into a martini glass or, as the photo shows, throw the lot with ice into a tumbler and voila! If you want to be girlish, you can rim the glass with sugar (a little lemon juice around the rim will help the sugar stick) and pop in a cherry (actually, I'd argue a real man wouldn't be threatened by a cherry in his glass – but that's a debate I won't go into just now).