Amaretto Summer Soother
Ah, summertime: Long, hot days and cold, refreshing drinks. Looking for a change from your usual summer sipper?
Who doesn't love amaretto? This sweet liqueur with its rich almond taste is used in a variety of cocktails and mixes well with other liqueurs, spirits, and juices. This recipe combines fresh lime juice and amaretto. The sweetness of the liqueur is moderated by the sourness of the lime, and the combination is terrific.
Amaretto drinks may just be the perfect tonic for a hot summer day!
- 2 ounces amaretto
- 6 ounces fresh lime juice, or limeade
- A few ice cubes
- Curl of lime peel for garnish (optional)
- Fill a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. I have a few of different shakers on hand. Whether you use a pretty crystal shaker or a functional stainless steel type, the result will be the same.
- Pour in the amaretto and lime juice.
- Shake well until the shaker is a little frosty on the outside.
- Strain the contents into an 8-ounce martini glass.
- Garnish with a curl of lime peel (optional).
- Three limes usually yield enough juice to make one drink. Strain the juice through a fine sieve to catch the tiny seeds, or if you aren't fond of pulp.
- If you are making drinks for a crowd and don’t want to juice so many limes, buy a can of good limeade from the frozen section of your local grocery store. Don’t dilute it as much as the directions on the can say, though. Typically, the directions call for four cans of water. Use three instead.
- You can also mix fresh lime juice and limeade together to come up with the number of ounces you need.
What Is Amaretto?
Amaretto is a sweet Italian liqueur that has a very distinct almond flavor, although it sometimes doesn’t contain nuts at all. Instead, the liqueur made from apricot and/or almond kernels. The kernel is the seed found inside the stone pit in fruits like peaches, apricots, and plums, as well as in almonds and olives. It is these seeds or kernels that give amaretto its bitter flavor.
The name amaretto—meaning "a little bitter"—is derived from the Italian word amaro (bitter), but this liqueur should not be confused with the Italian herb-based liqueurs called amaro. Even though amaros are sweetened, they still retain a distinctly bitter taste because of the herbs and roots, and even bark, that go into their production. Depending on the specific producer, these herbs and roots can include anise, fennel, thyme, lemon balm, and sage.
Most amaretto is made by mixing the oil of apricot kernels with alcohol, fruit, and herbs, and then aging it for a period of weeks. It is then filtered and sweetened, and often further flavored with extracts like almond. There are many amaretto recipes on the internet, and most are based on almonds and high-proof vodka and brandy.
What Is Disaronno?
Disaronno is a type of amaretto. According to the Disaronno website, their version of this wonderful liqueur was first created in 1525. Almost four centuries later, Disaronno Originale® was produced and sold in the city of Saronno in a shop established by the Reina family. The company experienced significant growth in the sales of their amaretto in the 1960s, as the liqueur became more and more popular in Europe and in the United States. The distinctive square bottle that we know so well today was first produced in the 1970s.
By the 1980s, Disaronno was second only to Kahlua in terms of U.S. liqueur sales. Today, it is the best-selling Italian liqueur in the world and one of the top sellers among all liqueurs worldwide.
Disaronno is made from alcohol, burnt sugar, and the essence of 17 selected herbs and fruits soaked in apricot kernel oil. The recipe apparently has not changed since 1525, and the exact ingredients are a closely guarded secret. In my opinion, Disaronno is the best amaretto available. It has a distinctly fruity/nutty flavor, higher viscosity, and the nose and flavor are not as alcohol-forward as some other brands.
© 2012 Kaili Bisson