Amaretto is a sweet, nutty Italian liqueur with a mild almond flavor. The liqueur is made from almonds or stone fruit pits like apricots. The liquid mixture also contains baking spices like vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves.
This unique blend makes it a versatile beverage. Amaretto can enhance chocolate and coffee-flavored desserts, such as the popular Italian dessert Tiramisu.
Of course, its primary use is as an ingredient in a variety of popular cocktails and mixed drinks.
If you have a bottle of Amaretto lying around and aren’t quite sure what to do with it, I’ve got you covered.
Best Amaretto Cocktails
Keep reading to learn more about the best Amaretto cocktails worth trying.
Perhaps the best known Amaretto cocktail is the Amaretto Sour.
It came on the scene in the 1970s and was originally a simple mixture of sour mix and Amaretto.
Nowadays, this delightful cocktail has a fresher, more complex ingredient list that includes:
- 1 ½ oz amaretto
- 1 oz lemon juice
- ½ oz triple sec
- ¾ oz simple syrup
- Dash of bitters
- Orange peel and maraschino cherry garnish
Some recipes call for a splash of bourbon which adds a warm burst of caramel and vanilla. Egg white foam is another popular albeit retro ingredient that makes for a nice top layer.
Once the ingredients have been shaken in a cocktail shaker, the mixture is poured over ice in an Old Fashioned glass.
Amaretto Sours are a little sweet and a little sour. They have a bright, refreshing, zingy taste that is easy to drink and goes down smooth.
The Italian Margarita is a refreshing take on the traditional margarita.
It contains fresh citrus juices, silver or reposado tequila, and high quality amaretto liqueur. The addition of amaretto eliminates the need for sugary syrups or sour mix and gives the cocktail a unique, nutty-sweet flavor.
The ingredient list for an Italian Margarita includes:
- 1 ½ oz of tequila
- 1 oz of amaretto liqueur
- Sugar and salt mixture
- Lemon or lime wedge for garnish
The result is a crisp, citrusy, sweet margarita that tastes like summer. Like a traditional margarita, the Italian Margarita can be served frozen, over ice, or like a martini.
I recommend adding a sugar and salt mixture along the rim for garnish. You can also keep things fresh by adding in different juices such as blood orange or grapefruit.
The Godfather is an amaretto-based cocktail that is a nod to the famous 70s-era gangster film starring Marlon Brando.
It contains only two ingredients, usually bourbon and amaretto liqueur. Some people prefer single malt whiskey or blended scotch.
Others prefer to use amaretto as a light accent to the drink rather than an equal player. In my opinion, the Godfather tastes best with an equal mix of bourbon and amaretto liqueur.
Although this cocktail is not very well-known, it is a delicious and unique take on traditional whiskey drinks.
One of my favorite cocktails is a White Russian. However, it can get a bit stale day after day.
The Toasted Almond is a great alternative that is both delicious and easy to make.
A Toasted Almond consists of:
- 1 ½ oz amaretto liqueur
- 1 ½ oz coffee liqueur
- 1-2 oz milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
The ingredients need to be shaken in a cocktail shaker to ensure they blend well and the milk froths appropriately.
Although the type and amount of dairy are really up to the drinker, most bartenders recommend using half-and-half. Non-dairy alternatives can also be used, although the final drink will have a thinner texture.
The traditional version of the Toasted Almond is a creamy cocktail that is much sweeter than a White Russian. It is light on the booze and good for sipping.
If you want to make the drink stronger, I recommend adding a shot of plain or espresso-flavored vodka.
This variation, known as the Roasted Toasted Almond or the Burnt Almond, will make you question everything you thought you knew about coffee cocktails.
One of the best amaretto cocktails that few know about is the French Connection.
It is a two-ingredient cocktail that shares its name with the 1971 movie French Connection starring Gene Hackman.
To make a French Connection, combine equal parts cognac and amaretto. Cognac is a high-quality brandy distilled from the white wine and aged in French oak barrels for up to two years.
The flavor varies depending on the manufacturer but is generally a mixture of sweet, spicy, and bitter.
The combination of cognac and amaretto makes for an elegant, strong, and sippable cocktail. The natural bitter, sweet, and nutty flavors in both alcohols play well with one another.
I recommend making this an after-dinner drink or pairing it with your dessert.
Amaretto Coffee is a fantastic cocktail to enjoy on a cold winter morning or pair with an all-you-can-eat brunch with your best friends.
It combines freshly brewed coffee, amaretto liqueur, a dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
The best amaretto cocktails enhance the warm, sweet, and bitter flavors of the other ingredients. The Amaretto Coffee does this perfectly.
Not only can you make it with any type of coffee or brewing method you prefer, but it is also basically a dessert in a cup. And who doesn’t love drinking their desserts?
If you’re a fruity, tropical cocktail person, you may think amaretto liqueur isn’t for you.
I recommend trying the Alabama Slammer, a retro amaretto-based cocktail bursting with color and fruity flavors.
The drink was created by students at the University of Alabama in the 70s. The cocktail gets a bad rap for being a cheap drink designed to get you drunk fast.
However, with the right blend of ingredients and the perfect presentation, it is a classy cocktail that is enjoyable by the pool, on the boat or tailgating.
To make an Alabama Slammer, combine bourbon, amaretto liqueur, sloe gin, ice, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a highball glass and garnish with an orange wedge and a maraschino cherry.
Amaretto Stone Sour
Another popular amaretto cocktail is the Amaretto Stone Sour.
It was created by pre-prohibition bartender Tom Bullock and is similar to the Amaretto Sour.
The original recipe calls for gin, rock candy syrup, orange juice, and lemon juice.
The modern Amaretto Stone Sour calls for:
- 1 ½ oz of amaretto
- 1 ½ oz of orange juice
- 1 ½ oz of sweet and sour mix
- Orange wedge and maraschino cherry for garnish
This is one of my favorite cocktails to sip on the patio or enjoy with brunch. It is sweet, fruity, and refreshing any time of day.
I am intimidated by the Godfather, the amaretto and the whiskey cocktail from above.
I tend to prefer the Godmother. This cocktail is mild and contains vodka instead of whiskey.
To make a Godmother, combine 1 ½ oz of vodka with ½ oz of amaretto in a glass with ice.
Higher quality vodkas are preferable because of the limited number of ingredients present in the drink.
A top-shelf vodka is going to have a smoother taste and enhance the flavors in the amaretto.
Best Amaretto Cocktails
- Amaretto Sour
- Italian Margarita
- Toasted Almond
- French Connection
- Amaretto Coffee
- Alabama Slammer
- Amaretto Stone Sour
Amaretto is an often misunderstood liqueur, which is a shame because it is a versatile and delicious beverage. It elevates the flavors in chocolatey desserts, pairs well with coffee, and makes a mean fruity, tropical drink.
Did we leave your favorite amaretto cocktail off the list? Leave a comment below and we’ll make sure to give it a try.
If amaretto isn’t your favorite, check out Pimm’s cocktails instead!
This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.