Italian legend says the first amaretto liqueur began when one of Leonardo da Vinci’s students experienced an almond-flavored drink in the 1500s. Is there anything more authentically Italian than that?
Today, amaretto infuses some of the most famous after-dinner drinks and dessert options you can find at sophisticated, European-style restaurants.
Amaretto tastes distinctly like almonds, but this drink often does not include any nuts in its recipe. Instead, a neutral alcohol base, like vodka, combines with apricot seeds or the pit of stone fruits like peach stones.
Sometimes almonds or bitter almonds are added to the concoction. After steeping for weeks to months, the amaretto liqueur receives caramelized or burnt sugar to provide signature sweetness and its caramel color.
This fascinating, sweet liqueur perfectly finishes an elegant night out or decadent night in. Amaretto can be sipped on its own or added to favorite cocktails like an amaretto sour, Italian margarita, or amaretto stinger.
Read on to learn about my favorite almond liqueurs that make this list of the seven best amaretto liqueurs.
Disaronno Originale Amaretto
Disaronno Originale Amaretto earns its name, claiming its signature recipe dates back to 1525.
Its name comes from the Italian city, “Saronno,” where one of da Vinci’s students first tasted almond liqueur.
He was so enamored with the homemade concoction that the recipe has endured for more than 500 years.
This amaretto liqueur sets the global standard for amaretto. Often, Disaronno is used as shorthand for amaretto.
A distinctive square bottle of Disaronno will cost between $30 to $40 in grocery stores or liquor stores.
Instead of a traditional recipe, Gozio proudly uses only almonds for its amaretto liqueur recipe.
Moreover, Gozio claims to source high-quality almonds from four continents for its signature flavor.
Almonds infuse for at least two months to make Gozio Amaretto, which features no artificial extracts, ingredients, or flavors.
The heavy almond flavor of Gozio Amaretto delivers a multi-dimensional taste and aroma with a creamy, lasting finish.
Consider Gozio for drinking on its own with a side of amaretti cookies, which are sweet, Italian cookies meant to be paired with amaretto liqueur.
Caffo Amaretto sees Gozio Amaretto and Disaronno Originale Amaretto and raises the stakes even further!
Cafe Amaretto also uses only almonds for its recipe but chooses to source its nuts only from Italy.
These Sicilian almonds combine with classic baking spices to elevate Caffo Amaretto’s taste and aroma.
This brand compares its amaretto to bottling up marzipan, traditional almond-paste confections shaped into animals or fruits.
Experience the flavors of Italy with Caffo Amaretto. This brand titles its bottles with “Fratelli D’Italia,” which means “brothers of Italy.”
The distillers at Caffo wished for anyone drinking Caffo to enjoy a small taste of their homeland.
Instead of eating your amaretti cookies on the side, why not make a liqueur out of them?
That’s what Lazzaroni Amaretto does with its signature amaretto liqueur. First made in 1851, this brand represents a fresh perspective from a relative newcomer to the amaretto scene.
In addition to infused cookies, cocoa and molasses add to Lazaaroni’s distinct flavor profile.
This brand claims the honor of the best amaretto ingredient for craft cocktails from the USA Mixologist Association.
Choose sweet Lazzaroni Amaretto for delicious desserts and whimsical mixed drinks.
This brand even debuted its signature cocktail with the Lazzaroni Spring and Lazzarone.
Hiram Walker Amaretto
Like triple sec and orange liqueur, amaretto also features a wide spectrum of quality with amaretto liqueur.
Hiram Walker Amaretto represents a more affordable brand of amaretto for your cocktail shelf.
I chose this brand when first experimenting with amaretto so I wouldn’t break the bank while still deciding on my taste for this liqueur.
Hiram Walker Amaretto will cost about half as much as Disaronno but features the same flavor.
Hiram Walker combines traditional apricot seeds and almond flavors for this sweet cocktail mixer.
This brand is best for mixed drinks and desserts and is not recommended for solo sipping.
Are you looking for a bold, assertive amaretto flavor? Luxardo Amaretto features a deep, caramel taste and color that sends a message from the shelf that this amaretto means business.
I was surprised by the full-bodied flavor of this amaretto, making it one of the best amaretto liqueurs to drink on its own.
A sweet liqueur, pay attention to the almond and orange flavor and aroma from Luxardo Amaretto. Savor this amaretto to enjoy its thick, lustrous quality in your mouth and caramel finish.
Luxardo Amaretto’s beautiful bottle and gorgeous deep color make it a thoughtful gift. I love giving a bottle of Luxardo Amaretto as an unexpected treat for a retirement party or an elegant friend.
Amaretto di Amore
Speaking of gift-giving, nothing pairs better with this act of love than the amaretto of love!
This affordable amaretto is bottled in a round, faceted glass bottle, making it perfectly packaged for gifting!
Its affordable price point helps seal the deal. Amaretto di Amore will cost you about half as much as Disaronno or Luxardo bottles.
Amaretto di Amore highlights the apricot flavors of this almond liqueur. Amaretto di Amore is made from the crushed essence, or seeds, of apricots.
Legend has it that this aphrodisiac alcohol ranks as the go-to elixir for love potions and other romantic brews.
- Disaronno Originale Amaretto
- Gozio Amaretto
- Caffo Amaretto
- Lazzaroni Amaretto
- Hiram Walker Amaretto
- Luxardo Amaretto
- Amaretto di Amore
Amaretto comes from the Italian word “amaro.” Amaro means bitter in Italian, which makes the amaretto a slightly bitter liqueur. The bitterness scale of the best amaretto liqueurs varies, with more affordable bottles leaning toward a sweeter flavor profile.
Grab a classic amaretto with a bottle of Disaronno, Luxardo, or Lazzaroni. Explore the flavors of amaretto with the sweet and affordable Amaretto di Amore or Hiram Walker varieties.
Whichever amaretto brand you choose, you can’t go wrong sipping amaretto or adding to delicious cocktails and memorable desserts like tiramisu.