A liquor cabinet is like a pantry. It should contain numerous versatile ingredients that empower a gourmand to create things sweet, savory or any type of amazing. No liquor pantry is complete without an Amaretto liquor.
A Little Bitter?
Amaretto is the diminutive of amaro, meaning bitter in Italian. The word comes from mandoria amara: the bitter almond. The name of the liqueur does not come from amore, meaning love, but it's certainly okay to think of love when consuming this luscious, perfumed spirit. The pun is not unintended.
Love hurts, and cyanide also comes from the bitter almond, so consider that.
In 1525 Bernardino Luini, a student of Leonardo da Vinci, was hired to paint a fresco of Madonna of the Miracles in Saronno, Italy. He needed a model. He chose a beautiful local innkeeper. When the artwork was finished, she was awed and flattered to be at the center of it.
So she distilled a gift. In gratitude, she presented Luini with a flask of delicate, fragrant amber liqueur. Ever since, the residents of Saronno became famous for their home-infused spirits.
Centuries later, Amaretto di Saronno is the most famous of Amaretto liqueurs, although many other brands make a good version.
What Can You Do With It?
Drink it. Enjoy it. Need we say more?
At around 40-50ish proof, it's very sipable. Neat, chilled or on the rocks, it goes down smooth by itself. It's sweet and aromatic with almond up front. Apricot, caramel and herbs whisper in the background.
Too sweet for you? Shift to the classic Amaretto Sour. Add store bought or homemade sour mix to taste. Go natural and add a squeeze or two of lime, lemon or whatever citrus you got. Sweet and sour always balance well together.
Not strong enough? Talk to the Godfather. Scotch and Amaretto on the rocks. Use even parts or just season your scotch with a little. Floral and earthy make a surprisingly romantic pair.
Many liqueurs go nice with coffee. Amaretto's certainly one of them. The possibilities are endless. Amaretto and coffee alone are great, or add cognac, Irish creme, creme de cacao or whatever you like. Put it in hot chocolate.
Don't forget the Flaming Dr. Pepper: a shot of Amaretto topped with en fuego 151 dropped into a beer.
Don't' stop at drinks. Add it to cheesecake, cannoli cream, mousse and of course tiramisu.
Always have a bottle around. There's nothing you can't do with Amaretto.