Cocktail of the Month: Bourbon Amaretto Sour


Amaretto originated in Saronno, Italy, during the Renaissance. The most well-known brand, DiSaronno, is named after its birthplace. According to DiSaronno’s website, “artist Bernardino Luini was commissioned to paint a fresco of the Madonna of the Miracles in Saronno. To portray the Madonna, he chose a local innkeeper as his muse. As a mark of her gratitude, she prepared a special gift for the artist, namely, a flask full of an amber liqueur.” The legend of Amaretto was born. The spirit, as well as the fresco, have both survived until today.

Although amaretto did not arrive in the U.S. until the 1960s, its presence is marked by an annual holiday. National Amaretto Day is celebrated on April 19, which falls two days after Easter Sunday this year.

So why not start the celebration early with a fresh spring cocktail while donning your Easter bonnet? Many folks are familiar with the amaretto sour, which pairs the nutty liqueur with lemon juice or sour mix. Despite the addition of citrus, this tipple can still be overly cloying.

Difford’s cocktail guide asserts that amaretto’s “almond and vanilla flavor mixes brilliantly with dark spirits – particularly whiskey.” A lovely way to put some mettle in your amaretto cocktail is by adding some bourbon. Think of it as an elevated take on the classic whiskey sour. The bourbon bolsters the liqueur and gives it a toothsome edge.

The key to making it a bright and refined drink is by following the vintage sour recipe of fresh lemons, juice and an egg white. The result is a balanced frothy, sweet, sour, nutty and strong cocktail.

This Easter I’ll be making a nostalgic amaretto toast to my brother, whose birthday coincidentally falls on that day. Cheers to family secrets!

Bourbon Amaretto Sour

1.5 oz amaretto

1 oz bourbon

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon brown sugar

½ oz. egg white

Add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice then strain back into the shaker and shake again without ice. Pour into a glass over ice. Garnish with lemon.

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