The Amaretto sour has been a fan favorite since the ’70s and it’s still one of the best cocktails ever made. While it’s not as popular today as it was back then, it’s still on every bar menu you’ll ever see.
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What is Amaretto Sour?
Amaretto sour is a beautiful, sweet ’70s cocktail that combines the Italian Amaretto liqueur with lemon juice and simple syrup. It used to be a fan favorite, until the public shifted towards less sweet drinks like the Cosmo. But the Amaretto sour still lives on, and for some it’s the absolute perfect drink.
You can easily find versions that call for a pre-made sweet and sour mix, and those usually come out too sweet. This recipe uses simple syrup and lemon juice, and you can adapt it to your preferences. It still comes out sweet, but you can cut the syrup in half if you prefer less sweet drinks. And, if you’re looking for more of a sour note do 2:1 lemon to syrup.
Some Amaretto sours call for egg white, for a silky finish and a nice foam head. This recipe doesn’t but feel free to add an egg white if you want.
Amaretto Sour Cocktail Recipe
A sweet and sour cocktail, with an almond overtone.
- 1.5 oz Amaretto
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 1 oz lemon juice
- Fill a rocks glass halfway with ice, set aside.
- In a shaker combine Amaretto, lemon, syrup, and ice. Shake very well.
- Strain into rocks glass.
Some Amaretto sours call for egg white, this one does not. But if you want to add it, add it before you shake everything so the whites emulsify into a foam.
When is this drink best ?
I think the Amaretto sour is an amazing summer cocktail, especially a summer evening one. It’s fun, it’s sweet, it’s got a sour edge to it, and it goes with pretty much anything. The first time I had it, I was at an Italian restaurant and had the most amazing porcini and leek pasta you could imagine. The Amaretto completed the evening for me.
My thoughts on Amaretto Sour
I love the Amaretto sour, partly because I love Amaretto on its own, and partly because I love sweet and sour cocktails. This particular one comes out sweet if you follow the recipe step by step, but for me it was the best. I use simple syrup, which isn’t as potent as rich syrup so keep that in mind when you’re making your own drink.
In terms of flavor the Amaretto sour is very almond-forward (or apricot stones, depending on the brand). Another way to describe the overall flavor would be honey, since for some reason I feel like honey has a similar flavor to Amaretto. The next thing you notice is the tartness of the lemon juice, but it’s well balanced by the syrup. Overall a well balanced drink, with a beautiful flavor.
If you like Amaretto Sour, you might also like…
Italian Margarita – a Margarita with Amaretto
Vodka Sour – a smooth, delicious cocktail
Rum Sour – another twist on the sour template
Mai Tai – orgeat may remind you of Amaretto
Bitter Mai Tai – a slightly less sweet version
Notes, substitutes, and tips
The recipe calls for simple syrup, but I think honey syrup would be an improvement. It blends well with the Amaretto flavor, and pairs great with lemon juice.
If you want to upgrade this drink, consider splitting the spirit base, using 1 oz Amaretto and 0.5 oz Campari or Aperol. This way you get a deeper, more complex flavor that will pair nicely with the Amaretto base. If you use Aperol keep in mind it’s much sweeter than Campari.
Don’t use the sweet and sour pre-made, it always comes out too sweet and the ‘sour’ in it isn’t acidic or sour enough. Fresh lemon is always better.