Amaretto Sour Drink Recipe: Master the Classic Cocktail


An Amaretto Sour is a classic cocktail that offers a delightful balance of sweet and tart flavors. This drink masterfully combines amaretto, a sweet Italian almond-flavored liqueur, with the crispness of fresh lemon juice. To enhance the flavor, a touch of simple syrup is often added. The result is a refreshing and easy-to-sip cocktail that’s as suited to a sophisticated dinner party as it is to a casual gathering with friends.

This cocktail has stood the test of time, being popular among a variety of drinkers for its smooth and accessible taste. While its roots remain a bit of a mystery, the Amaretto Sour has become a staple in the cocktail world. Not only is it beloved for its taste, but also for its simplicity in preparation, requiring only a few key ingredients and some basic bartending techniques.

Key Takeaways

  • Amaretto Sour is a harmonious mix of almond-flavored liqueur with lemon juice.
  • Its simplicity in preparation makes it a popular choice for many occasions.
  • The cocktail is adaptable, with variations to suit different tastes and dietary needs.

History and Origin

The Amaretto Sour is a testament to the enduring appeal of Italian liqueurs and the innovation in classic cocktail recipes. This section explores the drink’s Italian roots and its transformation over time.

Italian Liqueur

Italy has a long history of creating fine liqueurs, with amaretto being one of its most recognized contributions. Traditionally made from apricot pits, almonds, or a combination of both, amaretto offers a distinctive sweet and slightly bitter almond flavor. The most renowned amaretto brand, Amaretto di Saronno, claims origin stories dating back to the Renaissance.

Evolution of Amaretto Sour

The Amaretto Sour as we know it began to take shape in the 1970s. Initially a simple mixture of amaretto liqueur and lemon juice, it struck a chord for its balance of sweetness and tartness. As time passed, the recipe evolved. Notable bartenders like Jeffrey Morgenthaler contributed to its resurgence with their own twists, enhancing its complexity and bringing the drink back into the limelight of the cocktail world.


Creating the perfect Amaretto Sour requires a blend of specific ingredients that ensure a balance between sweet, sour, and almond flavors. Here are the key components:

Amaretto Liqueur

The foundation of the drink is amaretto liqueur, an Italian spirit known for its sweet almond flavor. Typically, one would use about 1.5 to 2 ounces per cocktail.

Citrus Component

For the sour element, freshly squeezed lemon juice is preferred, giving the cocktail a fresh and tangy taste. Lemon juice interacts with the amaretto to create a harmonious blend.

Sweetening Agent

Simple syrup, a mixture of equal parts sugar and water, is added to balance the tartness of the lemon juice. Some recipes may call for a spoonful of sugar or sour mix, but simple syrup allows for more control over the sweetness.

Additional Components

An egg white is sometimes included for a richer texture, creating a frothy layer on top of the drink. A dash of bitters can add depth to the flavor profile. A variation can be made using sweet and sour mix, either store-bought or a homemade sweet and sour mix, for convenience.

Preparation Techniques

The right preparation techniques are crucial for crafting the perfect Amaretto Sour cocktail. This section will guide readers through the mixing method, how to properly shake and strain the drink, as well as the finishing touches for serving and presentation.

Mixing Method

One begins the preparation of an Amaretto Sour with the mixing method. They combine Amaretto, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup in a shaker. Precision is key; too much of one ingredient can overshadow the others. The recommended balance typically starts with a ratio of 1:1:1, which one can adjust according to taste preferences.

Shaking and Straining

Once the ingredients are mixed, the cocktail is given a dry shake (shaking without ice) to create a frothy texture. After the dry shake, ice is added, and the mix is shaken once more. The straining process follows, where the cocktail is strained into a glass to remove the ice, leaving a smooth and chilled drink.

Serving and Presentation

The Amaretto Sour is then served in a rocks glass filled with ice. As for garnish, a classic touch includes an orange slice and a maraschino cherry or a lemon twist, which adds to both the flavor and the overall aesthetic. The final presentation should look appealing with a frothy top layer, hinting at the intricate preparation process behind it.

Taste and Texture

The Amaretto Sour cocktail is well-loved for its delightful balance of sweet and sour flavors. The almond flavor of amaretto liqueur brings a rich, nutty taste that is the heart of the drink. Amaretto itself is sweet, but when mixed with lemon juice, the result is a refreshing tartness that brightens the sweetness.

The texture of an Amaretto Sour can be quite unique. Some recipes include an egg white, which, when shaken, adds a frothy layer atop the drink. This frothiness gives the beverage a smooth and slightly creamy feel, contrasting the liquid’s underlying bite. The drink remains crisp and light but less creamy without the egg white.

A typical Amaretto Sour recipe might include the following:

  • Amaretto
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Simple Syrup or Sugar
  • Optional Egg White
  • Cherry or Orange Slice for Garnish

These ingredients combine to create a rich flavor profile. Instead of using a pre-made sour mix, fresh lemon juice is preferred for the best taste sensation. With every sip, one can expect a sweet start that quickly mingles with a zesty sourness. This interplay is what makes the Amaretto Sour a favorite for those who enjoy complexity in their drinks.

Variations and Modifications

When crafting an Amaretto Sour, one can explore various tweaks to the classic recipe to suit personal tastes or experiment with different flavor profiles.

Amaretto Stone Sour

The Amaretto Stone Sour adds a refreshing twist by introducing orange juice and sprite for a burst of citrus and a fizzy kick. This variation typically consists of:

  • 1.5 oz Amaretto
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • A splash of sprite for carbonation

The sprite injects a light effervescence that makes the drink more refreshing.

Whiskey Amaretto Sour

For those who enjoy a more robust flavor, the Whiskey Amaretto Sour incorporates bourbon into the mix. Here’s a simple recipe:

  • 1.5 oz Amaretto
  • 3/4 oz bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • A half-ounce of egg white or aquafaba for frothiness

The bourbon adds a complex depth to the cocktail, pairing well with the nuttiness of the Amaretto.

Non-Alcoholic Options

For a non-alcoholic take on the Amaretto Sour, one can substitute the liqueur and whiskey with almond-flavored syrup and non-alcoholic spirits. The egg whites or aquafaba can still be used to achieve that signature froth:

  • 1.5 oz almond syrup
  • Non-alcoholic spirit, to taste
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • A half-ounce of aquafaba

This version maintains the sweet and tangy balance of the Amaretto Sour without the alcohol content.

Pairings and Occasions

The Amaretto Sour is a versatile cocktail that pairs well with a variety of foods and fits seamlessly into several types of gatherings.

Food Pairings

Savory: For a party or happy hour, amaretto sour cocktails complement salty and savory appetizers like almonds or cheese platters. Sweet: If one enjoys cooking during the holidays, an Amaretto Sour pairs delightfully with desserts such as almond biscotti or chocolate.

Event Suggestions

Casual Gatherings: An Amaretto Sour is perfect for a laid-back cocktail hour with friends. Special Occasions: During the holidays, serving Amaretto Sours can add a touch of sophistication to the celebration.

Health and Dietary Considerations

When making an Amaretto Sour, one should consider the drink’s alcohol content, calorie count, and potential allergens. Substitutes may be necessary for those with specific dietary restrictions or preferences.

Alcohol Content

Amaretto Sour is a cocktail that typically contains almond-flavored liqueur known as Amaretto, which has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of about 20-28%. This is less potent than cask-strength bourbon or other spirits, but it’s important to be aware of the amount one is consuming, especially for those monitoring their alcohol intake.

Calorie Information

The calorie content of an Amaretto Sour can vary, but on average, a single serving contains approximately 200-300 calories. The bulk of these calories come from the liquor and the added sugars in the mix. Here’s a brief breakdown:

  • Amaretto liqueur: roughly 110 calories per ounce
  • Simple syrup: around 49 calories per tablespoon
  • Lemon juice: approximately 7 calories per ounce

Allergies and Substitutes

Amaretto is made from almonds, so those with nut allergies should avoid it. For a nut-free Amaretto Sour, consider using a substitute like almond-free liqueur with a similar taste profile. Additionally, note that some store-bought sour mixes may contain sodium for those reducing sodium intake, so one may opt to make their own mix with fresh ingredients to better control the sodium content.

Professional Tips

In crafting the perfect Amaretto Sour, heed the advice of seasoned bartenders and ensure your home bar is stocked with the right essentials. These insider tips will help elevate your cocktail from good to exceptional.

Bartender’s Advice

  • Sweetener: A careful balance is key. Bartenders often reach for simple syrup to add a touch of sweetness that complements the amaretto’s rich flavor. Using too much can overpower the other elements, so they suggest starting with less and adjusting to taste.
  • Amaretto Selection: Not all amarettos are created equal. While Disaronno is a popular choice known for its smoothness, bartenders recommend experimenting with different brands to find one’s personal preference, which could alter the final taste of the cocktail.

Home Bar Essentials

  • Amaretto: This almond-flavored liqueur is the star of the show, so they always have a bottle on hand.
  • Sweetener: Simple syrup or a natural sweetener to dial in the desired sweetness level.
  • Citrus: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is a must for that bright, tart flavor.
  • Cherries: They suggest having brandied cherries available for an authentic garnish that adds both elegance and a burst of flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides clear answers to common questions about preparing an Amaretto Sour cocktail, from ingredients to variations.

What ingredients are used to make an Amaretto Sour?

An Amaretto Sour traditionally requires Amaretto, a sweet, almond-flavored Italian liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and a sweetener like simple syrup. Many recipes include an egg white for a frothy top.

How can you create a simple and easy Amaretto Sour?

One can make an easy Amaretto Sour by shaking Amaretto, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice. Strain into a glass with ice and garnish with a cherry or orange slice.

What variations can be made to the classic Amaretto Sour recipe?

Various twists to the classic recipe include adding a splash of bourbon, using different types of citrus, or incorporating flavored simple syrups to create a unique taste profile.

How does adding a mixer like Sprite change the taste of an Amaretto Sour?

Adding Sprite or another carbonated beverage to an Amaretto Sour makes the drink lighter and fizzier, with a milder taste compared to the sharpness of the traditional sour mix.

What are some recommended brands of amaretto for making an Amaretto Sour?

Popular brands like Disaronno are often recommended for making Amaretto Sour drinks due to their consistent quality and rich flavor that complements the sour elements well.

Can you suggest any cocktail recipes that are similar to an Amaretto Sour?

For those who enjoy Amaretto Sour, cocktails like the Whiskey Sour or other sour cocktails provide a similar balance of sweetness and acidity with different base spirits.