Amaretto is a liqueur made from almonds, bitter almond extract, spices, herbs, alcohol, sugar, and water. It is one of the best-known digestives made by hand in Italy.
Almost every grandmother has a recipe for amaretto liqueur, but these homemade bottles of liqueur are becoming harder to find. With them go not only the traditions, but also the care and quality of a homemade product that has nothing in common with liqueurs made in factories.
Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to make a classic amaretto liqueur at home today. As the name suggests, it must be a liqueur and not too sweet or, even worse, mushy.
Always, 96-degree alcohol must be used to macerate the almonds and pull out their smells and tastes. If you put the almonds in an infusion of grappa or vodka, the result will be much less satisfying: they will have to stay longer, and the flavor won’t be as rich and elegant.
Remember that sugar is added to liqueurs by distilleries and liquor companies to cut costs and soften the taste. You’ve been making a high-quality artisan liqueur that you can use in great cocktails or give to family and friends. However, you’ve only been making small amounts because you’re not in it for the money.
So you can spend a little more and still make a great product.
Having said that, I’ll say a few words about the ingredients, which are spices, herbs, and other plants. Put what you like, and that can be good if it suits your taste. You might like the taste of almonds, vanilla, and coconut all together. You can put whatever you want into the alcohol, but don’t overdo it. The almonds are the main attraction.
Bitter almonds are toxic, don’t use them
And now let’s dispel a myth. In the bottles of amaretto di Saronno, there are no almonds born from almond trees, but only aromas. It is made with a syrup of bitter almonds, which are nothing more than the seeds of apricot kernels.
However, bitter almonds contain a poisonous and toxic substance, amygdalin, so do not experiment with these dangerous substances with DIY just because some have said that amygdalin has anti-cancer properties.
Consult a doctor or nutritionist if you want reliable information, but don’t go crazy with dangerous homemade recipes. If you want to make the amaretto liqueur, use real almonds and a small dose of bitter almond extract or other bittering botanicals; there are a thousand of them.
Ingredients and doses for making homemade amaretto liqueur
- 4 liters of alcohol at 96 °
- 3 kg of sugar
- 3.5 liters of water
- 1 kg of sweet almonds
é 6 tablespoons of bitter almond extract
- 1 vanilla bean, optional
é 1 cinnamon stick, optional
How to make homemade amaretto liqueur
How to Make Amaretto Liqueur at Home
You can buy both peeled and almonds with peel; if you choose the latter, which costs less and peels in 15 minutes, you are doing it right
Bring a pot of water to a boil, immerse the almonds with peel for a minute, drain, dry, and peel them effortlessly.
Coarsely chop them with a sharp knife.
You will need a large container with a lid, so plan ahead.
Pour the alcohol into the container and add the chopped almonds, the chopped cinnamon, and the vanilla bean.
Close the lid and leave it to infuse for 40 days. Remember to shake the mixture once a week.
After 40 days of alcohol infusion, filter the alcohol.
Mix the water and sugar until you get a thick syrup. If you want, heat it slightly, but to make the sugar syrup, just mix equal quantities of sugar and water without cooking.
Add the sugar syrup to the flavored alcohol, stir, seal again, and let it rest for at least 100 days.
Like all bitters and liqueurs, it finds softness while it rests in the bottle, so don’t rush.
If it is too bitter or alcoholic, add syrup and a drop of water, but with these doses, it is perfect. It shouldn’t be too bitter, sweet, or alcoholic.
Do not do strange and dangerous experiments with bitter almonds; they sell the extract online, which costs a maximum of 3–4 euros.
How to serve the amaretto liqueur
Amaretto is a perfect liqueur when served as a digestive at 14 degrees like a shot or, if it’s summer, you can serve it in small cups with 1 cl of lemon juice, soda and 3 cl of amaretto with an ice cube.
What cocktails to make with amaretto?
If you want to make cocktails, you are spoiled for choice. There are some historic amaretto-based cocktail recipes, such as the Godfather, French Connection, Godmother, Blind Monkey, Alabama Slammer, Amaretto Flip Cocktail, and the legendary Amaretto Sour.