Disco, polyester and platform shoes weren’t the only things to come out of the 1970s. A nutty, slightly sweeter twist on the Whiskey Sour, the Amaretto Sour, found massive popularity in the 70s. Though the exact who, what and when of the recipe’s creation remain clouded in a fog of bourbon, amaretto (an Italian almond liqueur) and lemon juice, the cocktail lives on thanks to nostalgic bartenders who are keeping the nutty-tangy cocktail alive.
While the Amaretto Sour has gotten a bad rap as a too sweet, college dive bar staple, we’re here to set the record straight on this tasty classic cocktail. When made with quality ingredients, it makes for a sweet, tart, balanced cocktail that tastes delicious alongside lighter desserts after a big meal. We recommend using overproof bourbon if you want the cocktail to have a little more bite, and always mix it with fresh squeezed lemon juice to make the tangiest, most irresistible version of the drink possible.
Even though amaretto has an almondy, nutty taste, most versions of the liqueur aren’t made from almonds at all. In fact, most of that flavor comes from apricot pits. Disaronno Originale is the most common bottling and works great in the Amaretto Sour, but there are other versions worth exploring if your local liquor store has an expansive selection. We love Luxardo Amaretto (which is actually made from Sicilian almonds), Giffard Amaretto and Lazzaroni Amaretto, which gets its flavor from the Lazzaroni family’s amaretto cookie recipe, peach pits and no artificial flavors whatsoever. Or, if you want to get really crafty, you can make your own amaretto at home.