Friday, October 10, 2008

amaretto sour

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Guilty Pleasures" (MxMo XXXII), was chosen by Stevi from Two At The Most. Stevi gave the description as, "October's Mixology Monday will be a tribute to our guilty pleasures. Write about that one cocktail that, no matter how many times you're told it's no good for you, is the one near and dear to your heart. Feel free to celebrate your drink in all its pre-mix glory. Or try to dress it up, show us that when made right, it's a worthy drink, we've just misjudged it."

Thinking back a bit before I got into craft cocktails, one of the few hard alcohol bottles I owned was Disarono Amaretto. It was rather handy back in my grad school days in the mid to late 90's since it worked with whatever juice I happened to have on hand and amaretto is rather pleasing and unchallenging. I had no shame then ordering and quaffing a chick drink such as an amaretto sour at a dance club and it did provide a gateway to trying whiskey in the form of whiskey sours. However, this time I wanted to try to bring some dignity to this drink in two ways: one, by not using pre-fab sour mix, and two, by making my own amaretto.

The recipe I went with was from Epicurious. I cut the quantities down by four fold and adapted this batch slightly:

Homemade Amaretto
• 2 oz almonds (by weight)
• 1 tsp dried orange peel
• 1 dried apricot
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 4 oz brandy
• 2 oz vodka
• 2 oz sugar (by volume)
• 1 oz water
Grind almonds and orange peel in coffee grinder, and finely chop the apricot. Put the dry ingrients, liquors, and vanilla in a jar and steep for 6-8 weeks. Then make the 2:1 simple syrup through heating the sugar-water solution. Let cool, add to jar, strain, and finally filter through a coffee filter.

Since I did not have 6-8 weeks of notice for this project, the batch steeped for only a week and a half which is one of the reasons I cut the recipe down to only a few ounces. My ingredients notes say that I used Courvoisier VSOP Cognac and Ketel One vodka.
The recipe I went with was rather simple:

Amaretto Sour
• 2 oz amaretto
• 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain. Garnish with an orange or lemon twist.

Unlike Disarono brand, this amaretto was lighter and nuttier. Andrea noted that it had an almost bready smell to her nose. The drink itself was not cloyingly sweet and it had a greater depth of flavor than the standard store bought amarettos I have tasted. The greater flavor might also be due to how commercial brands use more essential oils and less raw materials (not to mention artificial flavorings in some cases). It would have been interesting to taste my batch after a full two months of steeping, but alas, this Mixology Monday had a deadline.

While it was the first amaretto of any sort that I have drank since I last made a Three-Legged Monkey (equal parts whiskey, amaretto, and pineapple juice) a few years ago, yes, amaretto still has a strange and guilty place in my heart.

UPDATE: Visit the MxMo 32 recap of forty-something {!} different cocktailians' guilty pleasures... Also a great way to learn about new blogs.


keith waldbauer said...

I love that you describe Amaretto as one of the first "hard" liquors in your cabinet. Well hells yes. My step-father liked Amaretto.... leave the rest to your imagination....

Making your own Amaretto? That kicks a hell of a lot of ass. Look up the Ines Cocktail online and try that out with your homemade stuff. It's one of the oddest cocktails I've ever made, but damn addicting....

RumDood said...

I too am a non-closeted fan of Amaretto. My first drinking anything "neat" was Amaretto. Ah, youth.

That recipe for making your own amaretto looks fantastic. I'll definitely be trying that in the near future.