Classic Amaretto Sour Recipe (2024)

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The Amaretto Sour belongs to a family of mixed drinks known as “sours.” These sour co*cktails always have a combination of at least one spirit, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener.

Classic Amaretto Sour Recipe (1)

And it’s so easy to make. There may be someone out there who doesn’t like the taste of amaretto, but most people love this almond-flavored liqueur.

When you add lemon juice to provide contrast, it gets even better. This could become your new favorite co*cktail.

History of the Amaretto Sour

This drink was introduced by importer of Amaretto di Saronno in 1974 to encourage people to buy their bottle of amaretto. The original version just called for amaretto and lemon juice, nothing more.

It was so simple, and it’s very good. But over time, bartenders tinkered with the recipe, replacing lemon juice with sweet and sour and even adding whiskey and egg whites.

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Choosing Your Amaretto Liqueur

Amaretto is an Italian liqueur. If you’ve never had it before, the taste of it is mostly almond and slightly nutty with a hint of cherry. It’s made from either almonds or apricot pits, or both.

Amaretto di Saronno is my personal favorite. I haven’t found a brand that doesn’t taste good, but this brand has a more complex flavor than other brands I’ve tried.

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Why the Amaretto Sour Recipe Endures

There are at least three reasons people love this drink. One is that it just because this sour recipe tastes so good.

Another is that this is a drink that’s hard to get wrong. And third, having no hard liquor in it makes it light on the alcohol, which is sometimes preferable to a more intense co*cktail.

The first time I ever heard of this drink was when a friend ordered it from a bartender. Since then I’ve had several friends who considered this their go-to drink at bars and restaurants.

But you can definitely make a classic amaretto sour at home.

Classic Amaretto Sour Recipe (2)

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Make Your Own Sweet and Sour Mix

Some versions of this recipe call for sweet and sour mix. The bottled stuff usually lacks any sort of bright citrus flavor.

Fortunately, you can easily make your own sweet and sour mix at home. It will taste much better.

But if you don’t want to take the time, there’s another option. Just use fresh lemon juice and a touch of simple syrup instead.

In the case of this co*cktail, you don’t need as much syrup as lemon juice. That’s because the amaretto is sweeter than most spirits.

What about Bourbon?

Some versions of this recipe call for bourbon. It gives an extra kick to the drink and reduces the sweetness.

If you want to use bourbon, just add an ounce of it and reduce the amount of amaretto by an ounce. If you want it sweeter, add a little simple syrup to taste.

When it comes to choosing a brand, you want something that will hold up to the sweet and nutty amaretto without overwhelming it. Bulleit Bourbon has a high rye content, which works beautifully with the sweetness of amaretto.

Woodford Reserve can stand up to the strong flavors in an amaretto sour. If you want to keep some of the sweetness, go for Maker’s Mark. It’s softer and sweeter than most bourbons.

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Do you Make an Amaretto Sour With or Without Egg White Foam?

The original version of this drink didn’t call for egg whites so you can go with whatever you prefer. Let’s talk about how the egg foam version got started.

The Jeffry Morgenthaler Recipe

Bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler published his modern twist on this classic co*cktail of this recipe in 2012.

Unlike the original recipe, Morgenthaler’s version uses fresh lemon juice instead of sour mix, giving the drink a brighter and more vibrant flavor.

Instead of using regular granulated sugar, Morgenthaler opts for rich simple syrup (two parts sugar to one part water), which helps to balance the tartness of the lemon juice and the sweetness of the amaretto.

Morgenthaler also adds an egg white to his recipe, which gives the co*cktail a creamy and frothy texture, elevating it to a whole new level.

The egg version is delicious and has that great creamy, foamy mouthfeel. Just like the Whiskey Sour and Pisco Sour, when made with egg whites.

And you can use aquafaba instead of egg, which is a whipped version of the water from a can of chickpeas. No, really. It’s delicious, vegan and not as likely to give you food poisoning as a raw egg.

Dry Shaking or Beating the Egg?

In this version, I chose to suggest you beat the egg before adding it to the co*cktail shaker along with the other ingredients.

I chose this because you may want to use aquafaba instead of egg, and it’s already in a whipped state like beaten egg. Either will give you a nice foamy texture.

The dry shake method is another option some prefer. Put all the liquid ingredients, including the egg white or aquafaba, into a co*cktail shaker without ice.

Shake it very well for 30-60 seconds to beat the egg thoroughly. Then add ice and shake again to chill.

This method can actually beat down aquafaba so you lose some of the foam on top. That’s why I went with the egg beating method instead.

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Garnishing your Amaretto Sour co*cktail

If you’re going to garnish with cherries, I recommend against the bright red candy flavored ones from the grocery store aisle.

For a special touch, garnish this one with Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries. They have a light bourbon taste and aren’t too sweet. They go really well with the Amaretto Sour.

You can also use Luxardo maraschino cherries. They’re simple maraschinos, but they’re not candied into oblivion. They have a rich, complex taste.

That taste is perfect for the refreshing amaretto sour. And they’ll add a lot to any co*cktails that use cherries as garnish or for muddling, such as the Manhattan or Rob Roy.

Otherwise, garnish with a lemon twist.

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Matching the Amaretto Sour with food

The almond flavor of amaretto dominates this drink, so this classic drink can clash with some recipes. You can definitely enjoy this drink all by itself.

But it can also be the co*cktail around which you organize a whole dinner party. Serve it with salty bar snacks, or mildly sweet desserts like tiramisu, cheesecake or a chocolate croissant.

Either of those will make a nice contrast with the taste of this sour recipe. It’s also great with a meat and cheese or charcuterie board. Grilled salmon is smoky and rich, and that makes a great contrast with the sweet and salty flavors of your drink.

Occasions to Serve the Amaretto Sour

The Amaretto Sour co*cktail is a versatile and delicious drink that can be enjoyed on many occasions, such as:

  • House Party: This is a perfect co*cktail for a house party or gathering with friends. Its sweet and sour flavor is enjoyed by many and can be a great ice breaker.

  • Dinner parties: It’s also a terrific for dinner parties, especially if you’re serving Italian cuisine. The almond flavor of the Amaretto can complement many dishes nicely.

  • Happy Hour / co*cktail Hour: serve this co*cktail for an afternoon or early evening pick-me-up, or as an aperitif.
  • Summer afternoons: This is a refreshing co*cktail to enjoy on a warm summer afternoon, perhaps during a barbecue or a picnic.

  • Date nights: If you’re looking for a classy yet simple co*cktail to make on a date night, the Amaretto Sour could be a good choice.

  • Holidays: This co*cktail can also be suitable for special occasions or holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Thanksgiving.

Other Great co*cktails if you Love Amaretto Sours

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You should check out some of the other great co*cktails in the sours family, like the classic Whiskey Sour. It’s a bit less sweet than this one, but it will grow on you.

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Or if it’s mainly just the amaretto flavor you love, try the Nilla Wafer Martini, which features amaretto along with vanilla vodka.

Classic Amaretto Sour Recipe (8)

There’s also the Amaretto Stone Sour, which is very similar to this recipe except it adds orange juice.

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Yield: 1 drink

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

The recipe for an Amaretto Sour is mostly sweet with enough sour to make it interesting. It's a classic co*cktail featuring amaretto and lemon juice.



  1. Optional: If you're using egg, beat your egg white to a foam. If using Aquafaba, make it just before preparing the drink.
  2. Fill a co*cktail shaker with ice.
  3. Pour the amaretto, lemon juice and simple syrup into the shaker filled with ice, along with beaten egg or aquafaba if you're including either.
  4. Shake vigorously until chilled - about 15-20 seconds without egg, 30 seconds with.
  5. Fill a glass with ice and strain the mixture into it.
  6. Finally, garnish with an orange round and/or maraschino cherry.


  • This drink is best served chilled. If you want to keep it cold longer, put it in the freezer until ready to serve.
  • It's important to shake the ingredients together thoroughly in your co*cktail shaker before adding them to the glass.

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Read Next:

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Classic Amaretto Sour Recipe (2024)
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