Amaretto is a liqueur made in Italy. It is sweet in taste and contains the flavor of almonds. The amaretto recipe insists on using either almond or apricot pits. Both of them are also used together occasionally.
The name, is believed to have been derived from the Italian word, amaro which means bitter. The use of bitter almonds or the drupe kernel in amaretto lends the liqueur its name. However, the taste is not too bitter as it is suitably enhanced by a number of sweeteners including the sweet almond which is added during the final stage as specified by the amaretto recipe.
A good quality ingredient also contains liquorices while caramels or a combination of other fruits are often included to provide a variation to the recipes. Thickeners like the glycerin are frequently added to the liqueur as is anise and fennel for imparting additional flavors.
History Of Amaretto Recipe
The ingredient is believed to have made in Italy back in the 1500s. However, the North Americans could get to taste it only in 1960 and the liqueur went on to become very popular across the nation. It is used in a variety of cocktails apart from having a variety of culinary uses as well.
There are many legends associated with the recipes with the most popular being a gift from the widowed innkeeper to Bernardino Luini, a pupil of the noted painter Leonardo Da Vinci.
Culinary Uses Of Amaretto
It is one of the most popular ingredients included in cocktails and is second only to Kahlua when it comes to the sales figures in USA. There are a number of culinary uses for the liqueur as well with the common ones being:-
- It is often added to the desserts and tastes well with ice creams. The almond flavor of the liqueur also complements the chocolate and Tiramisu, the Italian cake is flavored with the traditional amaretto or the non alcoholic variety.
- Chicken dishes are also cooked with the ingredient but the recipes can bring out the flavors of other meat based dishes equally well.
- Adding a few shots of the liqueur to the pancake batter gives it a richer flavor.
- It is also frequently added to fish and vegetables cooked with almondine sauces.
Popular Amaretto Recipe
The ingredient is often served by itself on the rocks or added to coffee during winters. A number of popular cocktails make use of the amaretto recipe with the French connection, a mixture of cognac and the liqueur being a popular one. Godchild, godmother and godfather are all variations of the liqueur based cocktails too which differ from each other in their choice of hard liquor.
Popular amaretto recipe that can be enhanced by the addition of the ingredient are:-
- Chicken and Noodles- Boneless chicken slices cooked with an assortment of vegetables, amaretto and mushrooms and served over hot creamy noodles.
- Torte- A chocolate crusted cheesecake baked with the ingredient and almonds.
- Spinach Salad- The liqueur adds the flavor of almonds to the vinaigrette dressing that is served with a fresh or wilted spinach salad.
Nutritional Facts Of Amaretto
Amaretto contains sugars and is high on energy. The presence of apricots or almonds makes the amaretto healthier than hard liquor and it is considered to be energy giving. There is absolutely no fat or protein present in the drink if consumed by itself but adding it to creamy coffee or sweetened desserts increases the calorie intake considerably. A single serving of the liqueur contains 130 calories on an average.
Buying And Storing Amaretto
It is marketed under various brand names with Disaronno Originale being the most popular. Known for its characteristic bitter sweet flavor, this liqueur is manufactured in Saronno but sold world wide. There are no almonds present in this brand of liqueur though which makes it safe for people suffering from nut related allergies.
Lazzaroni Amaretto, Casoni,Dekuyper and Hiram Walker are some of the other known brands of the liqueur.
Some people prefer making their own brand at home while the others get it from the shops that specialize in selling liqueur. The ideal way of storing amaretto is to keep it firmly sealed and placed in a cool and dry place for almost two weeks before it can be used.
Keeping it within a closet or the dark interior of a cupboard is recommended as the presence of light might result in an altering the taste. Shaking the bottle vigorously every twenty four hours will help the ingredients to blend properly too. This is mostly required for the home made liqueurs as the branded ones do not need further blending.
The character of Jackie Moon played by Will Ferrell in the movie ’Semi Pro’ gets drunk on Amaretto Sours.