Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you’re allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It’s like killing yourself, and then you’re reborn. I guess I’ve lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now.Charles Bukowski
Amaretto is an Italian drink that revels in its almond flavor and slightly bitter aftertaste. In fact, the name, “amaretto” translates into something like “little bitter one” as it comes from the Italian word “amaro”, meaning bitter. But, interestingly, the word is also very similar to the Italian word for love, which is “amore”.
This drink can be used to create cocktails and delicious desserts or be delightful just on its own. With a long history and variety of uses, this liquor deserves a day of its own.
Let’s learn about its history and celebrate National Amaretto Day!
History of National Amaretto Day
Amaretto is a liquor that is made with almonds, apricot pits and sometimes peach pits, and is distilled from those fruits and nuts before being sweetened. It is popularly served on its own over ice, blended with various mixers, or even used for baking desserts.
Amaretto has a legend connected to it that goes back to the 14th century, which is during the time of the Renaissance in Italy. As the famous brand name implies, the original was created in the city of Saronno. Legend has it that, in 1525, a Saronno church commissioned Bernardino Luini, a pupil of Leonardo da Vinci, to paint its sanctuary. For one of his many frescoes, Luini has used one of the innkeepers (who was a widow) as a reference for the depiction of Madonna, the mother of Christ.
The innkeeper/widow was pleased to have her likeness used and, out of gratitude, she distilled apricot kernels into brandy and gave the drink to the artist as a gift. While the story may be more of a legend than actually based on truth, it is true that Saronno, Italy is famous for this kind of liquor and distributes this drink all over the world!
National Amaretto Day lets people explore the various delectable ways that amaretto can be enjoyed. This kind of liqueur is frequently used in desserts and is a complementary flavor to chocolate or coffee.
For instance, authentic tiramisu is made with Italian amaretto as an enhancer to the coffee flavor that is already present. It can also be used in savory dishes and is most often used as part of a cocktail recipe, such as an Amaretto Sour or a French Connection.
How to Celebrate National Amaretto Day
Of course, celebrating National Amaretto Day is a simple and enjoyable activity. Just grab a bottle of a favorite brand, grab some family or friends, and get started!
Try an Amaretto Drink
What better way to celebrate this day than with a classic Amaretto Sour in hand?
To make this drink, use 4 ounces of Amaretto, one tablespoon of squeezed lemon juice, one tablespoon of maple syrup, and then add sparkling water and bitters. Shake in a cocktail shaker, pour into a nice glass over ice.
Other ways to enjoy the drink including serving it on its own over ice for a sweet, fruity, dessert-like drink. Toss a shot of amaretto into a tall glass and then fill the glass with a favorite brand of cola. Dessert lovers might like an Almond Joy that combines amaretto, creme de cacao and coconut rum, plus a little bit of cream.
Make Homemade Amaretto
Don’t worry, there’s no need for a still or a distillery! Making amaretto at home is actually fairly easy. Of course, this isn’t exactly the same as the ‘Made in Italy’ versions that can be purchased at the liquor store– but some people actually think it is even better. In any case, it’s a great substitute for the person who only has vodka on hand and feels like baking a tiramisu.
Add 1 cup each of water and white sugar to ½ cup of brown sugar and bring to a boil until crystals are dissolved. After cooling for 10 minutes, stir in 2 cups vodka, 2 tablespoons of almond extract and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Voila! Amaretto that was made at home can be used for cooking or even poured into a pretty bottle and given as a hand-made gift.
Try Baking with Amaretto
This delicious drink is great for more than just drinking! As mentioned above, it is also used in tiramisu or other delectable desserts. Try using it in cheesecake, pound cake, chocolate chunk cookies or brownies. Because of the almond and fruit flavors inherent in the drink, amaretto also pairs nicely with gingerbread, biscotti, or even can be used in cannoli.
Check Out Different Amaretto Brands
Celebrating National Amaretto Day offers many different options. Several different brands have amaretto liqueurs on offer, including:
- DiSaronno Originale. Probably the most well known, as the brand name is named after the city where the drink originated from, the Italian family, (the Reinas) has been making their drinks since the 1600’s and the company began in 1900.
- DeKuypers. This Dutch company has been in business since 1695 and uses natural flavors in its drinks.
- Lazzaroni. Another Italian company that continues to make and bottle their drinks in Saronno, Italy, as it has since 1851.
Those who enjoy these drinks should be sure to share them with friends! Let them know how special National Amaretto Day is and have fun with all things amaretto.