Amaretto Sour

Here’s the perfect amaretto sour recipe that will impress everyone! It’s got just the right balance of amaretto with bourbon and lemon.

Amaretto sour

Introducing: the perfect amaretto sour! Are you burned from those syrupy amaretto sours made with sweet and sour mix? Let us be the first to convince you: made correctly, this drink can be one of the best cocktails out there. It’s tangy and sweet tart, with a hint of almond from the amaretto that’s toned down by the secret ingredient: bourbon. I didn’t think I liked amaretto sours: until I tasted this one. If you’re not drinking your amaretto sour this way: well, it’s time to start!

What’s in an amaretto sour?

An amaretto sour is one in the family of sour cocktails. Sours are defined as three parts: liquor, citrus, and sweetener. The most well-known of all sours is the Classic Whiskey Sour. But there are so many more without “sour” in the name: like the Classic Margarita, Mojito, and more. Behind the Pisco Sour, the Amaretto Sour is probably the next most popular in the sour family. The ingredients for an amaretto sour are:

  • Amaretto (Italian almond liqueur)
  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Lemon juice
  • Simple syrup or maple syrup
  • Egg white
Amaretto sour

The secret ingredient: a hint of bourbon!

Many amaretto sour recipes call for only amaretto. This makes for a straightforward almond flavor that can be a little overpowering. The secret? Balance it out with bourbon! The bourbon whiskey provides just the right notes of oak, vanilla and caramel to balance the almond notes. It makes for a rich and complex flavored drink!

Cousin drinks: Whiskey Sour, Vodka Sour, Tequila Sour

There is an entire cocktail family called sour cocktails, and within that are those that actually have the word “Sour” in the title. They are all very similar to the amaretto sour, which of course uses amaretto liqueur. The Whiskey Sour, Boston Sour, Vodka Sour, Tequila Sour, Pisco Sour and Gin Sour all have similar elements with the amaretto sour, except for the types of liquor:

  • Lemon for the sour element
  • Simple syrup (we also like to substitute maple syrup as a natural sweetener, which also adds nuanced complexity)
  • Egg white foam topping, a classic 1920’s move to add a creamy rich flavor and frothy surface texture
  • Bitters, which add complexity to the flavor

Another related drink? The light and fruity Amaretto Stone Sour, which adds orange juice and uses sour mix.

Amaretto sour

How to make an amaretto sour (basic steps)

The amaretto sour is quick and easy to make: the only time involved is juicing the citrus and separating out the egg white! Here are the basic steps (or jump to the recipe):

  1. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 15 seconds without ice.
  2. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake again for 30 seconds.
  3. Strain into a glass and garnish. Voila!

The technique above is a fancy way to get that beautiful frothy white foam on top. Keep reading for how…

A “dry shake” makes the best egg white foam

Bartenders have added egg whites to cocktails since the 1860’s to add a frothy texture to the surface, as well as a creamy rich flavor. How to get the perfect foam? The best frothy egg white form is achieved by doing a Dry Shake. You’ll use in lots of classic cocktail recipes like the Gin Fizz. Here’s how it works:

  • The first shake without ice lets the protein in the egg begin to form foam, instead of being diluted by the ice.
  • The second shake with ice cools the drink and strengthens the foam. Strain it into the glass and you’ll get a thick, white frothy layer.
Amaretto

What is amaretto?

Amaretto is an almond liqueur that originates from Italy. It tastes both sweet and bitter (amaretto means in Italian “little bitter”). It has such a distinctive flavor, once you’ve had it once: you’ll remember it forever. You may know the flavor from the popular amaretto cookies, a popular Italian sweet.

It’s worth getting a bottle for your shelf: you can use it in cocktails and in cooking, especially desserts! More drinks that feature amaretto? Try more amaretto cocktails like the Italian Margarita, Godfather, Amaretto Coffee, or French Connection.

Can you make an amaretto sour with sour mix?

You can! But only if you make it with homemade sweet and sour mix. The store-bought version is overly sweet and can be packed with artificial flavors and colors. Make up a batch of this Sweet and Sour Mix, then

When to serve an amaretto sour

The amaretto sour is a sweet tart, balanced drink that works anytime! It’s great for sipping as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Summer drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Amaretto sour

Perfect Amaretto Sour


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (34 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s the perfect amaretto sour recipe that will impress everyone! It’s got just the right balance of amaretto with bourbon and lemon.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) amaretto
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) bourbon whiskey
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 egg white (optional)*
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • For the garnish: Cocktail cherry or Luxardo cherry, lemon slice

Instructions

  1. Add the amaretto, bourbon, lemon juice, syrup, egg white, and bitters to a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake for 15 seconds.
  2. Add the ice to the cocktail shaker. Shake again for 30 seconds.
  3. Strain the drink into a glass; the foam will collect at the top. Garnish with a cocktail cherry.

Notes

*Substitute 2 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas) for a vegan variation.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

More sour cocktails

Sour cocktails are a family of cocktails that blend liquor, sour and sweet in the perfect proportions! Here are some of our favorite sours:

  • New York Sour Make a classic whiskey sour and float a layer of red wine on top. Stunning!
  • Classic Sidecar One of the best classic cocktails of all time! This sour is the perfect balance of Cognac, Cointreau and lemon.
  • Classic Daiquiri The Classic Daiquiri is actually not frozen! It’s rum, lime juice, and sweetener. Or try a sophisticated spin, the Hemingway Daiquiri.
  • Tom Collins Cocktail A Tom Collins is also known as a gin sour: is light and bubbly with soda water.
  • White Lady A sophisticated, citrus-forward drink! It’s a classic sour featuring gin and lemon with a frothy egg white topping.

Last updated: July 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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