Amaretto and Liqueurs

So what’s the best brand of Amaretto?

This is now a tough question. Forty years ago it was a no-brainer, Disaronno Originale. These days the question is a little more complicated.

in general making good liqueurs comes down to the ingredients. The best liqueurs, like Chambord and Disaronno use several tons of fruits and nuts to extract the essence that gives their drinks flavour. This makes them expensive.

Knock-offs will use much less flavouring usually augmented with synthetic taste-alikes to get to a similar, but much cheaper flavor profile. In any number of trendy bars and clubs the knock-off is what is used in the cocktail flavored with the liqueur.

These days though there are any number of small local producers that can get funding to go international, hoping for vast profits etc.
Often these labels were around if you were in the neighbourhood, but otherwise unavailble, rather like tequila used to be in Mexico.

Some of these small labels can be exceptional drinks, and I make a point of drinking them when I travel. Can I get them back home? Are they that much ‘better’? That’s the rub.

The difference between a ‘bad’ drink and ‘I don’t like it’ is whether I’m giving you advice. Anything I don’t like is bad to me. But that’s not to say it is universally unacceptable. Everybody is different and you may well prefer something I dislike.

So far I haven’t found anything that significantly improves on Disaronno, so that’s the one I buy. But if you’ve got a brand that makes your tongue light up please let me know. I’d love to try it.

ps. amaretto and kahlua and a touch of good dark rum is an amazing cocktail.


  1. Just an FYI. Since I live in NC and only have access to a relatively few brands from the state owned ABC stores, in my quest for some really good Amaretto, I decided to try making my own. For a third of the price of a bottle of Disarrono, I’m making my own using good quality almond, vanilla and aprocot extracts. As a starting point, I used a recipie on With a little tweaking, its pretty damn good – all like it better to Disarrono and its much smoother. All for under $10 a fith. What’s not to like?

  2. Good for you. In general I find sloth and a slight preference for the branded products keep me from making my own liqueurs. But as you have discovered one can, and they are very drinkable.

    you may also want to check out a recipe for limoncello, or other liqueurs on line. I did a bunch of liqueurs in my early 20s. Limoncello is the only one that tempts me these days.

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