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.

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24 Responses to Amaretto and Liqueurs

  1. Tim Peterson says:

    Thanks a bunch Dr. Booze for the advice and drink recommendation. I will try that today. My wife, an avid Amaretto lover, has been loyal to Disaronno for decades so it must be #1 (at least it is in our household). She also mentioned Frangelico as an alternative to Amaretto, even though its a Hazelnut liqueur versus an Almond liqueur.

    Much Appreciated,

    Tim

  2. james says:

    Luxardo’s is very good as well. Funny you mention Frangelico. I don’t think we’ve had any in 15 years, but we had a hankering over the holidays and picked up a bottle.

    It is a really excellent liqueur if you’re heading in that direction (and you are once you’re drinking amaretto.)

  3. AmRetto sipper says:

    DISARONNO IS THE BEST

  4. Sherri says:

    Have you ever tried Paola Lazzaroni Amaretto? It’s not as high in alcohol as Disaronno’s but has a very good flavor. Lazzaroni is not as easy to come by but it’s worth the trouble.

  5. james says:

    I’d love to. I’ll watch for it. I actually drink relatively little spirits these days, but I’d love to try it.

  6. E.T. Ropal says:

    I hate to burst the bubble of Disaronno drinkers, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Gozio Amaretto. Never heard of it? I own a bar and my liquor distributor suggested that I try Gozio five years ago. Unlike Disaronno, Gozio is made in Italy from all NATURAL ingredients and it really makes a huge difference. I would have my bar customers “sample” a taste of Gozio, and it’s natural almond taste just blew them away! (Nothing artificial.) It is absolutely EXCELLENT! Once you try Gozio, you will NEVER go back to an inferior amaretto…EVER!! As a bar owner, wanting the best for my customers, I 100% guarantee it!!

  7. james says:

    Thanks for the Heads Up Fran. I’ve never seen Gozio but I’ll be sure to watch for it.

  8. Dennis says:

    “I hate to burst the bubble of Disaronno drinkers, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Gozio Amaretto. Never heard of it? I own a bar and my liquor distributor suggested that I try Gozio five years ago. “Unlike Disaronno, Gozio is made in Italy from all NATURAL ingredients and it really makes a huge difference. I would have my bar customers “sample” a taste of Gozio, and it’s natural almond taste just blew them away! (Nothing artificial.) It is absolutely EXCELLENT! Once you try Gozio, you will NEVER go back to an inferior amaretto…EVER!! As a bar owner, wanting the best for my customers, I 100% guarantee it!!”

    I agree, was at the liquor store the other day and decided to try Gozio. Its not as sweet as disaronna,but sweet enough with way better flavor IMO. I had it on the rocks. It will now be my go to Ameretto.

  9. Travis says:

    Not sure if it is considered an amaretto, but Pisa is VERY good stuff. It has almond, pistachio, and hazelnut flavors all together. The. Bottle even leans like the tower.

  10. I have always said DiSarrono was the best. Last night I was at a very high end restaurant in Boston (a company meeting) and they don’t carry DiSarrono but told me to try Luxardo. I did & it was amazing. I am going out to buy a bottle this weekend….

  11. Trav says:

    Gozio isn’t as good as Disarrono, but its okay. I’ve never had luxardo but I do want to try it. Lazzaroni is the best i’ve ever had way better than Gozio and a bit better than Disarrono

  12. james says:

    I’ve never had Gozio. I’ll watch for Lazzaroni. Thanks for the tip.

    I had no idea there were so many folks passionately in pursuit of Amaretto. This is a liqueur that provokes debate!

  13. maria says:

    I hate to burst everyone’s Disarrono’s bubble, but Disarrono has no almonds in it whatsoever. The company itself describes its liqueur as “apricot kernel oil” with “absolute alcohol, burnt sugar, and essence of seventeen herbs and fruits.” Gozio does have almonds in it so anxious to try this and the others mentioned.

  14. james says:

    You’re right… and wrong. Amaretto is made from “bitter almonds” which is to say the nut inside the pit of an apricot. Such nuts look like and taste a bit like almonds but are much more bitter.

    On the other hand, I think your willingness to seek out Gozio and other liquors is fabulous. Go forth and drink.

  15. Judy says:

    Enjoyed the smooth and amazing GOZIO after a family dinner party. It’s number 1. It has a perfect finish…

  16. james says:

    You know I had no idea when I wrote that initial review how many dedicated amaretto connoisseurs there are out there. Glad you found one you liked. Cheers

  17. Pam says:

    I LOVE Gozio, but was sad today when my local liquor store said it was discontinued!?!?

  18. mary says:

    Thanks for posting! Horrified after finding out my amaretto – Jannamico Amaretto Del Sagittario (which in my opinion is by far the best :)) , is no longer available in my area! Thanks to you and other avid amaretto lovers there are a few names I’m going to look for! Hoping some of them are North of the Boarder…

  19. james says:

    My advice to both you Pam and Mary (next comment) is to buy them when you see them and bring them home. (Think of it as trophy hunting.) I regularly patrol liquor stores when travelling for obscure gins etc.

  20. james says:

    The problem with amaretto is much the same as for wine. Lots of small producers with limited distribution, and a small fan base. Alas labels will always come and go. My advice to both you Pam and Mary (next comment) is to buy them when you see them and bring them home. (Think of it as trophy hunting.)

  21. Michael says:

    People like disaronno only because it is the only amaretto they have ever had. It s a product of mass marketing. But, surprise, it is NOT even an amaretto properly speaking. Notice the label never calls itself amaretto. They used to label it amaretto di Saronno but they had to take the word amaretto off the label. That is because it us not made with almonds or for that matter any nuts. It is sticky sweet compared to more subtle true amaretti. Indeed, it calls itself nut free. By definition that is not amaretto. Lazzaroni is my favorite but i have not had Gozio and want to try it. So, drink di saronno if you like, but I prefer amaretto.

  22. james says:

    I may be wrong on this but as I recall the term ‘amaretto’ was subject to a lengthy trademark dispute in the Italian courts. (And you’ve never seen lawsuits until you see an intellectual property lawsuit that revolves around a foodstuff.) As I recall the final judgement, there was a general agreement to drop the name altogether. I’ll see if I can get Amaretto to comment.

  23. Larry's Lounge says:

    For years I drank Di Saronno, straight and in the Godfathers (mixed with Scotch) I enjoy. Then, one day, I bought a bottle of Lazzaroni. Found it too sweet. A couple of months ago, I tried Gozio, which was about $5 cheaper than Di Saronno. I was blown away with the flavor. It’s 4% less alcohol, but IMHO, the best out there. It’s my go to amaretto now.

  24. Bonnie says:

    I agree with Larry. I also drank Di Saronna for years. Just tried Gozio. Perfection.

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