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. 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,


  2. 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. 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.

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

  5. 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!!

  6. “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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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….

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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

  15. 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…

  16. 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.

  17. 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.)

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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

  22. Gozio is so much better than any ameretto I have ever tasted. One comment said it was discontinued, but they have a great website. Any truth to this. I am trying to have a case shipped to Wyoming and don’t know if it will arrive. May have to go to Italy.

  23. no idea. I find it hard to believe it was discontinued although this does happen from time to time in the spirits industry. More likely they need a new distributor.

  24. Luxardo is the best, followed closely by Gozio. Both of them make disarrono taste like the artificially flavoured crap that it is

  25. Went to buy some Ketel One last night and they had a bunch of liquor reps there (happy surprise) giving tastings. Ended up buying Gozio as it was, by far, the best amaretto I’ve ever tasted.

  26. DiSaronno is too sweet, lacks a complex flavor profile compared to other amaretti, and its dominance in the market has caused many liquorophiles like me to initially feel like they are simply not amaretto fans. However, once I tasted Luxardo, Lazzaroni, even di Amore I started to really like Amaretto and that evolved into a love of nut liquors in general. After about 6 months I finally located a bottle of Gozio! Haven’t cracked it open yet, but really looking forward to it! At this point I only drink DiSaronno in heavily doctored Sours. It’s fine, but hopefully people who say it’s the best have at least tried the others. It’s very hard to locate all the good Amaretti out there for a head to head comparison. I’m looking forward to trying more.

  27. I have always drank DiSaronno over crushed ice (30 years). It is very sweet. I went to get some at a different liquor store and they only carried Gozio. The manager said it was far better. He said DiSaronno is so mass produced, it doesn’t compare with Gozio. I tried it and I really like it. Not too sweet and does not have that sticky mouth feeling. Very subtle spices. Good bye DiSaronno, my long time friend; hello Gozio!

  28. Di Puglia is outstanding. No mistaking the genuine almond flavor. Maybe not as sweet as Di Saronno but I liked it better with OJ than Di Saronno with OJ.

  29. Had the pleasure to try Gozio while at a resort in Jamaica. I’ve been drinking DiSaronno for years….Gozio blew my mind. I can’t find in Canada…tempted to fly back to Jamaica just to get a bottle. I see some eastern US states carry…sure wish i could get my hands on some.

  30. I am amongst the many here. I also drank DiSaronno because, growing up, that’s what my family always had for espresso, as well as sambuca & frangelico of course. A few years ago, I went to get my weekly DiSaronno & the liquor store guy told me about the lawsuit & DiSaronno not being an amaretto anymore. He told me to try Gozio if I was a fan of DiSaronno. At first I declined, but the guy was insistent. So I bought it because he sounded so passionate in describing how better it tasted. I have been drinking Gozio ever since & only drink DiSaronno if I can’t find any Gozio.

  31. Im new to the forum but wondering which ones Do not have that burning after taste?

  32. To me, Luxardo is best… it is a true almond based Amaretto and has a flavor that bests DiSaronno. Both as a sipping liquer on the rocks and as a cocktail participant in various mixed drinks.

  33. I love Vincenzi Amaretto. It uses natural ingredients, not just nut oil. It is made the old fashion way
    and it tastes like it. The leading brand may be the biggest, but not the best.

  34. Have you got any contacts for Vincenzi? I don’t think it has N. American distribution. Love to try it.

  35. Disaronno hasn’t been a true amaretto for almost 16 years.
    In order to be a true amaretto the recipe must include Bitter Almonds, not just Apricot pits. Both contain amygdalin, which give them that bitter taste but is also broken down into cyanide when consumed.

  36. Knight Gabriello amaretto is another amazing option, really delicious and made with pure ingredients like Gozio. I only found it because I was looking for Gozio and the guy at Total Wine recommended Knight Gabriello (because they no longer carry Gozio). I served it at home during the holidays and it was a huge hit. I have yet to try Gozio but so far Knight Gabriello is the best amaretto I have tasted.

  37. Gee, Jane – I was looking for Gozio in NC and ended up picking up Lazzaroni in SC to compare with Luxardo. We should do a taste test in Raleigh. So far, I prefer Luxardo – they both are pretty sweet, so hard to differentiate but Luxardo is a bit thicker and has a very slight deeper finish with slightly more heat. Probably would not differentiate out much in a cocktail.

  38. I love amaretto. I have always used DiSaronno for mixed drinks, but for sipping, I love Saliza by Bepi Tosolini. I found it in a Total Wine in Charleston a few years ago, but I just found out it’s no longer stocked there, so I’d have to order it from NJ. Saliza has an excellent taste and made with real almonds, and is the best amaretto I have ever tried.

    I haven’t tried Gozio, and being in NC, I may have to buy a case to get it here, but will have to give it a try.

  39. When I first did that post I had no idea there were such passionate fans of Amaretto out there! Now I appear to have become the locus of amaretto lovers. I’ll be looking for Saliza to give it a try.


  40. 😉 – Yeah, I’m the only one I know thats into it, except a friend in Switzerland, who re-introduced it to me while I was over on business years ago. Some good amaretto on the rocks, squeezed lemon, and a sprinkle of sugar – not a bad drink.

    I just ordered some Saliza from an online store, and I added a bottle of Gozio to try it out. Will let you know what I think of it compared to Saliza. I’d definitely say give it a try if you ever have the chance.

  41. that sounds like a great cocktail. I’d probably skip the sugar. the stuff is pretty sweet to begin with. Out of curiousity do you like other nut liqueurs like Frangelico, or is Amaretto a one off?

  42. Yes, but not as much. Amaretto mixes well with so many things, and I use it as an substitute to drinks with Rum or Vodka in them (try it instead of Vodka in a Black Russian).

    I really like citrus drinks like a real Caipirinha, so the touch of sugar above is in that vain.

    Thanks for starting this thread – even if it was 5 years ago!

  43. FYI – I got in some Gozio – it is a nice, but it has a more of a fruit taste than a nut/amaretto taste. Would be good (or better) in all mixed drinks as you would use DiSaronno, and has a smoother taste.

    But for my $ – Salizo has the best amaretto taste of any I have have tried. Maybe not quite as smooth as the Gozio is, but the taste is excellent. I reserve it for just on the rocks.

    But YMMV

  44. I’ve been a Disaronno fan for many years, but was at a restaurant in London a couple of weeks back and had my mind literally blown by an Amaretto digestif… i didn’t catch what it was, but i’m now on the hunt to open my eyes to proper Amaretto!

    The list i can see from the posts on this thread is the best i’ve found –

    Paola Lazzaroni Amaretto
    Gozio Amaretto
    Jannamico Amaretto Del Sagittario
    Di Puglia
    Vincenzi Amaretto
    Knight Gabriello
    Saliza by Bepi Tosolini

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.