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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65 Responses to Amaretto and Liqueurs

  1. Brooks says:

    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. james says:

    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.

  3. Brooks says:

    I’ve seen a number of comments about good Limoncello recipes while researching this, so maybe will check it out.

    I’m usually not so inclined to do this either, but since I drink it alot, it was worth the try. One thing I do is reduce the sugar so it isn’t as sweet. In about 30 minutes, its made, can drink it right away or let it age some. The only downside is everyone who’s had it now wants me to make some for them. . .

  4. james says:

    thanks for my morning laugh!

  5. Liisa says:

    I recently purchased Accademia Amaretto from the duty-free shop in Gatwick, England on our way back to Canada. Price 22pounds (approx $40Cdn) for a litre bottle. It is quite good. My favourite has always been Disaronno, but this is a very close second!!!! ….haven’t found it yet in Ontario, Canada liquor stores….

  6. james says:

    Amaretto collecting is like rare whisky collecting. You have to jump on them when you see them because they may not appear again for a while.

  7. Elizabeth Henyey says:

    The last time I had amaretto it was di saronno and in the 1970s. My husband (different one) went out to look for amaretto and came home with d’albicocco. Does anyone have any opinion on that one? I liked it but feel I need to have some taste tests.

  8. Sarah B says:

    Was pleasantly surprised to find a new Almond Liqueur when on a long weekend break to Portugal last weekend – Amarguinha Almond Liqueur which is a traditional drink from the Algrave region. We seemed to have it served to us after every meal out. It is served cold and sometimes with a bit of lemon juice on top. Has an amazing smell of marzipan.

    Bought a for us to drink down there after trying but forgot to get the lemon. So there were six slightly tipsy adults sneaking around scrumping lemons from trees in people’s yard (must have been quite a site).

    Has a lower ABV at 20%. Would absolutely recommend for something different if you can find it.

  9. james says:

    As far as I’m concerned Portugal is the happy hunting ground of all things alcoholic. 😉

  10. Niki says:

    I am a big Amaretto fan. Not a fan o DiSarrono. Big fan of Gozio for straigh sipping and Lazzaroni for mix. For Christmas, a friend gave me a bottle of D’Albicocco. It is beautiful. Very full flavor and smooth. Too beautiful to mix. Drink it straight!! Hard to find though.

  11. David Hewett go says:

    Big fan of DiSaronno. I tried the DiSaronno, Kahlua, dark rum drink. Delicious! Does that have a name? I used an ounce of each over ice. Do you have a different recipe?

  12. Meow says:

    Funny how people still think Di Saronno is an Amaretto. Di Saronno is based on artifical flavoring and doesn’t contain any real almonds. Gozio is by far superior as a product, but there are many good ones around. In Holland we have a few traditional liqueur makers and some of them make amazing, real amaretto.

  13. Lester East says:

    Luxardo is my personal favorite, I like it better than Gozio and Disaronno. A less expensive alternative to Luxardo, Gozio or Disaronno is Di Amore. Honestly though, you can’t go wrong with any of these.

    I’m on the quest for the perfect Amaretto, thanks for this thread.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    We have been drinking D’Albicocco and it is very good. Lots of apricot flavor.

  15. Deb Cha says:

    The best Amaretto I’ve had is a light (not syrupy) almond tasting drink called White Opera Amaretto (apparently produced and distributed by Merak Spirits & Drinks. It is impossible to find. I purchased a bottle in Connecticut while there on vacation, loved it but have been unable to get it in NY or Boston. Bummer for me! Bummer for you too unless you live near Connecticut.

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