National Amaretto Day occurs in America every year on April 19, which is today. I couldn’t find any information as to why we should all be enjoying Amaretto today, but quite frankly I’m not going to question it. All I know is that this important holiday must be celebrated by toasting with the finest Amaretto you can find. There are many store-bought brands available, but sometimes there’s just nothing like homemade. So I’ve compiled three different recipes for those of you who would like to try making your own Amaretto, incorporating either a distillate produced from a moonshine still or a store-bought neutral spirit such as vodka. The recipes are listed below in order of difficulty—easiest to most difficult. Enjoy!
Rookie Amaretto Recipe
• 750ml of a distilled, neutral spirit such as vodka (either store-bought or produced in moonshine still)
• 20ml of Prestige Amaretto Essence (or 40ml of High Spirits Amaretto Essence)
• 275g granulated sugar
1. Pour all 20ml of Amaretto Essence along with 275g granulated sugar into a 750ml (US 25 fl. oz.) bottle.
2. Fill 3/4 full with vodka and shake until the sugar has dissolved. If sugar is not dissolving, place sugar and alcohol together in a blender on high for 2-3 minutes.
3. Top off the bottle with remaining vodka and shake until everything has fully blended.
4. Store in a sealed bottle at room temperature for at least 1 hour (flavor will improve with age).
Pro Amaretto Recipe
• 2 cups distilled, neutral spirit such as vodka (either store-bought or produced in moonshine still)
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup white sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons almond extract
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Heat until the mixture is boiling, and all of the sugar is dissolved.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
4. Stir vodka, almond extract and vanilla extract into the mixture.
5. Store in a sealed bottle at room temperature for at least overnight (flavor will improve with age).
Expert Amaretto Recipe
Note: This Amaretto is to be completed in 2 phases over the course of at least 6 months. We didn’t call this “Expert” for nothing…
Phase One Ingredients
• 1 cup distilled water
• 1 cup distilled, neutral spirit such as vodka (either store-bought or produced in moonshine still)
• 1 cup brandy
• 1 cup dried apricots
• 1/4 cup apricot kernels
• 1/4 cup raw almonds
• 1 tablespoon fennel seed
• 1 teaspoon mahlab (sour cherry stones)
• 1 allspice berry
• 1 cardamom pod
Phase One Directions
1. Coarsely chop dried apricots and soak in 1 cup of distilled, warm water for 30 minutes.
2. Coarsely chop apricot kernels and almonds. Also, smash fennel seed, mahlab, allspice berry, and cardamom pod with the mortar and pestle so that they are broken but not finely ground.
3. Once the apricots are soft, dump excess water and combine apricots and spices in a glass jar. Then pour in 1 cup of vodka and all the brandy. Seal the jar and shake well.
4. Let steep for 25 days, shaking frequently.
Phase Two Ingredients
• 1/2 cup distilled, neutral spirit such as vodka (either store-bought or produced in moonshine still)
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup distilled water
Phase Two Directions
1. Use a sieve to strain out solids, pressing down to extract as much liquid as possible. Then filter through a strainer lined with a large coffee filter.
2. While that’s filtering through the strainer/coffee filter, caramelize the white sugar by cooking it over medium heat in a sauce pot, stirring frequently. It will start to melt into a brown liquid. At the same time, in a second sauce pot, boil the turbinado sugar and 1/2 cup of water on medium heat.
3. After about 10 minutes, turn off the heat for the turbinado sugar, and reduce the heat on the caramelized sugar to low. Pour the hot turbinado sugar mixture into the caramelized sugar mixture (which is still on the stove on low heat) very slowly while stirring gently so that it doesn't harden.
4. After it becomes a thick mixture with no chunks, pour it into a glass container to cool. Then add the remaining 1/2 cup of vodka.
5. After the amaretto liquid has passed through the coffee filter, add the sugar mixture (and vanilla extract, if desired) to taste. Once you are happy with the level of sweetness, let the combined mixture rest for 1 to 3 days before use.
6. Store in a sealed bottle at room temperature for 6 months (flavor will improve with age).