Amaretto Sour Recipe

Amaretto adds a smooth and nutty finish to this smoky Amaretto Sour.

Amaretto Sour Recipe

The Amaretto Sour gained prominence sometime in the 1970s. A riff on the classic old-school cocktail, the Whiskey Sour, this version of the drink started popping up in bars around the same time as the 7 & 7, and was a more complicated drink enjoyed by many. Soon however, it would fall into obscurity before being almost completely forgotten.

In the late 2000s, bartenders began to discover older, less-remembered cocktails and started to revamp and reintroduce them to the public. One such drink was the Amaretto Sour, and the person responsible for its revitalization is a mixologist named Jeffrey Morgenthaler.

Morgenthaler’s reinvention of the ’70’s concoction added a cask-strength bourbon to the mix, giving the recipe extra oomph, and egg white for a nice, creamy froth with each sip. The original cocktail faced some criticism as to it being too weak and a little too sweet, but this newer take seems to have balanced the recipe out to a perfect mixture. Featured on the menu at Morgenthaler’s bar, Pépé le Moko, in Portland, Oregon, the Amaretto Sour soon took off as a popular beverage once again. His recipe is even featured in Brian Bartels’ 2020 book “The United States of Cocktails” and in 2022’s “Modern Classic Cocktails” by Robert Simonson, further cementing the drink’s status in the contemporary cocktail community.

The recipe we’ll be making tonight is this newer take on the original. Dim the lights, put on some slow, chill music and get ready to be lost in a smoky and smooth cocktail that might end up being your regular Saturday night tipple.

What is Amaretto?

A sweet almond and apricot-based liqueur, Amaretto was created in Saronno, Italy around 500 years ago. Legend has it that Bernardino Luini, a protege of Leonardo da Vinci, was commissioned by the local church to paint frescos depicting the Virgin Mary. Needing a model, he soon found his muse in the local innkeeper, who had been recently widowed. Becoming his inspiration, and in some stories, lover, this woman gave Luini a gift for his generosity and art… a cask of brandy that had been infused with apricot kernels. Sometimes myths are more exciting than any truth, so I like to believe this one.

What is the Best Bourbon to Use in an Amaretto Sour?

When making the Amaretto Sour the way bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler intended, we’re going to need a good cask-strength bourbon. Okay, so what is cask-strength? Most bourbons or rye-whiskeys, usually tend to be sold at about 40% ABV, so 80 proof in strength. Cask-strength bourbons are going to pack a lot more punch and aren’t diluted during the storage process, so you’ll be getting a spirit that’s around 90 to 100 proof in strength. There’s even some out there as high as 125!

Amaretto Sour Recipe
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • 1 1/2 ounces amaretto liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce cask-strength bourbon
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rich simple syrup
  • 1/2 ounce egg white
  • Lemon twist for garnish
  • 2 brandied cherries for garnish


  • In a shaker, combine the amaretto, bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
    Amaretto Sour Recipe
  • Seal the shaker and dry-shake (shake without ice) vigorously for 15 seconds to emulsify the egg white.
    Amaretto Sour Recipe
  • Add a handful of ice to the shaker and shake again until the mixture is well-chilled.
    Amaretto Sour Recipe
  • Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
    Amaretto Sour Recipe
  • Garnish with a lemon twist and two brandied cherries on a skewer.


Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 105mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 12IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Amaretto Sour Recipe

FAQs & Tips

When dry shaking your mixture to get the egg froth going, be sure to NOT shake longer than 15 seconds. If you keep going, your shaker will “pop” and the contents will burst all over your face. I hate admitting this, but I speak from experience.

Amaretto Sour Recipe

Similar Cocktails to the Amaretto Sour

When it comes to Sours and other cocktails in a similar flavor vein, look no further that here, Twist & Toast, for the recipes that’ll stir your tastebuds and spark your imagination. Click on a few of the drinks below and make your next new favorite today:

  • Maracuyá Sour – I traveled off the well worn Sour path for this cocktail and discovered the magic of pisco.
  • Amaretto Stone Sour – This cocktail surprised me in more ways than one. I tell you about it here. A delicious companion to the cocktail we made today.
  • Gin Sour – My favorite spirit gets the Sour treatment in this fun and tart tipple.
  • Vodka Sour – A crisp bright take on the classic Whiskey Sour, this one will perk you up on a hot and heavy day.
  • Whiskey Sour – Try your hand at making this perfect and classic cocktail, the original Whiskey Sour.

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