This cocktail comes together with almond-flavored amaretto, bourbon for a bit more body, citrus - giving it the "sour", egg whites for foam and sweetener.
I’m not going to lie. I used to make fun of my mom for drinking amaretto sours – I thought of it as the sickly sweet cocktail made with store-bought mix. Then one night at dinner at the Grey restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, the bartender made us an amaretto sour recipe made with egg whites, one of my favorite components of craft cocktails. It adds a more complex layer!
The goal of this classic 70’s cocktail is a smooth, well-balanced drink, not an overly sweet drink. The ingredients are first shaken without ice for a “dry shake” so they combine and the egg has a chance to froth. Then ice is added and it’s shaken once more. I also strain the cocktail using a fine mesh strainer like this one for the best texture.
Amaretto – Amaretto is an Italian liqueur with a sweet (and slightly bitter) almond flavor. Amaretto has a lower alcohol percentage of about 20% APV which is why I combine it with a bit of bourbon.
Bourbon – Bourbon is a type of American whiskey made primarily from distilled corn. Not all whiskey is bourbon, but all bourbon is whiskey. While many amaretto sour recipes only use amaretto, I combine it with a bit of bourbon. The oaky, vanilla flavors of the bourbon complement the nutty flavor of the amaretto.
Egg white – When the egg whites are shaken vigorously with the other ingredients it forms a foam on the top of the cocktail. In fact, this is my favorite way to make sours – it adds the perfect creamy flavor.
Lemon – Lemon juice is the “sour” element in this cocktail. I prefer freshly squeezed lemon though bottled juice can also be used.
Simple syrup – Simple syrup is made by boiling equal parts sugar and water to form a sweet sticky syrup that will mix easily into cocktails. Make the simple syrup ahead of time and then store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Maple syrup can also be used in the place of simple syrup.
Bitters – Bitters are a concentrated spirit infused with botanicals to add flavor and complexity to cocktails. Angostura is the most common type of bitters, with hints of cinnamon and clove, named for where they were first produced.
How to Make an Amaretto Sour
Add ingredients to shaker. Add the egg white, amaretto, Bourbon, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters to a cocktail shaker.
Dry shake. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds without ice.
Add ice and shake again. Fill the shaker with ice and continue to shake for an additional 15 seconds.
Strain. Strain into a low ball glass.
Garnish and serve. Thread the lemon twist and maraschino cherries onto a skewer as a garnish. Serve immediately.
Tips and Tricks in This Recipe
To Make Simple Syrup
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together sugar with 1 cup of water until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low and simmer until thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
How to Make This Cocktail Vegan
While an egg white creates the foam that forms on the top of this cocktail recipe, the recipe can easily be made vegan. Rather than egg whites, use 2 tablespoons of aquafaba – the liquid left over from cooked chickpeas. Simply drain a can of chickpeas and reserve the liquid.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Are amaretto sours shaken or stirred?
Amaretto sours are shaken so the egg white becomes frothy and foamy while the drink is throughly combined and chilled.
Can you use whiskey sour mix for amaretto sour?
Sure, but I much prefer making the recipe from scratch with a few handy ingredients as detailed below. It’s much less sugary than a store-bought mix and has more complex flavor.
Are amaretto sours strong?
I add bourbon to my recipe to give it a bit more of a punch. Disaronno, a popular amaretto liqueur brand is 28% alcohol or 56 proof. For comparison bourbon is 40% alcohol or 80 proof.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this amaretto sour recipe, I recommend checking out these: