Amaretto is the best-selling liqueur in Italy and should not be missing in any kitchen or home bar. Whether pure with ice cubes, over ice cream or fruit, as a cocktail and shooter or as an addition to dishes and baked goods, the nutty flavor of the liqueur can be enjoyed in many ways.
History and origin
The history of Amaretto begins in 1525 and even today the Disaronno Originale bears this year on the label. Yet the story of its origin is as romantic and flavorful as the drink itself. It is said that the Renaissance painter Bernardino Luini was commissioned to create a painting of the Madonna. A pretty young widow and innkeeper became his model and probably also his mistress. She gave the artist apricot pits soaked in brandy. The recipe was passed down through generations and is said to be used today for Disaronno Originale. Amaretti are now produced by numerous well-known manufacturers such as Bols, Casoni and Lazzaroni. Bernardino Luini was a student of Leonardo Da Vinci and was sent to the small town of Saronno near Milan in 1525. There he was to draw the said picture for the Order of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Since then, the recipe has changed a lot over the centuries. To this day, the original Saronno recipe is known as Amaretto di Saronno and consists of alcohol, apricot kernels, sugar syrup, and 17 secret herbs and spices. It usually has an alcohol content of 28%. It is interesting to note that the original drink was not made from almonds, but from apricot kernels, but until today it is mainly known for its variants with almonds in Germany. It is not known exactly when the change from apricots to almonds was made. But in recent years, the trend has gone back more and more towards apricots.
Production and manufacturing steps of the sweet liqueur
As mentioned, both the ingredients and the alcohol content differ depending on the variety. In addition, according to the EU spirits regulation, it is not a separate genre, so manufacturers only have to follow general rules for spirits and liqueurs. This means that the designation "Amaretto", only serves as part of the product name and indication of the flavor, while the official sales designation is "liqueur". Thus, they are quite free in the production and their choice of ingredients, so that each variety can develop its own distinctive taste and aroma. The main advantage of this is that there is a product to suit almost every taste. Nevertheless, there are certain requirements that must be met for EU-wide sales. These include the fact that each bottle must have an alcohol content of at least 15% by volume and a minimum sugar content of 100 g per liter, with most amaretti being well above this level. The alcohol used must be either ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, a distillate of agricultural origin or a spirit within the meaning of the regulation. Producers have several production methods to choose from and can adapt the method depending on the variety. One possibility is the maceration of almond shells in neutral alcohol. In addition, it is possible to flavor the neutral alcohol with almond extract and optionally additionally with apricot kernel oil. Other natural flavoring substances or flavoring substances of nature-identical origin as well as flavoring extracts may also be used during production according to the regulation. Artificial flavoring substances, however, are not permitted. The well-known brown color is usually achieved by using the colorant caramel. The exact manufacturing steps are decided by each manufacturer, which makes it impossible for delicando to show you an exact procedure.
Maceration of almond shells in neutral alcohol
Neutral alcohol refers to varieties that have a minimum content of 85% by volume and have no flavor. The lack of flavor is important so that the taste of the liqueur in question does not change. In contrast to extraction, maceration is the more noble method of production. Both methods involve extracting various soluble components, such as flavors and colors, from the substance that will later become the liqueur. Maceration is mainly used for spirits that do not bring their own strong sweetness. In maceration, the almond shells and/or apricot kernels are placed in neutral alcohol. The goal is to capture the aromas and aesthetic oils of the almonds/apricots. Maceration derives from Latin, meaning to soak, and this is exactly what happens during the pickling process. The first step is to crush the almond skins/apricot skins because this extracts more flavors and captures them in the alcohol, thus better results can be achieved. It is important that the vessel in which the process takes place remains closed all the time, so that the alcohol and the aesthetic oils do not evaporate. The production time varies depending on the ingredients used and the taste desired by the manufacturer. The sweet liqueur can macerate either a few days or even a few weeks.
Buying and storing amaretti
The marzipan liqueur is available everywhere throughout Germany. You can buy Amaretto on various portals on the Internet, in our Amaretto Shop, in a stationary Amaretto store or in supermarkets and discount stores. However, we advise you not to buy cheap Amaretto in general portals or the discounter, because the production is not really disclosed and you can not necessarily understand in what way and under what circumstances the liqueur was produced. In addition, most sellers on sites where anything can be sold often do not check for the age of the customer. In Germany, the law is that the buyer must be at least 18 years old to purchase any liquor. In our Amaretto Shop, you can purchase popular varieties in high quality and get advice from our staff about which variety best suits your needs.
Storage and consumption
If you want to buy a bottle of Amaretto, you should first make sure that you can store it properly. But how long is the shelf life of the liqueur anyway? Many manufacturers do not indicate a best before date on their bottles, since each variety must contain at least 15% vol. Alcohol must contain and according to the regulation alcohol-containing food from 10% must not be marked with an expiration date. So, in general, it can be assumed that your bottle will keep indefinitely under the right storage conditions. However, this only applies to varieties that you have not produced yourself and only as long as the bottles are unopened. The alcohol in the liquor serves as a preservative and prevents bacteria and germs from multiplying in the closed bottles. This allows the liquor to be enjoyed years after purchase. It is best to store the sealed bottles in a dry and dark place at room temperature, dry cellar rooms or the storage cupboard are very suitable here. An additional device, such as for good wine varieties, is not necessary. After a variety from the trade has been opened, you should store the liqueur upright in the refrigerator. Then it will keep for about years even after opening. If amaretti are opened for a long period of time, they do not necessarily go bad. Usually it loses its aroma over time and at a certain moment no longer tastes of almonds, but only of sweetish alcohol. As a rule, this is not a health concern before two years have passed, but most people do not like this purely sweet taste. To extend the shelf life of an opened bottle, we recommend placing the spirit in the refrigerator immediately after opening. In addition, it tastes much better chilled. But even outside the refrigerator, an opened variety can be kept for up to a year.
The best and most popular varieties
Due to the loose regulations for making amaretti, anyone who knows about liqueurs in general can officially make it. The advantage of this is that there are an incredible number of varieties on the market in a variety of flavors, so there is a bottle for just about everyone in terms of taste and price. This diversity makes it difficult to clearly determine which varieties are particularly good, after all, there is no arguing about taste. Nevertheless, to give you some orientation, we will name a few varieties below that have often been rated as particularly good and are very popular among experts in Germany. Perhaps there is a new favorite for you, too:
- Disaronno: It is rated as "very good" on many sites. It is the most popular and well-known variety and it is produced in Italy. The spirit is characterized by its strong taste. The variety is available in a 0.7 liter bottle and the base price for one liter is 20.99€, although it varies depending on the seller. The liqueur contains apricot kernel oil and has an alcohol content of 28% vol. Also in our store you can find the Disaronno Originale in 0.5l, 0.7l or 1.0l bottles.
- Marcati: This producer also comes from Italy and is classified among experts as "very good". The variety is known for its typical almond flavor, the light vanilla aroma as well as its likewise strong taste. This liqueur has an alcohol content of 25% vol. and is free of nuts as well as sulfite and has a base price of 13,57€ per liter.
- Unterthurner Classico: Another popular Italian liqueur, which stands out above all for its natural strong taste and is therefore well suited as a gift. Its alcohol content is 28% vol. and it is also free of sulfites and nuts. The base price of this spirit is about 33€ per liter.
- Gozio: This almond liqueur is also considered good and is also from Italy. However, it is known for a mild taste, as well as its peach aroma and the fact that it is a natural product. Its alcohol content is 24% by volume and it is free of sulfite. In our store you can also order this brand as a 0.7l bottle.
- Romanza: This German representative is known for its mild taste and its comparatively low alcohol content of 20% by volume. Therefore, it is particularly suitable for people who prefer less alcohol and a subtle taste. With us you can buy this liqueur in a 0.7l bottle for a few euros.
- Bols: This brand comes from the Netherlands and also tastes mild. Its alcohol content is 24% by volume. The liqueur is made from ripe apricots and can score with its natural taste. Therefore, we have also included it in our range as a 0.7l bottle.
- Casoni: This Italian liqueur is also very mild in taste thanks to its low alcohol content of 21.5% vol. It is free of nuts and sulfite and is available in our store as a 0.7l bottle with a shot glass.
- Cordelio: This spirit is produced in Germany and is also mild in taste. In addition, it is characterized by the typical almond flavor of amaretti and a light vanilla aroma. The alcohol content is 21.5% by volume and this liqueur is quite affordable with a base price of about 8€ per liter, which makes it especially suitable for people households that have less money available or have not had any contact with almond liqueur.
- Verpoorten: This manufacturer is also located in Germany and its spirit is characterized by a versatile and very mild taste. The alcohol content is 17.5% by volume. The liqueur is sulfite free and is available as a 0.2 liter bottle. The base price is about 30€ per liter.
This is the best way to enjoy the different Amaretti varieties
Due to the different flavors, from mild to strong, with almond, vanilla or peach flavor or with a natural taste, the sweet liqueur can be used in many ways. You can enjoy a glass of your favorite variety in the evening on the terrace, in the garden or in the living room, in summer this tastes especially good with ice cubes. Especially the sweeter varieties are perfect for this, thanks to the typical marzipan taste and the different flavors. Especially in the run-up to Christmas, the marzipan flavor fits very well into everyday life and conjures up a little contemplation in your living room. If you prefer a more neutral variety, you can also drink this well as a nightcap after a rich dinner. The milder varieties with less alcohol are best suited for later and more relaxed evenings, while we can recommend the stronger bottles for a social gathering with friends and family.
However, sweet liqueurs can also be enjoyed in combination with other foods. For example, you can pour your favorite spirit as a sauce over your ice cream in the summer. More subtle ice cream flavors such as vanilla are especially recommended, so that the aroma of the liqueur is not drowned out in the process. For a cozy evening alone or with friends, the spirits can be mixed very well in a long drink. Here, a combination with apple or cherry nectar is particularly suitable to create a sweet taste. With apple juice, however, you can also use the stronger, somewhat more natural varieties to achieve a good component between sweet and bitter. Conjure up a "God Father," for example, as popularly served in trendy bars. This is a mix with scotch or whiskey. With the "God Mother" on the other hand, the liqueur is combined with vodka. Perhaps for you, the "French Connection" is the preferred choice. In this long drink, the almond liqueur is mixed with cognac. This way, you can easily bring the feeling of a pleasant evening in your favorite bar into your own living room. If you like to be in the kitchen and are a foodie, you can also use the liqueur for baking. Simply mix it into the baking dough as another ingredient, for example, if you want to bake muffins or cakes. It tastes especially good in tiramisu. For the well-known Italian cookies Amarettini, you can also add a dash of almond liqueur. This gives the cookies a particularly fresh and sweet note. Alternatively, it's also worth heating the spirit slightly and combining it with whipped cream. Surely you have heard about the trend of combining warm drinks with a good spirit. You can also do this, depending on your taste, with the different amaretti. Add a shot of strong liquor to your coffee, combining it with espresso is especially recommended here. If you are more of a tea drinker, you can spice up a fruit tea with particularly sweet varieties or a black or herbal tea as well as a green tea with a stronger liqueur, as you like. All liqueurs made with a base of alcohol, sugar syrup, apricot kernels and almond shells can be sold as amaretti. All over the world, the sweetish spirit is traded and produced under this name. We recommend that you try varieties from different countries, as each variety tastes different and can be combined differently.