How to Mix an Amaretto Sour

By Jennifer Eblin

Start to Finish: 5 minutes Servings: 1 Difficulty Level: Beginner

Amaretto Shot
credit: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images
Amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur.

Tasting like a cross between sweet almond paste and a sour candy, an amaretto sour is a simple cocktail to create. But because the appeal of this drink depends on the balance between sweet and tart, making one requires both careful measuring and some personal taste testing.


  • 1 1/2 ounces amaretto
  • 1/2 ounce water
  • 1/2 ounce sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, or approximately 1 ounce
  • Handful of ice cubes


Combine the sugar and water in a cocktail shaker. Shake or stir until the sugar dissolves.

Add the amaretto, lemon juice and ice cubes to the shaker. Shake the drink for about 10 seconds. Strain the liquid into a lowball glass. Taste it. Depending on your preferences, you may find the drink too sweet and opt to add another squeeze of lemon juice, or may find the almond flavor too weak and decide to add a splash of amaretto.

Garnish the drink with a slice of lemon or orange and a maraschino cherry. You may add one ice cube to the glass as well.

Measuring Ounces

Using a jigger is an easy way to accurately measure liquids in ounces. This device has two small cups of different sizes. If you own a jigger with both 1/2-ounce and 1-ounce cups, you can easily measure out this recipe.

It's also possible to approximate these amounts using measuring spoons. One fluid ounce is equivalent to about 2 tablespoons. So to make this cocktail, use 3 tablespoons of amaretto, 1 tablespoon of water, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Making Simple Syrup

Simply stirring together sugar and water may give your amaretto sour a slight grittiness from any sugar that doesn't dissolve. If you have 10 minutes to spare, make a batch of simple syrup by heating equal parts sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down so the liquid simmers. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the syrup cool completely before adding it to your cocktail. This will only take a few minutes if you transfer just the 1 ounce needed for an amaretto sour to the highball glass.

Making a single serving of simple syrup won't work: the water will evaporate and the sugar will burn. Instead, make a larger batch, using at least 1/4 cup each of sugar and water. Refrigerate leftovers in a covered container for up to one month.

Tips and Warning

If you're looking for an even simpler way to make this cocktail, substitute store-bought sour mix for the water, sugar and lemon juice. Use equal parts of sour mix and amaretto. However, this liquid can give your drink a slight artificial flavor that you won't get from using real ingredients.

Add more layers of flavor to an amaretto sour by substituting orange or lime juice for the lemon juice or by using a combination of citrus juices. You may also add a splash of vodka or bourbon to the drink, or give it some fizz by adding seltzer.

Some recipes also call for one raw egg white; however, raw eggs can be unsafe and should be avoided.