Amaretto is a classic Italian liqueur with origins in Saronno, Italy, and is equal parts sweet and bitter. It's a common after-dinner drink and is often combined with coffee or other traditional cocktails, such as margaritas, to provide an interesting added kick. Officially an almond-flavored drink, amaretto is actually often made from apricot pits.
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The most basic amaretto coffee drink is simply amaretto coffee. Add 1 1/2 ounces of amaretto to 8 ounces of coffee; no need to stir. Add whipped cream if desired. For a sweeter treat, try a Chocolate Amaretto Dream. Combine 4 ounces of hot, strong espresso, 2 ounces of amaretto, 2 ounces of heavy cream and 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite chocolate liqueur. Top with whipped cream. For a strong, no-fuss coffee drink, mix 1/2 ounce each of amaretto and your favorite whiskey with 5 ounces of strong coffee -- a Tennessee Mud.
Aperitifs, or pre-dinner cocktails, are intended to warm the belly and sharpen the appetite. Amaretto's sweet-bitter mix of flavors can perk up anyone's palate. Try an Amaretto Sour, an easy pre-meal concoction of lemon juice and amaretto. Shake and serve it over ice. You can also try an Italian Apple Martini, which is a strong but refreshing mix of amaretto, apple schnapps, vanilla vodka, lime juice and cranberry juice. For a twist on an old favorite, try an Italian Margarita. Combine 1 ounce of amaretto, 2 ounces of sweet and sour mix, 1/2 ounce of tequila and 1/2 ounce of triple sec. Serve over ice and enjoy on a hot summer day.
After your dinner winds down, a mellow amaretto digestif (after-dinner drink) tops it off. The classic after-dinner amaretto drink is the Toasted Almond. To make it, combine 2 ounces each of amaretto, coffee liqueur and light cream. Another creamy after-dinner treat is an Almond Joy. It's relatively low in alcohol and easy to make. Combine 1 1/2 ounces half and half with 1/2 ounce each of amaretto and white creme de cacao. Shake to make the mixture slightly frothy and drink from a chilled glass. If you're craving something a little fruitier, try a Blueberry Tea. It's a mellow amalgamation of orange pekoe tea, amaretto and orange liqueur.
Adventurous bar-goers might want to experiment with unexpected flavor combinations. Amaretto and cola, for example, is a favorite party drink. Serve it over ice. At brunch, swap the traditional champagne for amaretto and combine with orange juice for a mouth-puckering sweet-and-sour mimosa. If you're feeling a little old-fashioned, mix your amaretto with sweet vermouth and soda water to make a Mazerati cocktail.