This beverage of Italian origin made from a base of apricot or almond, sometimes even both, is well known for its sweet and almond-like flavor. The name amaretto comes from the Italian language, with its base in the word amaro, meaning bitter, which tries to indicate that the beverage made from mandorla amara, or bitter mandel.
Since the drink is not only bitter, but actually quite sweet, the name is more believed to describe that Amaretto is “slightly bitter”, the drink should not be confused with another Italian drink called Amaro, which is more bitter than Amaretto. While the origin of the drink can be traced back to the time when almond started to take its place in Italian cuisine, it is also believed that Amaretto was a gift to the artist Bernadino Luini made by his lover who made a beverage from apricot kernels that she put in brandy, just to show him her love and affection.
There are two major brands of Amaretto, the largest one being Disaronno Originale, which claims to be the original Amaretto with an unchanged recipe since 1525, and the second largest one being Lazzaroni Amaretto, claiming an unchanged recipe since 1718.
This drink does not only serve as an alcoholic beverage, but also as an addition to desserts, such as ice cream, savoury meat dishes, like chicken, and it also serves as a major component used in almondine sauce which is eaten together with fish. As a drink, Amaretto can be served by itself, on the rocks, or as a complimentary to other drinks such as cognac (French Connection), scotch (Godfather), vodka (Godmother) and even grapefruit juice (Ladyfriend). All the previous drinks are made by mixing one part of Amaretto with one part of the complimentary drink in an old-fashioned glass served on the rocks.