Who Invented the Amaretto Sour?

With most classic cocktails, it is possible to track down the origins of the recipe. Bartenders love to claim to have invented the most popular blends, since it gives them five minutes of fame and elevates their status within the bartending community. The older cocktails tend to have two or three stories attached to them, so that nobody is sure which one is exactly true, but at least they can pick their favourite tale to share with their friends.

The Amaretto Sour is an elusive cocktail with very little in the way of stories attached to it. Unfortunately, nobody really knows where it came from – your guess is as good as ours!

What We Do Know About the Amaretto Sour

Many believe that the Amaretto Sour was created in America in the 1970s, since this was around the time when Italian spirits and liqueurs were starting to become fashionable in the States. The Italian community had been trying to introduce their drinks into the country for a while, but it seemed that the bitterness of Italian spirits was not that popular amongst the Americans, who preferred their alcohol on the sweet side. The Negroni cocktail, for example, took a little time to hit it off with the public, although, of course, now it is considered to be a classic alongside the greats.

The Italians never gave up, however, and eventually, Amaretto DiSarrano was imported in. This was a new sensation to the Americans – sweet, nutty and extremely palatable, it was immediately successful. A couple of cocktails were created using the new liqueur – The GodFather, The GodMother and the GodChild were all variations of the same drink, using Amaretto and either scotch, vodka or cream.

A Fusion of Cultures

It is possible that the Amaretto Sour is just a variation of this popular drink. Simple to make and even easier to drink, this cocktail is made up of Amaretto and lemon juice, for a delightful blend of sweet and sour. Some establishments like to include sugar syrup, while others might even pop in an egg white.  One thing is certain, however, is that this is very much an Italian-American cocktail that you would have been highly unlikely to have found in Italy a few years ago. Perhaps it was first created by an Italian who knew his market but was ashamed to admit to his role in the drink, since it is considered far too sweet for a sophisticated European. Perhaps not, but as is often the way, it is now having something of a moment in the home country of its founding ingredient, so that some bars feel obliged to offer it. Just make sure you whisper when you order it!