December 8, 2011

Homemade Amaretto

Remember when we had to do those Science Fair projects that required foam-core board, photos and colored construction paper? I’ll never forget those! It stresses me out to think of all of the times our printer stopped working the night before my project was due. My brothers totally sabotaged one of my experiments when I was in 7th grade and I still haven’t forgotten about it. I’ll spare you the drama.

If I was to do a Science Fair project as a grownup, I’d enter with this Homemade Amaretto.

Imagine this: my foam-core board is a very dark gray (of course it is!) and all the fancy lettering is white with yellow construction paper. It’s totally eye-catching (I always put more work into what my project looked like than the actual project. Figures, right?). There could be a few silver stars pasted on for extra appeal. Who knows!

On the left hand side you’ll find this:

And then I show the judges a step by step pictorial of my project:

(this is the part where I try to sound official)

I gathered all of my ingredients together. Vodka, vanilla & almond extract, sugar, brown sugar & water.

homemade amartetto

I put the brown sugar and white sugar into a bowl with water and heated it until the sugar dissolved.

homemade amartetto

I cooled the sugar solution at room temperature and then poured it into the vodka.

homemade amartetto

I measured out the vanilla extract and the almond extract into a small bowl.

homemade amartetto

I then poured the almond/vanilla extracts into the vodka/sugar solution.

homemade amartetto

Then I poured the mixed solution into a jar.

homemade amartetto

I took a few tastes and then proceeded to strain the solution through 2 coffee filters to make it less opaque.

homemade amartetto

After straining the solution, I was left with this jarred specimen.

homemade amartetto

In the middle of the board is small square of yellow construction paper where I describe the taste of Amaretto:

In another yellow square I list the potential uses for Amaretto:

  • add it to coffee or hot chocolate
  • mix it in cola
  • serve it on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon
  • soak ladyfingers in it for Tiramisu
  • drink it straight from the bottle
  • make a hot toddy with it and add whipped cream
  • stir into whipped cream!
  • gifts for the holidays

And then on the right hand side of my foam-core board I post the final results:

In my head I get at LEAST second place. The ribbon is blue with silver lettering.

Homemade Amaretto

Makes 3 cups

(recipe slightly adapted from Allrecipes)

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 2 tablespoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the mixture is boiling, and all of the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 30 minutes.

Stir vodka, almond extract and vanilla extract into the mixture. Strain through a coffee filter for a clearer Amaretto and store in a sealed bottle. The Amaretto should last for a long while.

(You can drink the Amaretto immediately, but you’ll find it gets better with age)

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  • Ellen

    This made me literally laugh out loud. I love that you even have the colors for your ribbon all picked out. Those projects were the worst! I don’t really like amaretto either but maybe I should try this amaretto-hater cure. Definitely dying to make that limoncello though. Thanks for all the great recipes and posts! Your blog is awesome

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)

    HA! oh the days of school science…i don’t miss them, but i love this post! i’m making this for my MIL for Christmas…she will LOVE it!

  • cindy

    I always spent more time on my board than on my actual science project…I also remember building a model of on of the California Missions and I spent way to much time hot glueing flowers in the graveyard. Aesthetics are important!
    I love amaretto already, I bet I’d love the homemade kind even more and it’s so easy!

    • Tracy

      Omg. That California Mission project was MY MASTERPIECE. I can almost smell that glue & moss production.

  • abby

    Gold stars all around to you! A grown-up science project, ha!

    Also. Had no idea that amaretto had anything to do with vodka.

  • Rebecca

    I love, love, love Disaronno sours, but I am going to try making my own amaretto now. I already make my own sour mix and it is really simple (mixture of lemon juice and lime juice, equal parts and then simple syrup to taste). This is going to be awesome!

  • Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn

    Girl you are on a ROLL with the vodka sizzurps!

  • Kathryn

    amaretto sours were my drink of choice when i was 21 (and clueless at bars). still, delicious–with extra cherries!

  • Paola

    OMG, I AM In love!!!
    Got to try this asap! I love amaretto.
    What do u say of the quality of the vodka? I have a not so good bottle at home and i’m thinking i might use it for this.

  • Heather @ Levavi Spatulas

    Tracy, this looks fabulous (and you’re hilarious, as always)! I would never have thought to make amaretto myself. Yet another idea for Christmas gifts this year. Thanks!

  • phoebe

    this is adorable.

  • Chelsea

    Absolutely making this and the limoncello for Christmas presents! Speaking of Christmas, I have a close friend who recently had to go dairy free and LOVES to cook. I’d love to get her a really excellent dairy free cookbook. Any suggestions?

  • Kristina Juarbe

    Sweet! I will definitely try this one! Thanks :)

  • Allie

    Absolutely love this post, Tracy– as a scientist, it warms my heart. I judge science fairs every year, and this would definitely get a first place ribbon from me!

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out

    My mom loves amaretto. I definitely have all of these ingredients and have been wondering what to do for Christmas for her – I think I might have just found my answer!

  • Mary

    I am in love with Amaretto, I mix it with everything in a bar. Why? Cuz, I am pretty awesome like that. And now? Hot damn, I imagine orange juice for breakfast is going to have a fantastic kick to it once I gain the courage to make this! Loooove the post!

    • Tracy

      oooh! can you put amaretto in OJ? I might go do that right now.

      • Jill

        You absolutely can put amaretto in orange juice! In fact, this Florida girl did not drink OJ until I was 25 when someone gave it to me with amaretto. I was hooked on both! It’s also delicious in apple juice/cider–cold or warm–with cinnamon sugar on the rim of the glass. Such a great winter drink.

  • heather @ chiknpastry

    my mom used to toss back amaretto sours like it was her job. i always hated amaretto too, though. maybe i’ll make her a fresh jar :).

  • omiegrace

    I’m so excited to try this! To my sister, Amaretto is the nectar of the gods. I now know what to make her for our hand-made Christmas. Thanks!

  • Nicole @ The Dirty Oven

    Sounds lovely and never knew it was so easy to make booze! I love all your suggestions for use.
    Still feeling overwhelmed with the holidays and all the gifts…but this one might be MY gift.
    Thank you!

  • Jamie

    Hi Tracy! where do you get bottles like yours at?

  • Jess

    The BEST thing to do with Amaretto is to make amaretto sours. Amaretto, sugar, lemon juice, ice. Delish. I love your rectangular measuring spoons!

    • Mike H

      My wife loves ameretto sours, and now I do too… I have adapted some recipes and here is my fave:

      1.5 oz Amaretto
      0.75 oz Bourbon
      1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
      0.5 oz egg white

      Combine in shaker and shake dry (without ice) to work the egg white. Then add ice and shake. Strain into tumbler. If you do a double, then the white from one egg is the right amount.

      I just made amaretto following your recipe, and I am now drinking the best amaretto sour ever! Thanks!!

  • Cristina

    Making this for Christmas presents for my family. I’m making a dozen liter bottles (just like the bottle in the picture.) Do you think it’s okay to expand the recipe like that?

    I was thinking of making it in two batches (making 6 bottles each) i.e.

    * 6 cup water
    * 6 cup sugar
    * 3 cup brown sugar
    * 12 cups vodka
    * 12 tablespoons almond extract
    * 12 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Will that change the taste at all? Thanks!

  • Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos

    Ok – not only am I passing this link onto friends of mine for their holiday suggestions, but I’m going to give the PA Liquor Board a heart attack from the amount of Vodka I’m about to purchase – I’ll be gifting this lovely and the limoncello (along with a homemade coffee liquor) this holiday. Thanks for the amazing recipe (and the photos – I’m in awe!)

  • Gill

    I’m afraid you would get marks off for phrasing your hypothesis as a question. But otherwise this looks great!

  • Erica

    Loved amaretto already and I love this recipe. I’ve got it in a mason jar right now any chance you know how long it will last in there?

  • CB

    I added a tablespoon (and then some) of cherry flavoring for more of a Disaronno taste. It tastes SOO much better than store bought Disaronno (and half the cost too!) My Disaronno Sours will be fantastic come Christmas time!

  • Kimberly

    Hi Tracy…I made a double batch last night to give to my step-dad for Christmas (thank you, by the way. He’s notoriously hard to shop for, but loves Amaretto, so this is the perfect gift). Anyway, though I measured everything meticulously for the double batch, I got much more than 6 cups of amaretto. I ended up filling two quart-sized mason jars.

    Because the amount is off by so much, I’m worried about how it turned out. It’s sweet, almondy and boozy (and very tasty), as expected, and the color looks like yours, but I have no clue if it’s quite right as I haven’t had amaretto in years. Any thoughts on why I yielded so much? And would you trust this batch to give as a gift?

  • Jennifer @ Raisin Questions

    Tracy, thanks for this great gift inspiration! I just made mine tonight! I love the deep amber color it takes on after filtering! How does that happen, anyways?!? I also got more than 3 cups, about 4 actually. I think this maybe is because I didn’t let the water/sugar solution boil for too long, so not much of the water got cooked off. Also adding in the extracts adds some volume I guess. I think it still looks and tastes great. The more the merrier! Happy holidays, enjoy your cruise!

  • amanda

    I’m assuming that I don’t need to refridgerate this do I? I just made a batch and it turned out lovely. Thanks!

  • Sarah

    Tracy- i have been dying to make this for my sister in law, but i can’t find bottles! Where did you get the super cute one in your post?

  • Traci

    I made this for Christmas for my oldest brother and step-dad and it was a huge hit! I should have made it for everyone because it started a little fight…thanks for posting and inspiring!

  • Sharon

    Love making amarreto, this was my mothers from way back when

    2 cups water
    1-3/4 cup white sugar
    2 cups good brandy (like E & J)
    bring to a boil for 5 minutes, let cool and add
    2 cups vodka
    2 tbsp almond extract
    1 tbsp vanilla extract


  • Jenny

    My almond extract was oily and I’ve been straining it a lot but it still seems a little oily, do you think I have a problem? It’s yum anyway. Goes well with my Anzac cookies (oatmeal coconut).

    • Tracy

      Did you use an essential oil instead of an extract?

      • Jenny

        It must have been, but it was annoyingly labeled an “extract.” I don’t really get it. I don’t know what sort of recipes it was intended for or whether it would mess up other recipes. It still tastes good and I will drink it! Probably will be fine in mixed drinks too.

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  • Abby @ totesdelishblog

    Made this 2 times in 2 weeks, drank it all myself, whoops! Best thing to have on hand!

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  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

    Thanks, lady! Just made this for my Dad for Christmas. Love it. Stole many sips.
    Heidi xo

  • Jen

    Yes! 2nd place is how I would place this also. Only because EVERYTHING is perfect. Seriously! Except…your hypothesis should actually be a statement – not a question.

    Best science project I have seen yet 😉

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  • Kelly

    I probably have regular vodka… but I KNOW I have vanilla vodka… any idea if that will work? Maybe? Should I do less of something else? PS, this is amazing.

    • Dee

      Sounds great! I am definitely making this next Christmas…Kelly I think vanilla vodka would work fine.

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  • Jasmine

    I tried this and it smells and tastes lush but the almond and vanilla has separated from the vodka water and sugar … Has this happened to anyone else? :)

    • Tracy

      That’s BIZARRE!! Is your vodka at room temperature? How does the almond & vanilla seperate from the vodka water & sugar? The sugar/almond syrup should be one unified liquid.

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  • Max

    I should prolly hold my tongue, but that ‘adapted’ recipe is almost identical to the original.

    Fun thing to do, though!

    • Tracy

      I guess I should say SLIGHTLY? Since I strained my amaretto and the original recipe doesn’t call for straining?

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    Thanks for sharing! I like to let coffee beans soak overnight to have a coffee infused amaretto!

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