amaretto liqueur with amaretto flavor

What is Amaretto Flavor? Food, Drink, & Amaretto Substitute

What is Amaretto flavor? This post covers the flavor of amaretto, where it comes from, what it goes with, as well as amaretto substitute.

What is Amaretto flavor?

Amaretto is an Italian liqueur that is from 42 to 54 proof. Amaretto flavor is widely characterized as an almond-ish flavor with cherry undertones. The almond flavor comes from the molecule benzaldehyde, a colorless liquid with an almond-ish aroma. Benzaldehyde is the main component in bitter almond oil, and it’s synthetic version is the flavoring agent in synthetic almond extract. Amaretto liqueur contains this almond essence plus sweetness.

almonds are distinctive amaretto flavor

What is Amaretto made from?

Amaretto is made using natural sources of benzaldehyde. These sources include apricot kernels, peach stones, bitter almonds, or just almonds. It is a bit surprising to find that if you open a peach pit, the stone inside tastes like an almond (though it is not advisable to consume them raw as they are toxic).

What does Amaretto flavor pair with?

Amaretto flavor pairs with many other ingredients and used for flavoring beverages and food. Some of the best flavor affinitites for the liqueur are:

  • apricots
  • cherries
  • butter
  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • hazelnuts
  • cream
  • pork
  • peaches

Amaretto Foods

Amaretto has many culinary uses. Most well known are sweets as a result of amaretto’s affinity to pair with sugar.

Amaretto Cake

The flavor of amaretto is used to flavor cakes, especially sponge cake and pound cake. Some also use it when making tiramisu, where the ladyfingers may be dipped in a mixture of amaretto and coffee.

Amaretto Ice Cream

Amaretto flavor makes a delicious ice cream. Especially good are amaretto and cherry ice creams, like this recipe. Coffee & amaretto and chocolate & amaretto also make great flavor combinations for ice cream.

Amaretto Drinks

Amaretto Cocktails

The amaretto sour is probably the most famous of the amaretto cocktails. The basic recipe for a sour cocktail is liqueur, lemon/lime juice, and sweetener. Amaretto, which means “little bitter” in Italian, adds some bitterness to the mix. The amaretto stone sour is a cousin of the amaretto sour and adds orange juice to the mixture.

disaronno amaretto liqueur for amaretto cocktails

Amaretto Coffee

Amaretto flavor pairs well with coffee, and this is the reason for the success of the amaretto coffee. The amaretto coffee simply boozes up a cup of coffee with some amaretto. Top with whip cream and some cinnamon for a truly delicious and satisfying after dinner coffee.

Amaretto Substitute

If you need an amaretto substitute for amaretto foods like amaretto cake or ice cream (non-alcoholic), then almond extract is a good replacement. Marzipan, which contains almonds, will also work to replace the almond flavor from amaretto. Almond flour could also partially replace wheat flour in a recipe. The overall recipe may have to be altered to accomodate marzipan or almond flour as an amaretto substitute.

For amaretto cocktails, hazelnut liqueur is a good amaretto substitute as it also has a nutty taste. A chocolate liqueur or coffee liqueur would also work well.


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