National Amaretto Day

Enjoy Amaretto on the rocks or with select mixes. I discovered a couple delicious ways to enjoy it aside from downing it in a two second shot. Tasty but very anti-climatic. The literal translation of amaretto is a ‘little bitter’ and is from amaro which means ‘bitter’. Not to be confused with another Italian liquor, Amaro.

The only mix I had ever tried it with is orange juice which is very good. However, after asking bartenders what common requests they get for amaretto drinks, the usual response was on the rocks or an Amaretto Sour. The first one I tried, at Two Six Ate on Preston turned out to be scrumptious! I highly recommend it! The food menu is also unique, very worth the trip.

Amaretto Sour at Two Six Ate on Preston St.

Their version is made with amaretto, lemon mix, bitters and an egg white. The egg creates the froth on top. Yes, it sounds disgusting but give it a try. I practically licked the glass clean. Think of the egg’s added health benefit to an already nutrition-less beverage!

They are open until 2am so if you’re on your way home, stop in for a night cap and catch some music. Better yet, spend the whole evening. Flossy Fridays feature DJ’s and dancing.

Back in my bartending days, a customer would ask for something different, not sweet but with a bit of a kick. They received my go-to shot, the Sicilian Kiss. Half amaretto and half Southern Comfort.

Alabama Slammer at Pub Italia

To enjoy this as a cocktail, try an Alabama Slammer:

1 oz amaretto

1 oz Southern Comfort

1 oz Sloe Gin

2 oz orange juice

Summer is coming fast and a full pitcher of this would be a perfect patio treat with friends! 1 cup of each liquor topped with 6 cups of OJ. It will fill a water pitcher perfectly.

Pub Italia is an amazing establishment, boasting a huge drink list. The staff will welcome you whether you’re staying to eat or drink or just browse through to discover every nook and cranny of their beautifully decorated monastery-style restaurant.

Amaretto’s Romantic History

Amaretto’s legend goes back to Saronno, Italy in 1525 when a widowed innkeeper created a concoction of brandy and apricot kernels as a symbol of

The Last Supper at Pub Italia

love, devotion and gratitude for Bernardino Luini, one of Da Vinci’s art students. He chose the beautiful widow as a model for his church frescoes of the Virgin Mary. His paintings can still be viewed in the chapel of Sante Maria delle Grazie in Milan and in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Miracles in Saronna. The church is most famous for their depiction of The Last Supper.

Saronno is well known for its production of amaretto and almond kernel biscuits and is home of the Church of St Francis Assisi, the oldest church in town.

Visit the distillery to learn how the famous liqueur is made. Sort of. You will learn only what THEY want you to learn. And good luck finding a video of how they make it. The writer of the Alcademics article was not allowed to photograph or videotape inside the production section of the factory during his tour. It’s all very hush hush.

The city is approximately a 20 minute drive from Milan. Much more to see and do here but to appeal to your sense of humour, visit the Italian Stock Exchange Centre (Parent Advisory).

Disaronno was originally called ‘Amaretto di Saronno’. In the 1600’s, the Reina family came in contact with the recipe of the liqueur and turned it into what we know as Disaronno. This brand is an infusion of apricot kernel oil, absolute alcohol, burnt sugar and 17 various, unknown, herbs and fruits. What, no almonds?

Almonds are not always necessary in the making of amaretto. The main ingredients are sugar, apricot kernels, spices, alcohol, benzaldehyde (this creates the almond scent) and amygdalin (only in the more expensive amarettos). Interestingly, the cheaper amarettos contain more benzaldehyde, and the more expensive ones contain more amygdalin. It has proven to be difficult to find out what spices are used in the production of amaretto as well. It is a well guarded secret. But I did discover a few spices that are added: rhubarb, ginseng roots and vanilla beans.

The famous square bottle debuted in 1942 and evolved in the 70’s, by a master glass maker from Murano, Italy, to what it is recognized as today.

The company purchases 300 tonnes of bitter almonds (Prunus dulcis var. amara) to make the oil. They actually call these almonds, apricot pits. This oil goes into the production of Disaronno. The trees grow in the Middle East and Asia.

Would you believe you can find Disaronno memorabilia and vintage bottles on Ebay. Empty! Full, I could understand. Who would buy this?!

CEO of Disaronno, August Reina, has released a new blend of their product. Amaretto and Scotch whisky. You’ll have to fork out $450 for it, though! ‘The Godfather’ cocktail is made up of these 2 ingredients. Don’t be surprised if this new bottle becomes known as the Godfather.

Where Do Almonds Come From?

The almond that we are accustomed to eating is the sweet version and is a dried seed from the Prunus dulcis tree. You can grow almonds in your home quite easily. Whether it bears fruit remains to be seen. Soak a 3-5 almonds in water for 48 hours, replacing with fresh water every 12 hours. Break the tiny tip to expose the inner almond. On a small plate, layer tissue paper and place the almonds on top, adding another layer of tissue paper. Fold up the sides and spritz with water to moisten. For 7-9 days, keep it moist but not soaking wet. This germinates the almond into its seed form and can be planted. Watch the video to see how to plant them.

How Are Almonds Harvested?

This has got to be the one of the coolest ways to harvest produce. The first minute of the Bella Viva Orchards video made my jaw drop so at least watch that much of it. You’ll be glad you did!

Compliments of Il Primo Ristorante on Preston

Amaretto & Hot Drinks

Blueberry Tea is all the rage lately. It’s showing up on more and more menus. I expected it to be prepared with Blueberry flavoured tea. Wrong. An ounce each of Amaretto, Grand Marnier topped with a hot cup of orange pekoe tea.

It’s great in coffee, too!

A Toasted Almond is made using amaretto and kahlua, a good choice of winter holidays or just plain winter time!


Why Stop At Just Drinking Amaretto?

If an Amaretto Sour is mixed with lemon sour mix, it must be delicious in a Lemon Bread/Cake. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Tiramisu as made by Arturo’s

Tiramisu can be made to look very different from one version to another. Any variation of liqueur can be used, this one is made with amaretto.

Pancakes – for the adults, not necessarily to feed to the children Sunday morning. Add 1/4 cup of amaretto to your favorite pancake recipe. Be sure to cut back on the amount of milk you use by a 1/4 cup.

Add a splash to flavour to the frosting of your cupcakes, whipped cream or ice cream!

Almondine Sauce is most commonly used on Sole or other white fish such as Halibut, Perch, Walleye and is also good on chicken.

If you prefer not to use up your delicious bottle, amaretto flavor can be purchased online for baking purposes. If I can find store locations in Ottawa that sell this, I will update.

I found recipes for homemade amaretto but many call for 2 cups of vodka and 1 cup of brandy. Seems like alot of work and using alot of liquor, may as well just buy a bottle, crack it open and enjoy. The LCBO’s least expensive amaretto is a Canadian version at $20 for a 750ml bottle. Whereas, Disaronno is $30 and Luxardo is $25. Luxardo is becoming increasingly popular in local pubs. Nonetheless, a simple recipe using only 2 cups of vodka, if you’re interested in concocting your own.

Where To Find Fresh Pasta in Ottawa

For years, I thought the only place to get fresh pasta was a little place on Somerset. Ottawa has many great choices to get delicious pasta.

Fresh Pasta of the Day at Arturo’s

Arturo’s on Beechwood. They are also a licensed establishment with a full restaurant. All entrees and desserts, right down the salad dressing, are homemade and au naturel.

Parma Ravioli on Wellington is a large shop to find interesting ingredients for your next pasta night.

Farmer’s Pick, on Prince of Wales, is another store with a wide range of staples.

There are 2 Nicastro’s located in Ottawa, one on Preston and the other in the market at 64 George St.

Another Very Popular Amaretto Made in Italy

With so many wonderful ways to use amaretto, I will be sure to have a constant stockpile of it on hand!

Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on Wednesday, April 19, 2017