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The Amaretto Sour - Morgenthaler vs Kos!

Hello Friends of Cocktails. The Negroni and Old Fashioned are usually battling for the top spot on the list of most popular cocktails, but is that also what people are looking for online? Not according to Difford’s Guide… so today we’ll look at a top 5 cocktail from last year, the Amaretto Sour. This is an 80s era cocktail that burned or faded away - depending on who you ask - but was then brought back by the renowned Jeffrey Morgenthaler.


We’ll hear from the man himself and try his version of the Amaretto Sour - spoiler alert, it’s amazing - and then I’ll make it my own way with a bit of cooking, a lot of mixology, and even a hint of pastry art. If you’re into experimenting and expanding the horizons, then today’s cocktail is for you. But how was the Amaretto Sour created in the first place? 

This cocktail is said to have been created in the 70’s by the US importer of "Amaretto di Saronno". The mix of Amaretto and lemon soon got the full 80’s treatment, think sour mix and orange juice,  so once the cocktail renaissance of the new millenia came about, Amaretto Sour was not really one of those classic cocktails bartenders were digging up. 

Even with the modern specs of 2 parts Amaretto, 1 part fresh lemon juice, a dash of angostura and an egg white, you’re still talking about a very sweet, almondy drink. But in 2012 a bartender changed the recipe and humbly called it the Best Amaretto Sour in The World. That bartender of course was Jeffrey Morgenthaler, one of the biggest names in the cocktail industry. He’s an award-winning bartender and author I happily consider a friend. 

His Bar Book is something every aspiring bartender should read, and the signed Drinking Distilled I got as a birthday present from our director Robi has a special place on my bookshelf. I invited Jeffrey to share why and how he created his version of the Amaretto Sour, and if you want to find out, including his advice to young bartenders, you can find the interview in the full episode on YouTube! In summary though, Jeffrey found the Amaretto Sour to be too sweet and lacking body. 

To fix this he added cask-strength bourbon, and since there’s now less of the liqueur he added a barspoon of 2:1 syrup. With that, let’s make and taste the Morgenthaler Amaretto Sour, before we’ll build on that and make the Kos Amaretto Sour. It’s Cocktail Time!

Morgenthaler Amaretto Sour

● 45mL · 1.5oz Amaretto

● 30mL · 1oz Cask Strenght Bourbon

● 22.5mL · 0.75oz Lemon Juice

● 5mL · -0.25oz Liber & Co. Gum Syrup 

● 15mL · 0.5oz Egg White

Before we do anything else I’ll separate the egg white, and as a useful tip, you can use your hawthorne strainer for this by cracking the egg on the spring side. Now into a tin add all the ingredients, keeping the egg white for last, and instead of a dry shake I’ll emulsify the egg and mix the ingredients with a milk frother. Then add ice and give it a shake to chill and dilute the cocktail, strain over fresh ice in a low tumbler glass, and garnish with a lemon peel and a maraschino cherry. Cheers!

Jeffrey’s version of the Amaretto Sour is sweet and rich, but it also has the backbone and the balance you expect in a sour cocktail. So I can’t argue with Jeffrey and his description of this adjusted recipe. But can we push it a little further, while still keeping the core of the amaretto sour intact? We’ll try that with Cacao Butter-washed Bourbon and a maraschino cherry syrup candy as garnish.


I’ll also use two super ingredients that we’ve made on Cocktail Time before, Lemon Super Juice and Super Foam. So let’s begin with our bourbon. 

Cocoa Bourbon

● 330mL · 11oz 50% ABV Bourbon 

● 40g Cacao Butter

Start by weighing out your cacao butter, to which we’ll add our bourbon. You can do this using a jar and place it in a water bath on the stove trying to keep the temperature low, but a sous vide gives you the vacuum, making sure the infusion is optimal and you have complete control over temperature. We’ll set this to 55°C or 130°F and cook it for 2,5 hours, and I'll shake the bag a few times during that time.


Once it’s done, cool it slightly in an ice bath, but you can do it with tap water in the sink as well. Then I’ll place it in the freezer for the butter to solidify completely - that’s how we’ll be able to filter out just our cacao-infused bourbon, without the butter parts. Once that’s done, cut open the bag and pour the liquid through a coffee filter. The leftover cacao butter can be used to make cacao butter syrup, like we did in the Hot Buttered Rum episode, or use it in your next dessert for some added richness. 

All that’s left is to bottle and label your Cacao Bourbon and let’s move on to making gummy bears from maraschino cherry syrup.

Maraschino Gummy Bears

● 40mL · 1.33oz Maraschino Cherry Syrup

● 4 Gelatine Sheets

● 6 drops 20% Saline Solution


To start I’ll need to soak the gelatin sheets in cold water, and once they are softened squeeze out the water and add them to the syrup. Heat this slowly on low heat and stir the mixture constantly, but be careful not to bring this up to a boil. And make sure you already have your silicone molds ready while you’re doing this, because when the gelatine is fully melted,while the mixture is still hot, we need to pour the maraschino jelly in the molds.

I’m using a mold for gummy bears, which I think will look nice on the edge of the glass, but you could also make simple circles and place that on top of the cocktail. Once you’ve filled your mold, place it in the freezer for about 40 minutes or the fridge for 4 hours - and while you’re at it, just go ahead and add a nick&nora glass in there as well. When that’s done you’re ready to eat the gummy bears, and make the cocktail before you eat them all! Let’s make the Kos’ Amaretto Sour.

Kos’ Amaretto Sour

● 45mL · 1.5oz Amaretto

● 30mL · 1oz Cacao Bourbon

● 22.5mL · 0.75oz Super Lemon Juice

● 15mL · 0.5oz Super Foam

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● 1 Maraschino Gummy Bear

Start with a chilled shaker into which we’ll add our ingredients, and if you have a sweet tooth feel free to add a barspoon of gum syrup. Then before we add the ice, froth up the cocktail and emulsify our foamer with a milk frother. You’ll see how much air that incorporates as you’re doing this, then add the ice and shake. Now grab the chilled nick&nora glass and garnish it by placing our Maraschino Gummy Bear on the side of the glass. Now double strain the cocktail and let’s give it a try, cheers!

On the aroma, you can already detect cacao notes, pairing nicely with amaretto. It's creamy and has a rich flavor of almonds and chocolate. As far as texture Super Foam delivers, and honestly in a blind taste test you wouldn't sense the difference here. Maraschino Gummy Bears are a great replacement to the cherry from the classic version, and it adds the finishing touch to the cocktail. With this, you’ve made it to the Bottom of The Glass.

Today to bring it back around to the intro, if the Amaretto Sour was the number 4 most viewed cocktail on Difford’s Guide... What were the top 3? It’s the Naked & Famous, the Gin Basil Smash, and at number one: the Pornstar Martini! I’ve covered the Gin Basil Smash, and the Pornstar Martini, a while back, both my own way, so if you’d like to see the Naked and Famous on Cocktail Time let me know with a comment on YouTube. Until next time, cheers!

1 коментар

Jorge Perez
Jorge Perez
04 квіт.

I love Kos style recipes

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