The Amaretto Stone Sour cocktail is a deliciously sweet and citrusy drink that never goes out of style! The combination of Amaretto liqueur and citrus juice makes for a tasty and iconic cocktail. This drink is a take on an Amaretto Sour, but the addition of orange juice takes it to another level.
This drink is perfect for sipping on a warm summer day or serving at brunch! The unique combination of nutty Amaretto with lemon, lime and orange creates cocktail that's delicious, and perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
If you love this drink, you'll also enjoy my Amaretto French 75 with Amaretto and Champagne! Or, the Blood Orange Mimosa is another amazing brunch drink to try. You can use the blood orange juice in this drink too!
What is Amaretto?
Amaretto is a sweet almond-flavored Italian liqueur that originated in the 1500's in Saronno, Italy. The town is where the most well-known brand, Disaronno, got its name, and it's is still produced there today.
Amaretto can be made with a few different flavoring ingredients, including apricot pits, (also called kernels), peach stones, or bitter almonds. Each brand has their own unique recipe that tastes slightly different.
Amaretto is not to be confused with Amaro, which is a different style of bitter liqueur. Find out more in my Amaro post!
History of the Amaretto Stone Sour
The Amaretto Stone Sour is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. The first mention of a Stone Sour was in a cocktail book written by Tom Bullock, an African-American bartender. His book, The Ideal Bartender,(which you can read for free here thanks to Project Gutenberg!) was written in 1917 and detailed a Stone Sour with gin and orange juice.
The cocktail had a resurgence in popularity in the late 1970's, eventually rising to fame when the NYC restaurant Sardi's began serving it. It reached a peak during the Disco era, but is still relevant (and tasty) to this day.
Here are the ingredients you'll need for this cocktail:
- Amaretto - I used Disaronno Amaretto, which has sweet notes of caramel and honey and a smooth almond-like flavor.
- Orange Juice - preferably freshly squeezed orange juice. This gives the drink a deliciously tart, fresh flavor.
- Lemon Juice - fresh lemon juice brings brightness and acidity.
- Lime Juice - fresh lime juice brings even more acidity and cuts through the sweet liqueur.
- Simple Syrup - you can use store-bought syrup, but I love using homemade simple syrup!
- Maraschino cherry - optional, but gives a great pop of color as a garnish.
Keep in mind that if you don't have fresh citrus, you can use a store bought sour mix in place of the lemon, lime and simple syrup.
Here are some ways you can substitute the ingredients in this drink:
- Amaretto - although many people default to the Disaronno brand, you can experiment by using a different brand. You can also try using a different liqueur, like Nocino, which is made of walnuts, or Frangelico, made of hazelnuts.
- Lemon & Lime Juice - a sour mix can be used in place of fresh fruit juice and the simple syrup. Or, (and I'm not really going to recommend this as I think it is way too sweet), but you can try using lemon lime soda instead.
- Syrup - instead of simple syrup, you can use maple syrup or agave nectar.
Here are some variations on this recipe:
- Whiskey Amaretto Stone Sour - cut through the sweetness with a little added whiskey. You can add up to 1 ounce, depending on how strong you want the drink to be. Dark rum is also a delicious choice.
- Campari - add ¼ ounce of Campari liqueur to add some depth and bitterness, counteracting the sweetness of the Amaretto.
- Less sugar Amaretto Stone Sour - Amaretto liqueur has a ton of sugar in it, so you can't really use that if you are trying to watch your sugar intake. Instead, omit it and try using whiskey along with a capful of almond extract. You can also omit the simple syrup, or use a sugar-free syrup. This way you are only left with the sugars from the fresh fruit.
- Virgin - if you're avoiding alcohol, you can use an Amaretto substitute in place of the hard stuff. Lyre's Amaretti is a wonderful non-alcoholic replacement.
For this cocktail, you'll want to have a cocktail shaker, jigger, Hawthorne strainer, and mesh strainer. You'll also need a cocktail serving glass, and a cocktail pick or toothpick if you plan to make the orange and maraschino cherry garnish. A knife and cutting board, plus a citrus juicer are also a must if you're using fresh fruit.
If you need any new bar equipment, I really love the products from A Bar Above! You can get 10% off using my discount code, LKDrinks. Their shakers and strainers are the best (and dishwasher safe too)!
Start by prepping your orange garnish. Cut a round slice of fresh orange. Then, thread your cocktail pick through the orange slice and maraschino cherry, creating a little orange taco shape.
Set the garnish aside while you make the drink. Juice your lemon and lime if you're using fresh citrus, and add the juice to the cocktail shaker.
Add simple syrup to the cocktail shaker, and juice your orange if you are using fresh fruit.
Add the orange juice and Amaretto to the cocktail shaker.
Fill the glass with ice and shake about 15-20 times.
Double strain, using a regular strainer and fine mesh strainer together, over ice into your serving glass.
Rest your orange and cherry garnish on top of the drink, and serve. Cheers!
Hint: If you're using freshly squeezed fruit juice, double straining your cocktail will prevent any pulp from making its way into your drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
Amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur. To be considered Amaretto, it needs to be made with either almonds or apricot kernels (pits). It is a liqueur, which means it is a lower ABV than a regular spirit (usually around 25-28% alcohol rather than 40%) and contains sugar.
You can definitely make your own sweet and sour mix! Simply mix together equal parts lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Go one step further in making your own simple syrup using our homemade simple syrup.
If you're getting ready to throw a party, try setting out some lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, and simple syrup in easy-to-pour containers. That way, your guests can mix themselves up a delicious Amaretto Stone Sour or a classic Amaretto Sour whenever they feel like it.
Amaretto Stone Sour
- 1 orange slice
- 1 maraschino cherry
- Cut an orange slice for your garnish.
- Thread your cocktail pick through the orange slice and maraschino cherry to make your garnish (like a mini orange taco). Set it aside while you make the drink.
- Add all of the liquid ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
- Fill the shaker with ice and shake well, about 15-20 times.
- Strain the drink over fresh ice in your cocktail glass. Use both a regular strainer and a fine mesh strainer if you want to get out all of the citrus pulp.
- Rest your garnish on the rim of the glass and serve.