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The Nutty Godmother

Everything is better with more amaretto.

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I love amaretto, and if I go back in my life history with alcohol (ignoring a brief nasty period that involved gin and tonics and attacking fences) I remember buying amaretto out of curiosity and loving it as a nightcap.  I know it’s a cheesy 70’s drink that makes you think of Goodfellas or better yet Mean Streets which is from the actual time period, but it’s damn good. There’s a whole history of drinks from that time, and most are really sweet or have lemonade in them and lack the sophistication of a contemporary cocktail. I actually prefer my amaretto straight up with a lot of lemon twist to get the lemon oils in there, but I was curious to see what other people did with amaretto, or more specifically Disaronno which is a specific secret formula for amaretto that’s been around for nearly 500 years. I ran across lots of recipes that included many creamy milkshake type drinks and several lemony variations, but the one that stood out was called the Godmother because it involved vodka (naturally I liked that) and sometimes a hint of lemon. It’s actually a riff on the Godfather, which involves scotch instead of vodka, and apparently is so named because the cocktail gatekeepers think that vodka is feminine and scotch is masculine. Whatever; any true scotch lover (and real man) would never ruin a perfectly good scotch by adding some almond syrup to it anyway, and vodka is as much a man’s drink as scotch is a women’s drink, but hey, it was the 70’s.

Anyway, this is my version of the Godmother and it’s worth trying if you like the idea of an almond nightcap. Unlike many of my previous concoctions, this is one that has a lot of flexibility with the proportions. I personally like to use equal parts Disaronno and vodka, but most recipes show a 2 to 1 or even 3 to 1 ratio of vodka to amaretto. That’s just crazy – I mean, I love vodka, but if you’re gonna drink amaretto why dilute it so much? On the other hand, the one thing that I insist on is squeezing lots of lemon peel into your drink to get those yummy sweet lemon oils. I sometimes even muddle the peels in the glass first and just leave them in there for extra lemony flavor. I also recommend a few drops or so of actual lemon juice, and naturally the fancy lemon twist garnish is NOT optional!

UPDATE: After I scheduled this post, I tried it again using orange infused vodka, orange peel and a squeeze of fresh orange juice instead of all the lemon. I think it’s even more delicious, though a bit sweeter. You might want to try it too! Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 ½ oz. lemon infused vodka (ALTERNATE: orange vodka)

  • 1 oz. Disaronno or amaretto

  • ½ teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon (ALTERNATE: orange)

  • Peel from ½ lemon (ALTERNATE: orange)

  • Lemon twist for garnish (ALTERNATE: orange twist)

Pour vodka over ice, add a few drops up to ½ teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon, drizzle Disaronno on top to taste.

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