National Amaretto Day is nuts

How did this “holiday” come to be? Legend has it, that in the sixteenth century, one of Leonardo da Vinci’s scholars, Bernardino Luini, was instructed to paint the sanctuary of a Saronno, Italy church. Since the church was dedicated to Madonna (no, not the Material Girl), Luini needed a model to inspire his painting. He found his inspiration in a beautiful, widowed innkeeper. He inspired her as well and wanted to thank him with a present, but she was lacking in funds, so settled with steeping apricot kernels in brandy and presented him with the resulting liqueur.

Whether or not that’s how it really went down, Amaretto goes down easily, and is a treat for the taste buds.

Amaretto made its way overseas to the U.S. in the 1960s, and has been known as a trademark almond-flavored liqueur ever since. So celebrate National Amaretto Day with an Amaretto-infused cocktail. Instead of blaming it on the rain, Blame it on Rio:

Blame it on Rio
1/4 oz. Vodka
1/4 oz. Spiced rum
1/4 oz. Malibu rum
1/4 oz. Amaretto liqueur
1/4 oz. Peach liqueur
1/4 oz. Banana liqueur
1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
Soda water
Squeeze of lime

Shake and pour ingredients into a tall glass.
Top with soda water and garnish with squeeze of lime.
Variation: Top with Chambord or Midori liqueurs.

Credit: Chad LaMont

Note: Don’t mistake Amaro Italian liqueur for Amaretto. If you do, your cocktail will be herb-flavored, instead of almond-flavored.

Interestingly, National High Five Day is also on April 19. So this Thursday, Blame it on Rio and then high five your buddies!

click to enlarge National Amaretto Day is nuts -
National Amaretto Day is nuts

This Thursday, celebrate the “holiday” established in honor of the almond-flavored Italian liqueur, Amaretto. If you have never tasted Amaretto, National Amaretto Day, celebrated on April 19, would be the perfect day to do so.

Amaretto is enjoyed either in cocktails, on the rocks or neat. Believe it or not, this almond-flavored liqueur derives from apricot kernel oil and burnt sugar. Obviously, that doesn’t sound very appealing, but once it was enhanced by sweet almonds or sweetener, and spice, the liqueur was quite nice. Amaretto itself isn’t bitter, but sometimes emits a bitter aftertaste, so the liqueur was named Amaretto, which translates into “slightly bitter.”

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