My mother used to have a saying for folks who had expensive taste in things they really couldn’t afford. She used to say they had “champagne taste and a beer pocketbook”.
I can relate. Guilty as charged. Sometimes I get a hankering for the finer things in life even though my budget tells me otherwise.
So what can we do when we find ourselves in this predicament? We can make our own!
And that’s just what I did this week by making my own Amaretto liqueur instead of spending money to buy an expensive bottle of the stuff. It’s kind of like having your cake and eating it too . . . or in this case having your champagne and/or amaretto with your little beer-sized budget.
Amaretto is a sweet liqueur that can be used in drinks or in cooking. (I remember using amaretto one time in a cheesecake recipe). Amaretto has an almond type of taste, even though it is not made with almonds. The history of Amaretto is that it has been made in Italy for several centuries and uses apricot pits along with other herbs and spices. For our purposes we will be using almond extract, which does an excellent job of making an amaretto type flavored beverage. The 2 tablespoons of almond extract called for in the recipe will use up most of a little 2 oz bottle.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups vodka (a cheap vodka works just fine)
- 2 tablespoons almond extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
You will also need:
Glass bottle for storing your finished liqueur
A funnel is also helpful for pouring the contents into the bottle
1. Combine the water and the sugars in a small saucepan. Heat on the stove, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugars are dissolved.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sugar mixture cool thoroughly. This will probably take somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes. (If the sugar syrup is too hot, it can evaporate some of the vodka when you combine the two, resulting in a final product that may be a little too sweet.)
3. Pour the two cups of vodka into the glass bottle, followed by the almond extract and the vanilla extract. You will want to use a funnel if you are using a narrow necked bottle as pictured above.
4. Finally, add the cooled sugar mixture to the other ingredients in the bottle.
5. Put the lid or cork on your bottle and shake gently to mix the ingredients.
6. The amaretto does not have to age and can be used immediately, however you will probably find that it does mellow and get a little smoother with time.
Need a drink suggestion for your bright shiny new batch of amaretto? Here’s a tasty cocktail we enjoy called a Cuban Breeze that’s a refreshing drink in the summer months.
CUBAN BREEZE COCKTAIL
Put some ice in a highball style glass. Add the shot of amaretto and the shot of vodka. Top it off with the pineapple juice. Garnish with a piece of fresh pineapple if desired.