Homemade Amaretto Liquor

What You'll Need

  • 1 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup apricot kernels (not the pits, but the kernels inside the pits)
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 TBS fennel seed
  • 1 allspice berry
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 cup 100 proof vodka (divided)
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup white sugar, caramelized
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

I started this project more out of curiosity than desire, never having been a big amaretto drinker. Mostly, I was intrigued by the thought that the powerful almond essence in this Italian digestif was created less by almonds than by the small kernels inside an apricot pit. And I have always loved the repurposing of ingredients, the value added by finding uses for otherwise discarded ingredients. What could be more seemingly useless than an apricot pit? And hold a greater secret inside?

So I started, obviously, by making jam

And  Whether you mix it with champagne or sour mix, pour it over ice cream, or savor it all on it’s own, this is a worthwhile recipe, sure to impress and delight.

Makes 24 ounces
Note: Dried Apricots must be soaked overnight


1) Prepare your ingredients

Chop the dried apricots coarsely, and soak them in 1 cup warm water overnight to rehydrate.

Using a nutcracker, crack the apricot pits to reveal the teardrop-shaped kernel inside. Separate the shell from the kernel, reserving the kernel and discarding the outer shell.

Chop the apricot kernels and almonds coarsely. Smash the fennel, allspice, and cardamom with a mortar and pestle until it is broken but not finely ground.
chop ingredients for amaretto

2) Layer ingredients in vessel and steep

Drain the apricots, and place them in the bottom of a large sealable glass bottle. Layer the spices, almonds and apricot kernels on top, and pour in the vodka and brandy.

Let this mixture steep in a cool, dark place for a month or more, shaking occasionally.

3) Strain after at least one month

Strain out the solids through a strainer, pressing them down firmly to extract as much flavor as possible from them. (If you like, rinse the apricots off and use them in scones or other baked goods. Wow.)

Pour the strained liquid through a coffee filter into another glass container. While this liquid will strain very slowly, it will keep the finished product clear and beautiful.

4) Make caramelized sugar simple syrup

Meanwhile, caramelize the white sugar. In a saucepan on moderate heat, brown the sugar, stirring constantly to keep it from burning.

At the same time, in another pot, heat half a cup of water to a boil.

Add the water to the browned sugar a little at a time, making a dense simple syrup.
Pour this syrup into another container to cool.


5) Combine strained infusion and simple syrup

When the syrup is cool and the amaretto completely strained, add the syrup to the amaretto to taste. Add the vanilla extract at this point if you wish to enhance the flavor.

6) Bottle and store

Bottle in an airtight container, and let the amaretto rest for at least a week before drinking.

It should keep at room temperature for 6 months.


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