Homemade Amaretto



If you know me, whether personally or via this five-year-old blog (wow!), you know that very little makes me happier than entertaining, always in a homemade way or using items made independently and in small batches. Once I found my love for the hosted gathering,  grandiose  or intimate, it took me about five minutes to figure out where I got this gene, that “party” gene that keeps my pantry and fridge stocked for an impromptu antipasti plate any moment of the day…

When my Mother walks into a room, the party starts. It always did. It did when she was a young, svelte Honduran stunner and it does today, though she’s in her seventh decade, often in and out of doctor’s offices for various treatments, but always with a youthful smile. And among the various rules of this inadvertent event planner is to always, always put a drink in a guest’s hand the moment they walk in the door. It didn’t matter if it was ice water or champagne, though the latter always got the party started that much quicker.

I’m sipping a little something as I type this, indulging in the quiet before the storm that will be our third Eat Boutique Fall Market on Saturday, September 22. The “little something” is effortless and truly the perfect entrée  into creating a homemade cocktail bar. The recipe for this simple, dark Amaretto comes directly from the pages of Alana Chernila’s new book, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making, a book that has remained in the heart of my kitchen since the moment it arrived.

Some cookbooks are read cover to cover, put through a recipe test and then gently placed into my cookbook room (what a friend has come to call my living room whose shelves overflow with 10 novels and 10 other shelves filled with you know what). Alana’s book brims with tempting vignettes and delightfully easy recipes that will make you feel like a superhero in the kitchen. Really, a superhero.

I use the Amaretto in a variety of ways, and remember the cocktail of choice when I first started sipping guzzling spirits in my twenties: Amaretto Sours. They were easy, familiar and quite tasty. The photos below were 100% inspired by Not Without Salt’s post. We replaced the cherries with peaches and the Amaretto Sour revival is now in full swing around these parts.

Those of you in the Boston area will be able to buy Alana’s new book and meet her at the Fall Market. She’ll sign her book and chat about it this Saturday, so please do venture out to meet her. The Market is free (but RSVP) and we’ll have piles and piles of her book on hand to sell. My Mother will be around too, helping me get the party started. See you there!

Homemade Amaretto

From Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Pantry

Makes: 4 cups


  • 1 cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3.5 cups vodka
  • 4 tablespoons almond extract


  1. Combine the brown sugar with 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved, then let cool.
  2. Use a pairing knife to split the vanilla bean from one end to the other to expose the sticky seeds inside.
  3. Pour the liquid into a bottle or jar, then add the split vanilla bean, vodka and almond extract. Top with the lid and shake to combine. The amaretto is ready to drink immediately but will get better with age.
All photos styled and taken by Michelle Martin.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique​–​a food​-​retail concept space ​with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.

Follow Eat Boutique’s founder Maggie here: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Follow Eat Boutique here: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.


  • Jill @ FreestyleFarm

    Alcohol rarely touches my lips, but Amaretto is one of my favorites! I must order this book pronto!

    • It’s a great book! I just love it. 🙂

  • I absolutely LOVE amaretto, and this post changes everything.

  • cajudes

    Any reason this couldn’t be made with grain alcohol? I can’t drink vodka.

    • I’ve never tried it but if you do, let us know how it is. I think it would work. Take care!

  • What!? No rose petals? When I make Amaretto, my recipe is about the same, only I use almonds rather than extract and I slightly toast the almonds for more flavor and add 1/2 cup or so rose petals (make sure the petals come from rose bushes that were NOT sprayed with herbicides or pesticides, etc. NEVER use rose petals off roses you get from a florist!

    • Gwenivere!! I am going to try YOUR recipe next weekend. I’ve made cordials from actual almonds before and I really have never loved them. But your recipe could change that… Do you have a favorite online source for rose petals? Thanks! xox, Maggie

  • zosia

    Do you think this would work with coconut sugar equally well?

    • I’ve never used coconut sugar, zosia, so I don’t know. Let us know how it goes! xox

  • monika

    Hi there. I’d like to make this and give it as a gift, but I’d first like to know how long is it’s shelf life and must it be kept in the refrigerator? Thanks so much 🙂

    • Hi Monika – it’s vodka, so it lasts a while. I’ve had mine out at room temperature for several months with no issue. Vodka pretty much kills most things. 🙂 xox