There’s no better time than right now to learn how to make fun cocktails. Practicing mixology is a hobby that’s fun, delicious, and it will impress your guests when you start hosting events again. To get started, check out my series on home bar essentials. Or kick things off with a fun twist on an old classic, by making this Amaretto Old Fashioned with Cherry-Almond Ice.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission if you click through and buy something, at no additional cost to you!
I love trying out new combinations of ingredients when it comes to cocktails. But sometimes, the old classics are staples for a reason, and you don’t need to mess around with them too much. If you want to experiment with mixing your own cocktails, beginning with a classic cocktail as a base, like this old fashioned, and then adding a twist, is a great way to get started.
Let’s Make an Amaretto Old Fashioned
First, you’ll need to make the cherry-almond ice, at least one and a half hours before serving these cocktails, to give them time to freeze solid. Add the cherries to each slot of the mold, and then cover with a mixture of water and almond extract. It’s just enough to add a subtle flavor, but not overwhelming. Place in the freezer until solid.
I used a silicone chocolate truffle mode to make my ice cubes, which results in a rounded shape, perfectly fitting each cherry. If you only have a standard ice cube tray, you may want to serve this drink with a single larger ice cube, filled with two or three cherries.
The cocktail itself is made in the glass, and you will want to use an old fashioned (or lowball) glass, or a double old fashioned glass. These usually have a thicker base, which makes muddling a bit easier. Add the sugar cube, and about six dashes of bitters, enough to saturate the sugar. Then muddle until they are combined. If you don’t have a muddler, a flat end of a wooden spoon or spatula can work nicely.
Add the liquors next. I used Disaronno amaretto and Maker’s Mark bourbon. However, feel free to use your favorites, whatever you have on hand, or something easy to find at your local liquor store. The important thing with cocktails is that you will enjoy it, so using brands you like can make a difference.
Stir to dissolve the sugar. It won’t dissolve completely at this point, but it will begin to mix itself in slowly, as the ice melts. Add three of the cherry-almond ice cubes and serve. This doesn’t need additional garnish, but if you want to you can add a citrus twist.
How to Serve This Cocktail
An old fashioned is a sipping drink. It’s not meant to be downed quickly, but instead it’s meant to be enjoyed and savored. It’s mostly liquor, after all. For this particular version, as the ice melts, the almond and cherry flavors are added to the cocktail. Swish it gently before each sip to mix in the newest tastes. Enjoy this drink over the course of about an hour, or during a meal.
Personally, I think you can drink bourbon any time of day, but this would be a good drink for a cocktail hour, after dinner, with dessert, or as a nightcap. If you’re serving it with dessert, I recommend something light and fruity like vanilla ice cream covered in cherry pie filling, or mini chocolate chip skillet cookies (which also feature a little bit of almond!)
Since this drink is mixed in the glass, it’s easy to double or multiply the recipe to make these for a group. When I do that, I generally make them assembly-line style, doing each step of the process for each glass.
Amaretto Old Fashioned with Cherry-Almond Ice
- 18 Black Cherries pitted, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup Water
- 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
Amaretto Old Fashioned
- 1 Sugar Cube
- 6 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1 oz Bourbon
- 1/2 oz Amaretto
- 3 Cherry-Almond Ice Cubes
- Make the cherry-almond ice: Mix together the water and almond extract until combined. Add a cherry to each slot in chocolate truffle mold, with the hole from the pit facing the top. Pour the almond mixture over, covering the cherries, and filling the slots nearly to the top. Wipe off any excess liquid, and freeze for 1 1/2 hours.
- Make the cocktail: In a double old fashioned glass, add the sugar cube, and sprinkle with the bitters until saturated. Muddle until combined. Add the amaretto and bourbon, and stir thoroughly. Add three ice cubes and serve.
- This is a sipping drink. As you enjoy it, the ice cubes will melt and the almond and cherry flavors will add another level to the cocktail. Serve it immediately, but drink it slowly, over the course of a meal or about an hour.
- I used a chocolate truffle mold to make these ice cubes. These are smaller than a standard ice cube tray, so if you are using that, you may want to add more cherries to each cube.
- If you need to adjust the amount of almond water for your ice cube or truffle tray, keep the same 1-cup water to 1-tsp almond extract ratio. Keep in mind larger ice cubes will take longer to melt and lend their flavors to the drink.
- A sugar cube is equal to 1/2 tsp of granulated sugar.
- For the alcohol, I used Disaronno amaretto and Maker's Mark bourbon. Feel free to switch out for your favorites.