It’s Friday … Have a Drink: Oak & Almond

oak and almond cocktail recipe
It’s Friday … Have a Drink: Oak & Almond
Our weekly recommendation.

My wife went all out on cocktail stuff for Christmas (one of the many reasons I love her), and one of the things she got for me was a barrel aging kit from Tuthilltown. If you’re not familiar with those guys, they’re a small distillery in the Hudson Valley part of New York. They primarily produce whiskies (two bourbons, a rye, and a single malt), all of which are well-regarded. They also have a lot of interesting equipment available in their online store.

Both my wife and I enjoy Amaretto quite a bit, but we like it on the drier, spicier side. The latest bottle we bought, from Gozio, was a little too sweet for our tastes, so I decided to see how barrel-aging it would go. The answer is: deliciously! The amaretto took to the process really well — it’s gained a nice woody note on top, the sweetness has declined a bit, and the spiciness is more pronounced. It’s gone from being pretty one-note to something much more nuanced.

I thought I’d pair it with gin, sweet vermouth, and bitters, and see how it went down. I used a bold London Dry gin to stand up to the strong flavors here, and the overall combination is very nice.

If you don’t want to barrel-age your own Amaretto, this cocktail will still be really tasty, though I recommend Luxardo amaretto in that case.

  • 1.5 oz. London Dry Gin (No. 3 is delicious)
  • 1.5 oz. Sweet Vermouth (Carpano Antica or another spicy vermouth)
  • .5 oz. Barrel Aged Amaretto (I used Gozio)
  • Dash Orange Bitters (I went with The Bitter Truth)

Combine all ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.

This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts.

Christopher Buecheler is a novelist, a web developer, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer, a guitarist, a drummer, and an NBA enthusiast. He lives a semi-nomadic life with his wife and two cats, currently residing in Providence, RI. You can learn more at his website, cwbuecheler.com.