Liquor Laboratory

Amaretto vs Disaronno: What’s the Difference? (2024 Updated)

Amaretto vs Disaronno

One of my go-to drinks is an Amaretto Sour when I think of a refreshing drink to savor after a long day. However, it’s a big deal for me to choose the right almond-flavored liqueur to enjoy a delicious flavor.

Actually, I’m always torn between using Amaretto vs Disaronno. Yes, they’re both almond-flavored liqueurs, but still, there are subtle differences that set them apart.

As I’ve tried both in my Amaretto Sour, let me share the similarities and subtle differences to help you choose which liqueur you should choose next.

Disaronno & Amaretto Liqueur Compared

Bartender Making Drink Using Disaronno

In particular, Gozio Amaretto boasts a refined, less sweet profile attributed to its usage of superior almonds and apricot kernels.

Amaretto, derived from almonds, diverges from Disaronno, which contains no almonds but simulates the flavor through herbs and spices.

This composition makes Disaronno a safer option for those with nut allergies. Nevertheless, inspecting ingredient lists is prudent, as select Disaronno drinks might still contain almonds or apricot pits.

Disaronno Originale Amaretto, a 56-proof liqueur, exhibits amber hues and almond notes.

Considered the OG Italian liqueur, originating in Lombardy, northern Italy, it harnesses kernel oil (apricot), absolute alcohol, burnt sugar, and a medley of 17 fruits and herbs.

But for those preferring the natural taste of almonds, the Gozio Amaretto drink is a good option.

Read: Our Favorite Amaronno Drinks

Amaretto vs Disaronno Cheat Sheet

Criteria

Amaretto

Disaronno

Origin

Introduced in 1901

Introduced in the 16th century 

Flavor Profile

Candied, nutty, and rich almond-like with a hint of apricot 

Subtle sweetness and robust bittersweet notes 

Alcohol Content

Between 21-28% 

Around 28% ABV

Uses

in cocktails, with Italian coffee, neat or over ice

digestif, aperitif, in cocktails 

Versatility

Yes 

Yes 

Notable Brand

Gozio Amaretto

Disaronno Originale 

Packaging

Rectangular bottle with black, gold, and white colors 

Traditional long necked-bottle with a blue label and cork stopper 

Food Pairing

Chocolate-flavored food, citrus, red and dark fruits, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla

Fruits and berries, milk and dark chocolate

Tradition

Romantic parting gift 

Closely guarded recipe 

How They Differ

Bottle of Gozio Amaretto

Main Ingredients

Amaretto liqueur usually uses almonds, apricot kernels, essential oils, Italian brandy, caramelized sugar, vanilla, and other natural ingredients.

Disaronno fuses bitter almonds (from apricot pits), pure alcohol mixed with burnt sugar, and herbs.

Despite the different compositions, Amaretto and Disaronno taste almost similar, boasting an intense almond taste with a nutty finish.

Read: Amaretto Sour vs Whiskey Sour

Almond Content

As mentioned above, Amaretto is made from real sugared almonds, imparting a sweet, thick, and intense finish.

Conversely, Disaronno imitates the almond flavor using bitter almonds from apricot kernels mixed with herbs and pure alcohol.

“The unique tasting experience enjoyed over ice means consumers across the UK can enjoy a completely new product, still with the distinctive taste of Disaronno.” – Neil Jardine, managing director of Disaronno International UK

Production

Amaretto involves the use of crushed almonds, which are not present in Disaronno.

Regarding the packaging and branding, these almond-based liqueurs have distinct presentations. Particularly, Gozio Amaretto has a sleek rectangular bottle, combining the colors of black, gold, and white.

On the other hand, Disaronno features the traditional long-necked bottle with a classic design, blue label, and small cork stopper.

Read: Recommended Substitutes for Orgeat Syrup

Cocktail Pairing

Bottle of Disaronno

Amaretto and Disaronno each lend their distinct charm to cocktails. In fact, Amaretto’s versatility shines in classics like Amaretto Sour and Godfather, highlighting its nutty sweetness.

But its sweeter taste can be enjoyed neat or over ice.

Disaronno, with its bolder flavor, elevates drinks like Disaronno Sour and Velvet Hammer, adding depth and richness to the drink.

Added Sugars

Actually, Amaretto and Disaronno differentiate in terms of added sugars. Most Amaretto brands may include sweeteners, evident in their sweeter taste.

In comparison, Disaronno may also include added sugars, but it boasts a subtle candied flavor. So, if people prefer a less sweet liqueur, I suggest opting for Disaronno.

Artificial Flavors

Some Amaretto brands might incorporate artificial flavors to enhance their profile. But, of course, there are all-natural Amaretto, like Amaretto Saliza.

For the best Amaretto options, aside from Gozio Amaretto, we suggest trying these:

  • Amaretto di Saronno
  • Hiram Walker Amaretto
  • Amaretto di Amore
  • Caffo Amaretto
  • Lazzaroni Amaretto (with notes of grilled nuts)

In contrast, Disaronno prides itself on natural authenticity, relying on a blend of herbs, spices, and other ingredients to recreate the essence of almonds.

How Are They Similar?

Bottle of Gozio Amaretto and a Glass of Cocktail Drink

Aside from being an almond-flavored liqueur, here are the similarities between Amaretto and Disaronno.

“Sip by sip, Amaretto, and Disaronno weave tales of nutty elegance, a symphony of flavors that dance on tongues.” – Liquor Laboratory

In Cocktails

Utilizing Gozio Amaretto and Disaronno in cocktails elevates the drink’s flavor profile. These almond-based liqueurs offer a delectable nutty taste that harmonizes exquisitely with diverse ingredients.

For instance, integrating Gozio Amaretto enhances a chocolate martini with a velvety, nut-infused note while infusing Disaronno into an espresso martini imparts a delightful sweetness.

Combining these liquors yields exceptional flavor fusions. Whether individually or jointly, Gozio Amaretto and Disaronno are splendid choices for crafting unique cocktails.

Actually, both taste great in a Marzipan Punch or any alcoholic beverage with some peach notes. But what do you mix with Amaretto?

Pricing and Availability

Both Gozio Amaretto and Disaronno have a widespread international distribution. While both brands boast esteemed taste and quality, there might be a slight pricing distinction, but the price range is almost the same.

FAQs

Why is Amaretto now called Disaronno?

Amaretto [1] is now called Disaronno due to marketing reasons. Actually, it was called Amaretto di Dissarono until 2001.

Can you use Disaronno instead of Amaretto?

Yes, you can use Disaronno instead of Gozio Amaretto since they both provide an almond flavor. However, if you want a sweeter taste, using Amaretto vs Disaronno is better.

Are Amaretto and Disaronno interchangeable in cocktail recipes?

Yes, in most cases, Amaretto and Disaronno can be used interchangeably in cocktail recipes, as they have similar flavor profiles. However, Disaronno is often preferred for its distinctive taste and quality.

What sets Disaronno apart from other brands of Amaretto?

Disaronno is known for its unique and secret recipe, which has been passed down through generations since the 16th century. Its flavor profile is characterized by a delicate balance of sweet almond and apricot notes.

Can I use generic Amaretto instead of Disaronno in cocktails?

Yes, generic brands of Amaretto can be used as substitutes for Disaronno in cocktails. However, the flavor and quality may vary depending on the brand.

Are there any cocktails where Disaronno is specifically recommended?

Disaronno is commonly used in classic cocktails like the Amaretto Sour, Godfather, and Disaronno and Cranberry. These cocktails get depth and complexity from its distinct flavor character.

Final Words

If you want your drinks with flavors of sweet almonds, popular Italian liqueur options like Gozio Amaretto or Disaronno Originale [2] are two of the top options in the cocktail industry.

But if I were to choose between Gozio Amaretto vs Disaronno, I would prefer the sweetness of Amaretto, as it can further enhance the overall profile of cocktails, particularly Amaretto Sour.

While artificial extracts may enhance the taste of Amaretto, it does provide the right and natural essence of almond flavors.

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/amaretto
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/03/amaretto-cocktail-romance-empire-of-drinks-henry-jeffreys
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