One of the many things which make exploring Italian foods so enjoyable is the ability to rationalize drinking the liqueurs found in the country. Included among them is my favorite of spirits, Amaretto.

One of the elder liqueurs (it’s been around since the early 16th century), it’s a spirit that leaves me very happy. It’s versatile as it mixes well with both creams and other liquors. It has that almondy taste to it which makes it a good syrup for desserts. It’s also quite sweet, making it a favored choice over the bitterness of gin and whiskey. For me, it’s the perfect spirit.

How Amaretto was invented is as follows: In 1525, Bernardino Luini was commissioned by the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Saronno, Italy, to paint a fresco of the Madonna. Bernardino turned his efforts toward finding the perfect model for the painting – She must be patient, poised and, most of all, beautiful. He found his model at an inn, where the young lass worked. For the next few months they worked in intimate settings, never more than a few feet apart. The young girl fell deeply in love with the artist. As a gift of her love, she created a sweet, almond-flavored liqueur for Bernardino. This was supposedly the first Amaretto.

Luini, who obviously didn’t know when he had a good thing going, dumped the broad who invented Amaretto. Probably because his work, although quite good, couldn’t stand up to Da Vinci’s Last Supper, also found at the Santa Maria delle Grazie. If I had to compare my work to Da Vinci’s, I’d take a bottle of booze and move on to a new gig as well.

There are as many recipes for Amaretto as there are distillaries. It can be made with almonds or the stones of peaches or apricots, as well as a variety of other spices. It’s very rare for two Amaretto’s made by two different companies, to taste exactly alike.

I bring this topic up, as I am tired and have a sore foot. So instead of getting all political on you, I decided to read up on the history of the drink I am currently having.


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