Amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur, and Disaronno is the king of amaretto. The name amaretto comes from the word amaro which means bitter in Italian. Not to be confused with many amaro that are bitter liqueurs mainly flavored by herbs, amaretto is a bitter liqueur sweetened with almonds, or in the case of di Saronno, apricot kernels. That’s right, the stone of an apricot is what gives Disaronno its flavor.
The legend of Amaretto Disaronno (or Disaronno Originale, as it’s now known) dates back to 1525 in the town of Saronno, Italy. The artist Bernardo Luini, a student of Leonardo da Vinci, was commissioned to paint a fresco of the Madonna and used a beautiful, local innkeeper as his model. As a gesture of her gratitude, she gave the artist a flask of what is said to be the original recipe of the amaretto from Saronno.
To this day, the recipe has remained a secret. The company states that it is pure alcohol, apricot kernels, burnt sugar and a blend of seventeen different herbs and fruits that give Disaronno its unique flavor. There are absolutely no nuts used in production, so it is safe for those with allergies.
And the trademark rectangular bottle? It was designed by a master glassmaker from Murano in 1971.