$ — 28% ABV — Amaretto
Originally, Disaronno was named Amaretto di Saronno Originale, or 'the original amaretto from Saronno.' While the name has changed, Disaronno still claims it was established in 1525. This is a nod to a piece of folklore that suggests the first bottle of amaretto was a gift from a beautiful Saronnesi woman to an apprentice of Leonardo da Vinci.
People who live in Lombardi however will know amaretto as a regional specialty, not unlike Kentucky and corn likker. And apricot works its way into everything Saronnesi, most famously its macaroons. Award-winning recipes aren't bandied about by gorgeous Italian women, so what actually sets Disaronno apart?
Though Disaronno is no longer marketed as an amaretto, the category of liqueur is made from a bittersweet tincture of almond nuts or apricot kernels or both. While this may seem like a strange pairing, the two are — from a biological view — very closely related. And both have a creamy taste that's somewhat sweet and somewhat bitter. Hence 'amaretto,' which is Italian for: 'slightly bitter.'
Disaronno kicks things up to another level by using not just apricot and almond, but also over a dozen other ingredients. It's then colored with caramel to a lovely shade of autumn normally reserved for Cognac. The final product is rather gorgeous, but also bizarre and unique. While it will make you feel quite old fashioned, it's very easy to sip Disaronno over ice as a dessert drink. And speaking of Old Fashioneds, it also pairs famously in a brandy cocktail. Just don't forget the almond biscotti.
ILLVA Saronno is located in Saronno, Lombardi in Northern Italy. Established in 1902 by Domenico Reina, it is now the head of a conglomerate.