A lazy afternoon resulted in an easy, 3-ingredient Amaretto Julep to celebrate warmer weather and the return of longer days. With just bourbon, amaretto, and cardamom bitters (and mint for garnish), this Mint Julep makes a nod to the 70s classic cocktail, the Godfather. So I named it Vito’s Julep. Somehow associating a cocktail made for horse racing with mobsters seemed appropriate.
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What is a Mint Julep?
Mint Juleps, most traditionally associated with the Kentucky Derby are an easy cocktail to put together. Since they have just a few ingredients, mint, sugar, bourbon and ice, they are infinitely variable. If you’d like to learn more about how to make a classic mint julep, head here. Or you can go to my article: How to Make a Riff on a Mint Julep.
I often get asked how to serve a Mint Julep, and I always recommend a metal julep cup. A Mint Julep is all about the experience of the frosty cup, the mint right next to the straw, the scent of the fresh herb with every sip from the straw. In my mind, any Derby julep should be served in a metal julep cup.
What’s the Connection to the Godfather Cocktail?
I always love roasted almonds paired with bourbon, so adding amaretto to the cocktail was an easy substitution for the simple syrup. The classic Godfather cocktail is an old fashioned-type drink with bourbon or scotch and amaretto served over ice. It’s sweet, but it’s a simple and easy expression, especially flavorful when used with a lightly peated scotch blend.
Because I kept the ingredients similar to the Godfather, I decided to name it after a mobster, and I figured everyone would get the Vito reference from the Godfather movie.
Cardamom in this Almond Mint Julep
Because of the sweetness of this julep from the Disaronno amaretto, you need some bitters to even things out and adding in cardamom is a revelation. Cardamom has both spice and floral associations for me. Cracked pods are fragrant and heady.
In this cocktail, rather than use fresh pods, I opted for Scrappy’s Bitters Cardamom bitters to add in the balancing floral flavors of cardamom. It’s very similar to the flavor profile for my Semla cocktail earlier this year.
How to Make an Amaretto Julep
Like most juleps, this one is fast and easy, when entertaining because I just build it in the metal julep cup. But if I’m just making one or two, I use a mixing glass to make sure all the flavors meld completely before pouring it over crushed ice.
For this recipe, I add the bourbon, Disaronno, and cardamom bitters to the mixing glass, add ice, and stir briefly to chill. Then I add it to a julep cup filled with crushed ice and top with more crushed ice, a sprig of mint, and an almond biscotti.
Other Cocktails You Might Enjoy
- Chocolate Mint Julep
- Breakfast Julep
- Persian Julep
- Blueberry Sage Julep
- Strawberry Julep
- Watermelon Julep
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Vito’s Julep – Amaretto Julep
- 1.5 oz bourbon or blended scotch 90-100 proof
- 1 oz amaretto
- 3 dashes Scrappy’s Cardamom bitters
- Garnish: mint sprig, almond biscotti
- Add bourbon, amaretto, and bitters to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir briefly, then pour into a julep cup filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a spanked mint sprig and a biscotti cookie.