Amaretto Sours for Ixtapa Nights

Ah, the dismal greige skyline of Manhattan. Haven’t seen you in a while. What? No, I wasn’t fake-baking! I may be living in Jersey, but bitch, pleeez. This is the real deal. I was basking poolside all last week in Ixtapa, Mexico at Club Med Food Blogger Camp—or as we should have called it, Camp BloggaWannaMargarita.

sunset, beach, ixtapa, mexico
Don’t get me wrong—we were hell-bent on soaking up the knowledge in our daily workshops, which have been well-documented by my fellow campers. (I’ve included a list of our blogs at the end of the post.) However, as part of my unofficial observation of food bloggers in the wild, I quickly began to notice a pattern in our migratory habits.

The blogger species, like its hard-bitten newspaper-reporter predecessor, loves to congregate around the bar. And when free drinks come at all hours courtesy of the all-powerful Club Med Bracelet, the bar can be whenever and wherever the pack wants it to be.

And so we brought mugs of Sol to the afternoon workshop! Took Mojitos to the post-workshop beach gathering/daily pummeling by the Mexico surf in preparation for Greyhounds at the pre-dinner happy hour! And of course, closed out every evening under the stars at the Miramar bar with a glass of vino rojo.

It was one of those nights at the after-dinner bar when Owen Rubin, husband to the lovely, whip-smart Dianne Jacob, suggested an amaretto sour. I gave him the eye—god, I haven’t sipped one of those out of a tiny red straw since I turned 21—but he convinced me to give it another post-college try. With precision, he instructed Hugo, our man behind the bar, and slid the finished product over for my review.

amaretto sour, cocktail, drink, club med
Hey, it was actually sour! Instead of retching from sickly amaretto overload, my mouth was puckering! What was this ambrosial nectar and could I get another?

Club Med’s house sour mix made the drink so brain-tinglingly citric, but our stateside bottled versions fail miserably at any hint of sourness, more like thawed lemonade concentrate that leaves a plasticine aftertaste. I’m keeping it tropical by using fresh citrus juice—which also keeps the scurvy away, mind you—but you could sub in bottled lemon and lime concentrate if you absolutely must.

And not to get all bespoke mixologist on you, but through my attempts to recapture the magic at home, I’ve noticed smaller square ice cubes really do work best in this cocktail. Larger chunks melt more slowly, but the flavors seemed meld more fully when they’re quickly chilled. Any food scientists want to help me out with another explanation?


A Beach Home Companion
Catalina Center
Copykat Recipes
Dianasaur Dishes
Food Woolf
FRANtastic Food
Good. Food. Stories.
Indigo Days
Learn to Preserve
A Plate Full
Recipe Girl
The Runaway Spoon
Spoon and Chair
Vanilla Garlic

Matt Armendariz, Matt Bites
Elise Bauer, Simply Recipes
Diane Cu and Todd Porter, White on Rice Couple
Jaden Hair, Steamy Kitchen
Dianne Jacobs, Will Write For Food
David Lebovitz
Adam C. Pearson
Michael and Donna Ruhlman

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  1. says

    I am so trying Owen’s recipe! I love Amaretto Sours. This sounds so much better than using that Mix.

    It was such a pleasure meeting everyone. I have been refilled full of inspiration and creative ideas.

  2. says

    Casey, so much ATTITUDE coming through on this blog. In a good way. It definitely recaptured how much fun we had.

    I made fish tacos last night to try to recapture the mood, but no Amaretto Sours accompanied them, sadly.

    Owen will be puffing out his chest with pride today.

  3. says

    Thanks for posting this Casey. You will have to ask Garrett about the one Club Med tried to make for him. That was why I changed it. They simply put amaretto and soda together, and nothing about it seemed sour at all.

    Also note that you can use Margarita mix instead of lemon and lime juice, which does not work as well, but can be used IF you leave out the simple syrup. Otherwise it gets too sweet again.

    As for the puffing Dianne said above? No, not really, just nice of you to remember the drink. It did turn out well, seeing as I made it up on the fly given what they had behind the bar! :-) Thank you again for capturing it, and glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Richard Stevens says

    Makes my mouth water just reading it!
    Sorry I missed these that night. I must have been up watching Gary Zoomba.
    As soon as my liver shrinks back to normal I’m going to make a batch.

  5. says

    Thank you for this! Owen’s Amaretto Sour was definitely a highlight. I’ve got the recipe for an Ixtapa, and Matt posted David’s Lebovitz Aisle last year. We’ll recreate the experience yet. :)

    Miss you dearly, dearie.

  6. Bryan says

    SO JEALOUS!!! Snowing here and had a greasy wrap for lunch with SODA WATER!!! No Sol here… Sounds like a blast. Have a dip in the ocean and a cerveza para mi!

  7. Casey BarberCasey says

    We’re all resort sick, I think – thanks to everyone for chiming in! We’ll have a nice collection of cocktail recipes by the time everyone posts.

    And Bryan, I KNEW you would be jealous about the copious amounts of Sol. I thought of you every single time I ordered one.

  8. says

    Casey, I loved this post, sorry for being on the slow boat to comment. I’m madly trying to catch up on work and get ready to head back to California next week. I love the smart and snappy voice…no that’s not the right word…Dianne got it right…”Sassy.” That’s what it is. Anyway, great stuff (I didn’t know you were so funny). I so admire a well-honed and clever sense of humor, I’m so lacking in that department (as my husband and kids will tell you). Nice post on pancetta by the way. I’ll be “dropping by” and hope to see you next year. Nancy

  9. says

    Casey, you are one hell of a funny lady! Sadly, I appear to have missed out on Owen’s Sours experience, but you’ve got me itching to get mixing.