Drinks | Recipes

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.

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.

However, as part of my unofficial observation of food bloggers in the wild, I quickly began to notice a pattern in our migratory habits.

A truly sour and fresh amaretto sour cocktail is hard to find. This is a grown-up version that's nothing like what you've tasted from a bottle. #amarettosour #classiccocktails
Photo: Casey Barber

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.

A truly sour and fresh amaretto sour cocktail is hard to find. This is a grown-up version that's nothing like what you've tasted from a bottle. #amarettosour #classiccocktails
Photo: Casey Barber

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.

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.

A truly sour and fresh amaretto sour cocktail is hard to find. This is a grown-up version that's nothing like what you've tasted from a bottle. #amarettosour #classiccocktails
Photo: Casey Barber

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?

amaretto sour
amaretto sour

Amaretto Sour Cocktail

Yield: 2 drinks
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A truly sour and fresh amaretto sour cocktail is hard to find. This is a grown-up version that's nothing like what you've tasted from a bottle.


  • 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) amaretto
  • 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) triple sec
  • 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) simple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • plain, lime, or lemon seltzer


  1. Fill 2 highball glasses with ice and set aside.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and stir in the amaretto, triple sec, and simple syrup.
  3. Add the lemon and lime juice and shake to combine.
  4. Divide the drink between the 2 glasses.
  5. Top with seltzer. 
  6. Drink with wistful remembrances of swaying palms, open-air bars, and mosquito-bitten legs.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 2gSugar: 37gProtein: 1g

The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.

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  1. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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