I’ve been on something of an amaretto kick as of late. I’ve been making the Bocce Ball – a favorite morning cocktail – quite often these days, which has emptied my bottle of Disaronno surprisingly fast. But it hasn’t only been orange juice with which I’ve been mixing the lightly sweet almond-flavored liqueur. No, I’ve also recently been mixing it with milk, to create an after dinner cocktail known as the Toasted Almond.
I will admit – I’ve never been a fan of cocktails requiring milk or milk-based products such as half-and-half and kahlúa. When White Russians became all the rage courtesy of The Big Lebowski – “careful, man, there’s a beverage here” – I didn’t jump on the bandwagon. But the Toasted Almond was intriguing, no doubt based on my newfound taste for amaretto.
I learned about the cocktail from a waiter a month or so ago. I was having brunch with my family, so naturally I ordered a breakfast drink - specifically, a Bocce Ball. He was unfamiliar, so I quickly explained how to make it (only two ingredients); he promised to pass on my instructions to the bartender. Shortly, he returned with my cocktail, mixed to perfection.
After our meal, I casually chatted with him while recovering my child’s stroller. Although the Bocce Ball was new to him, he had encountered a similar concoction while in Germany a few years before: amaretto mixed with milk and some ice, served after dinner. It is made in generally similar proportions to the Bocce Ball and can be modified according to taste.
A few days later, I prepared myself one such drink – amaretto and whole milk (borrowing a bit from the child’s gallon). I researched the drink a bit, but the only recipes I found added vodka along with the two base ingredients. So I departed from the internet and began digging through my bookshelves until I found my old, gnarled copy of Seagram’s Bartending Guide, circa 1995, that I had purchased from a bargain bin around 2004.
Here, I made some progress: amaretto and half-and-half, mixed with ice in equal proportions; Toasted Almond. Half and half seemed a bit aggressive; it was too thin with skim milk. It turned out the baby’s – well, toddler’s – whole milk made the best cocktail.
So to my readers who are parents: borrow the kid’s milk and fix yourself a fine evening cocktail. And on those nights when the baby just won’t fall asleep, maybe add a touch of amaretto to their bottle. Sweet dreams indeed.