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The Godfather cocktail is an underrated gem (and you only need 2 ingredients)

You only need two ingredients to make the Godfather

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If you’re anything like us, when you think of whisk(e)y cocktails, your mind tends to head towards bourbon or rye whiskey-based drinks. This is because iconic cocktails like the Manhattan, old fashioned, and mint julep seem to get all the acclaim from cocktail enthusiasts. But if you’re not mixing with Scotch whisky, you’re missing out.

Not only is the penicillin one of the greatest contemporary cocktails, but you can also use single malt Scotch whisky and blended Scotch whisky as the base for any of your favorite whiskey-based cocktails to give them a Highland, Islay, or Speyside twist. And while you can mix up an elaborate, smoky whisky sour with a Lagavulin 16 or an Ardbeg 10-year-old base, you can also whip up a classic, boozy Godfather cocktail even easier.

What is the Godfather?

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When it comes to flavorful, simple cocktails, it’s difficult to top the elegant, nuanced palate of a well-made Godfather cocktail. To make this drink, you don’t need an advanced degree in mixology (if that even exists). You also don’t need any bitters, shrubs, tinctures, herbs, or any other specialized ingredients. All you need are amaretto and Scotch whisky. That’s it. The drink typically calls for the two ingredients half and half.

A Hollywood history

Whiskey in glass
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You might have guessed it already, but the Godfather does have its roots in Hollywood. While we don’t know who actually invented the drink, it was named after the iconic 1972 film The Godfather. Disaronno (the famous Italian amaretto brand) claims the drink was a favorite of actor Marlon Brando, who played the titular godfather Vito Corleone, but there’s no proof that this is actually true. The first appearance of the drink was in 1977 in Complete Bar Guide by Stanley M. Jones. Regardless of who and when it was created, it remains a warming, complex cocktail today.

What you’ll need to make the Godfather cocktail

Whiskey bottles
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  • 1.5 ounces Scotch whisky
  • 1.5 ounces amaretto

The Godfather recipe steps

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  1. Add ice to a mixing glass.
  2. Add Scotch whisky and amaretto to the glass.
  3. Stir to combine.
  4. Add ice to a rocks or old fashioned glass.
  5. Strain the ingredients into the ice-filled glass.

Picking the right whisky

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While the classic recipe calls for Scotch whisky and amaretto, what you use as the whisk(e)y element is up to you. If you’re going traditional, you’ll pick a nice single malt Scotch whisky or a complex blended Scotch whisky. But if you really want to get wild with it, you’ll use a different whisk(e)y.

Bourbon adds even more sweetness to the already sweet, almond-flavored liqueur. Rye whiskey gives the drink a spicy, peppery kick. The whiskey you choose is really up to you. We suggest trying it the traditional way and then experimenting to see which version you prefer.

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Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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