You’d think a cocktail involving only two ingredients would be straightforward but the Godfather has me more confused than an illiterate person trying to alphabetise a packet of M&Ms. According to several recipes I’ve read, a Godfather is simply Scotch whisky and Amaretto, poured over ice in an old-fashioned glass and stirred gently. Easy, yes? Yes. Which is why I tried it when I wanted a whisky-based cocktail that didn’t involve too much effort.
One recipe’s intro warned me that it was ‘supremely powerful’ and ‘demanded respect’ but what I tasted was rather lacklustre. I could barely taste the Amaretto (it was present only as a faint aftertaste) and the whisky tasted watered-down. Which led me to realise the intro was probably referring to the movie The Godfather, not the drink. I’ve never seen The Godfather but I understand it involves some Italians, some violence and a horse’s head. I guess the link with the drink is the Amaretto, an Italian liqueur, because as far as I can tell the drink is 100% horse-free – no foal play involved.
Apparently the Scots did not invent whisky – you can thank the Irish for that – and yet you can order a Scotch on the rocks but not an Irish on the rocks, which seems rather unfair.
Amaretto tastes of almonds despite being made from apricot pits.
And so The Godfather ends up being a drink that tastes of a whisky you can ask for using its generic regional name despite it not being the original version, with a little hint of an apricot-pit liqueur that tastes like marzipan. Confused yet? And to make things worse, it’s not even that good. If this is what they were drinking in The Godfather I’m not surprised they ended up shooting everyone on sight.
Maybe if I’d used a different/smokier whisky it would have been more impressive (I used Johnnie Walker because I don’t feel guilty using it in mixed drink, especially when I’m just experimenting). Maybe if I’d shaken the drink over ice and strained it into a glass, it wouldn’t taste so watered down. Maybe if I added lime…
So I added some lime juice, bunged the whole lot into a shaker and gave it good hard shake before straining it back into the glass. The result was a cross between wedding cake icing and toilet puck (too much lime?). Oh well, at least I’d learnt a few things: (a) shaking up this mixture ‘wakes up’ the Amaretto and brings its flavour forward, and (b) never f*ck with the Godfather.
45ml Scotch whisky
Half-fill the glass with ice. Add the whisky and Amaretto and stir gently.
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
Much easier than waking up with a horse’s head in the bed.
This version appears in Shaken: 250 Very Sexy Cocktails (Murdoch Books, 2004). Other versions use equal parts Amaretto and whisky.
1) If you’d like to test my theory that shaking this drink makes the Amaretto more noticeable:
Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the whisky and Amaretto, shake and strain into a chilled tumbler.
2) If you want to know what a cross between toilet puck and marzipan tastes like (who doesn’t?):
Half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the whisky, Amaretto and 15ml lime juice, shake and strain into a chilled tumbler.