Since the early days of the cocktail revival, the Amaretto Sour has been regarded as little more than the butt of a joke. In fact, the widespread ridicule of the drink quickly became a banner cause for the movement, which was defined by fresh ingredients and a rejection of any cocktail created after 1950. For Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the blanket derision of what was once “just a drink that nobody had an opinion on” never sat well with him.
“I didn’t get into this business because I wanted to make fancy drinks. I just liked working in bars,” says Morgenthaler. “I thought it was pretty stupid to just say that all these drinks that we’d been drinking and making for the past however many years was just pointless.”
But even the staunch defender of the Amaretto Sour saw room for improvement. “What if,” he ask, “we applied everything that we’ve learned over the past 10 years of quote-unquote mixology and just make the drink the way it should be?” His updated version first appeared on the Pepe Le Moko menu five years ago and has since become something of an industry standard.