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Both Amaretto and Crème de Noyaux are sweet almond-flavored liqueurs.

My understanding is that Crème de Noyaux is typically red, whereas Amaretto is usually brown.

Other than the obvious difference in color, what's the difference between these two liqueurs?

  • What differences in production are associated with bottling a liqueur under the name "Crème de Noyaux" versus "Amaretto"?

  • What differences would you notice in a blind taste test? Would you be able to tell if I made a Pink Squirrel with amaretto, or a French Connection with crème de noyaux?

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As Ken pointed out (although didn't make a point of): Aside from being made using slightly different ingredients, one is a liqueur and one a creme liqueur, which contain a lot more sugar and are therefore more syrupy in consistency.

Therefore, although they taste similar, it may not be a good idea to substitute one for the other. I personally enjoy an amaretto over ice, but the idea of doing this with Creme de Noyaux makes me feel a little queasy (in the same way I love a maple syrup but am not going to add vodka and drink that over ice).

There are probably ways you can change the original recipes slightly to adjust for this difference and are then likely to get a similar flavour :)

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What's the difference between Amaretto and Crème de Noyaux?

Amaretto

  • County of origin: Italy (Saronno, Italy)
  • Alcohol by Volume: 28%
  • Flavor: Slight bitter almond
  • "Flavoured from bitter almonds, various modern commercial brands are prepared from a base of apricot stones, peach stones, or almonds, all of which are natural sources of the benzaldehyde that provides the principal almond-like flavour of the liqueur." - Amaretto (Wikipedia)
  • Etymology: "The name amaretto originated as a diminutive of the Italian word amaro, meaning "bitter", which references the distinctive flavour lent by the mandorla amara or by the drupe kernel. However, the bitterness of amaretto tends to be mild, and sweeteners (and sometimes sweet almonds) enhance the flavour in the final products. Thus one can interpret the liqueur's name as a description of the taste as "a little bitter". - Amaretto (Wikipedia)

Bottles of amaretto liqueur

Bottles of Amaretto Liqueur

Crème de Noyaux

  • Country of origin: France
  • Alcohol by Volume: 40%
  • Color: Pink or Clear (Bols is red)
  • Flavor: Almond
  • "Crème de Noyaux (pronounced is an almond-flavored crème liqueur, although it is actually made from apricot kernels or the kernels of peach or cherry pits, which provide an almond-like flavor. Both Bols and Hiram Walker produce artificially colored red versions of the liqueur (either of which contribute the pink hue to Pink Squirrel cocktails) while Noyau de Poissy from France is available in both clear (blanc) and barrel-aged amber (ambre) versions." - Crème de Noyaux (Wikipedia)
  • Definition: A liqueur with a brandy base flavored primarily with essential oils derived from the kernels of peaches, plums, and cherries or from almonds, the predominant flavor being that of bitter almonds. - Crème de Noyau

Bols Creme de Noyaux Liqueur 1L

Bols Creme de Noyaux Liqueur 1L

To me amaretto tastes a little less bitter than creme de noyaux, while crème de noyau tastes a little bit more nuttier at the same time. I am not a professional connoisseur so you can take or leave what I say here.

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