Girlie drinks. Back in the day, long before I knew there was a difference between Malbec and Merlot, way before I was aware of craft brews and microbrews, I and my friends were first initiated into the wonderful world of potent potables through girlie drinks. You know the ones – those tropically colored, super sweet cocktails designed to taste as much like Hawaiian Punch as possible, with all kinds of fruit slices hanging off the side. I’m talking old school classics: Whiskey Sours, Tom Collins, Screwdrivers and Daiquiris. Of course the young gentlemen in our group would go for something more hard core….like a 7 & 7.
I personally cut my boozy teeth on that fabulous concoction known as a Sloe Gin Fizz. So, so sweet, it makes my teeth hurt now to even think of it. But in those days, I thought they were the bomb. A ruby-red cocktail consisting of sloe gin, regular gin, sugar syrup and soda, topped off with a bright maraschino cherry. I absolutely loved them.
Of course, every group has that one special friend, the one with just a tad more style and flair than the rest. In our group, that girl was Nancy (not the limoncello-making dad Nancy, this is another Nancy.) Nancy knew how to party – she was the one who introduced us to pre-gaming way before it was called pre-gaming. While the rest of us were ordering our Screwdrivers and 7 & 7s, it was Nancy, on one particular night, who had the audacity to order….an Amaretto Sour. Oooooooh! So exotic, so European, what was it really? How did she even know about it? Needless to say, we were all appropriately impressed. But that was Nancy, cutting edge, all the way.
February 16 is National Almond Day. Nowadays of course, almonds make me think of Amaretto and even to this day, Amaretto reminds me of Nancy and her Amaretto Sours. The following light, refreshing cupcakes are easy to pull together – they start with a mix – and make a cheery break from the winter doldrums.What better way to toast both the day and old friends than to whip up a batch of Amaretto Sour cupcakes.
Amaretto Sour Cupcakes
Makes approx. 18-20 cupcakes
1 box white cake mix
3 ounces amaretto
3 ounces orange juice
4 ounces sour mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon orange zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
Combine Amaretto, orange juice and sour mix in a large measuring cup.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cake mix, liquids, egg whites and oil, at low speed for 30 seconds, and then at medium speed for two minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
Fill each cupcake tin about 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Amaretto Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 cups confectioners sugar
3 – 4 tablespoons Amaretto
Cream butter in bowl of stand mixer. Add 3 cups of confectioners sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons of Amaretto and mix at low speed until combined, then at high speed, adding more sugar and Amaretto until desired consistency is reached.
Frost and decorate as desired.