The other night, I was out with some friends for dinner. Naturally, we gravitated toward the bar after our meal. At the particular dive where we went, the bartender has been slinging cocktails for a great many years. In fact, he was once the proprietor of the establishment but is still making drinks there despite the whole place changing hands twice now. Talk about dedication.
While we all talked shop about how much things have changed in drinking culture, my mind turned to the subject of forgotten cocktails more modern than the vintage cocktails so many craft bartenders fetishize. For the most part, the 1970s were a dark age in cocktails. The disco was king of the night, and with it came a series of syrupy sweet cocktails with lurid names. I'll pass on the Alabama Slammers and Russian Quaaludes, thank you.
See also: How to Make the Best Eggnog
However, in this tide of silly drinks, there was the occasional one that still had the sweet touch but managed to be surprisingly sophisticated. One that I recently unearthed that beautifully fits into this category is the Godfather. It's a simple blend, just scotch and amaretto on the rocks. The drink has somehow found itself an old fuddy-duddy reputation, but it has some nice depth worth exploring.
Allegedly, the Godfather got its name because the drink was a favorite of Marlon Brando, who at the time was quite well-known for his role as Don Corleone in The Godfather movies. At the least, the use of amaretto liqueur gives the drink enough of an Italian connection that the name makes sense.
As with a great many 1970s cocktails, the Godfather has some wiggle room built in, so the drink is easily adjusted for individual tastes. Amaretto is a very sweet liqueur, so I'll start with 2 parts scotch to 1 part amaretto. The folks at DiSaronno recommend it be made a little sweeter, with a 5-to-3 ratio. If someone has a distinct sweet tooth, I'll go as far as equal parts of both ingredients. It's tempting to make it very dry, but the amaretto deserves to play a decent part here; keep in mind it's an after-dinner drink, so let it be at least a little sweet.
The drink spawned several variations. If you want something that has more amaretto flavor to it but don't feel like having scotch, substitute vodka to make a Godmother. If you want to move the cocktail from a nightcap into liquid dessert territory, add a splash of cream to either one to make a Godson or Goddaughter, respectively.
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Godfather 1-1/2 ounces blended scotch 3/4 ounce amaretto liqueur
Build over ice in a rocks glass. Stir to combine.
Variations: Godmother: Substitute vodka for the scotch. Godson: Add 3/4 ounce cream to the Godfather. Goddaughter: Add 3/4 ounce cream to the Godmother.