The Godfather cocktail

The Godfather cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on September 6, 2022 

First published on July 18, 2022 

The Godfather cocktail is a classic cocktail from the 1970s that owes its name to the Oscar-awarded cult movie.

Consisting of three parts Scotch Whisky and one part Amaretto, the Godfather cocktail is a superb Whisky-based sip with a hint of almonds.

In the 1970s, two-ingredient drinks were quite popular, and two famous representatives have been made with Scotch: the Rusty Nail and the Godfather.

It's interesting because Scotch isn't the most common base spirit. In fact, only a handful of classic cocktails ask for the otherwise extremely popular Whisky from Scotland.

Also, the Godfather is hard to find on most bar menus. But luckily, the drink is so easy to make that you can grab your mixing glass and make it at home in no time.

The best Scotch for the Godfather

With only two ingredients, there's nowhere to hide. So first and foremost, quality is key.

Scotch Whisky can differ in taste quite a lot. Depending on which type you choose, you end up with a heavily peated and smoky Whisky or a mild sipper.

Pouring Scotch Whisky

In the Godfather cocktail, blended Scotch is a common choice. It has a smooth and balanced taste that's perfect for a two-ingredient cocktail. Alternatively, you could also use a fine Single Malt Whisky.

Using a heavily peated Scotch is quite rare. Only try this if you like the intense taste of smoke in a Scotch cocktail.


Amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur made from apricot kernels, peach stones, bitter almonds, or almonds. It's often used in baked goods, coffee beverages, and mixed drinks.

Amaretto served in shot glasses

The almond liqueur is one of many famous liqueurs from Italy. Its origins are in the Lombardy region in the northern part of the country.

Typically, an Amaretto contains between 20% and 28% of alcohol by volume. And among the many different brands producing Amaretto, Disaronno Amaretto is the most popular and my preferred choice for the Godfather.

If you're looking for more drinks to make with Disaronno, make sure to check out our list of the best Disaronno cocktails.

The best ratio for the Godfather Cocktail

Due to being a simple two-ingredient drink, there are many ways to make a great Godfather.

The brand DiSaronno suggests using a 1:1 ratio of Scotch to Amaretto. Other, a lot more Scotch-forward concoctions use eight parts of Scotch for one part of Amaretto.

The perfect ratio for this drink for me is between 3:1 and 4:1 Scotch to Amaretto. That is just the right amount of Amaretto to take the edge of the Scotch and add a nice layer of almond notes.

History of the Godfather cocktail

Indeed, the drink got its name from the famous movie starring Marlon Brando as Don Corleone. But why it was named after that particular movie is a bit unclear.

One possible explanation is that Scotch was a regular serving in the movie. 

When you combine that with the fact that Amaretto is a famous Italian liqueur and the Godfather movie (with its plot surrounding a Sicilian crime family) has been en vogue at that time, it probably seemed logical to call the drink that.

One of the biggest Amaretto brands, DiSaronno, also claims that the drink is a favorite of Marlon Brando, the lead actor in the film. 

Regardless if this is true, it adds to the story. -And it made the drink one of the more popular DiSaronno cocktails.

The inventor of the Godfather cocktail is even harder to identify than the reason for the name. 

A legend says that a bartender called Alanna Zwart first mixed the drink in an attempt to create a Tan Italian but didn't have the right ingredients.

Variations of the cocktail

Of course, there are riffs on the drink. The catching name and easy recipe of the Godfather cocktail almost ask for it.

The most popular tweaks are the French Connection and the Godmother.

The French Connection

French connection cocktail

The French Connection is another two-ingredient cocktail made with Amaretto. But instead of a Scotch base, the drink is made with French Cognac. Funnily, this riff also is named after a movie from the 70s.

The Godmother

Godmother cocktail - twist on the Godfather

Substituting Scotch Whisky with Vodka creates a Godmother cocktail. This variation is a lot less complex and sweeter than the other two because Vodka does little to alter the taste of the Amaretto.

Tips to make a great Godfather 

As with every cocktail made with only a few components quality of the ingredients is vital.

When making this drink, you want to use a high-quality blended Scotch. After all, it dominates the taste.

For the Amaretto part, opt for a top-shelf option, too. You don't want to ruin a drink made with a fine Scotch by using a mediocre Amaretto in the mix.

Last but not least, the choice of ice is quite important. Use some large and clear cubes, spheres, or chunks of ice. Otherwise, the drink will dilute too much during stirring and sitting in the glass.

So put that large chunk of ice into a mixing glass before adding both ingredients and stir for no more than 20 seconds. Then strain over ice - also a large cube.

The Godfather cocktail served with lemon peel

The Godfather

A well-balanced Scotch cocktail made of only two ingredients.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: amaretto, scotch
Servings: 1
Calories: 157kcal
Cost: $2.60


  • 1.5 oz Blended Scotch Whisky
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto


  • Pour both ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir for 15 to 20 seconds or until well-chilled.
  • Strain into an ice-filled glass.
  • Garnish with lemon or orange peel.


Serving: 2.25oz | Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.15g | Potassium: 1.5mg | Sugar: 5.15g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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