The Godfather cocktail

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

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

Consisting of three parts Scotch 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 are made with Scotch: the Rusty Nail and the Godfather.

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

Also, the Godfather is a rare find on 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.

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.

Disaronno Originale Amaretto poured in glass with apricot kernels

The Amaretto part

Amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur made from apricot kernels, peach stones, bitter almonds, or almonds. Typically, the popular Italian liqueur contains between 20% and 28% of alcohol by volume.

Among the many different brands producing Amaretto, Disaronno Amaretto is the most popular and also my preferred choice for the Godfather.

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

The best ratio for the Godfather Cocktail

Since it's a simple two-ingredient drink, the perfect ratios depend strongly on individual taste.

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

The best 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 has been en vogue in the 70s -when the drink came up-, it probably seemed logical to call the cocktail that.

One of the biggest Amaretto brands, DiSaronno, also claims that the drink was 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 popular story goes 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

The catching name and easy recipe of the Godfather cocktail almost ask for some great riffs and tweaks. Two of the most popular variations are the French Connection and the Godmother:

  • The French Connection: 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: 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 

Like mentioned before, the 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.
    1.5 oz Blended Scotch Whisky, 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 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: 5.15g | Potassium: 1.5mg | Sugar: 5.15g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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