The Godfather is a Scotch-Based Cocktail Fit For the Don

The Godfather is a strong yet approachable scotch-based cocktail. Try this scotch and amaretto cocktail recipe for your next nightcap.

The Godfather is a Scotch-Based Cocktail Fit For the Don
Godfather Cocktail Next to a Cocktail Spoon and a Tray with Ingredients
Simply Recipes / Elana Lepkowski

The 1970s was an era in bar culture history ripe with sickly-sweet drinks featuring suggestive names. The Godfather rises above all of that as a sophisticated after-dinner cocktail. With just 2 ingredients—scotch and amaretto—the strong yet pleasingly sweet cocktail is worthy of your next nightcap.

Godfather Cocktail
Simply Recipes / Elana Lepkowski

Why Is It Called a Godfather?

While the creator of this drink is lost to cocktail history, bartenders and drink historians tend to agree that the Godfather was named after the popular movie and novel (based on its initial appearance on menus in the early 1970s). 

At one point, there was a story floating around that the Godfather was actor Marlon Brando’s favorite drink, but that rumor was quietly put to rest. 

Ingredient Tips

There isn’t a hard rule about what kind of scotch works best in a Godfather, but I recommend a blended scotch. I prefer blended scotch when mixing it into a cocktail and reserve single malt for sipping by itself. 

That said, don’t go for a bottom-shelf bottle. The Famous Grouse and Monkey Shoulder are both good options. They’re both blends, moderately priced, and bottles I’d also still be happy to sip solo.

As for the amaretto—a sweet, nutty flavored liqueur made from the pits of stone fruits—Disaronno is one of the most well-known brands, is widely available, and works well here paired with the smoky scotch. 

The last few decades have also seen smaller batch, artisanal brands pop up and they’re worth checking out if your local store carries them. Look for Gozio or Luxardo amaretto. 

Godfather Cocktail
Simply Recipes / Elana Lepkowski

The Perfect Balance

Balance is key to enjoying this cocktail. Scotch can vary between pleasantly smoky to very aggressive; watch that the amount of amaretto you add is suitable to stand up to the scotch while still blending harmoniously. 

The amaretto should sweeten up the drink, but going too far will result in a sickeningly sugary cocktail. On the opposite side, not adding enough will result in the scotch overpowering the drink, rendering the addition of the amaretto pointless. 

The proportions I give in this recipe should add just enough sweetness to complement the scotch, but you can taste and adjust to suit your taste buds.

Variations on the Godfather Cocktail

The Godfather cocktail is also part of a family of other “god-” cocktails, and adjusting the base liquor will result in variations. Here are a few:

  • Godmother Cocktail: Replace the scotch with vodka for a variation that focuses more on the amaretto component
  • Godchild (first version): Swap the scotch with brandy for this smooth, and lighter-bodied cocktail
  • Godchild (second version): Vodka replaces the scotch (similar to the Godmother) with the addition of cream for a more dessert-themed cocktail
  • Brooklyn Godfather: Bourbon replaces the scotch and adds additional flavor with both sweet and dry vermouth
  • French Connection: Cognac becomes the base spirit here for a fruitier, spicier version that highlights some of the vanilla notes in the amaretto
Godfather Cocktail
Simply Recipes / Elana Lepkowski

More Nightcap Cocktails

Combine the ingredients and stir:

In a mixing glass filled 2/3 with ice, pour in the scotch and amaretto. Stir to chill and dilute the drink for about 20 seconds.

Strain and serve:

Strain into a rocks glass with 1 large or 2 to 3 small ice cubes. Serve immediately.

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Godfather Cocktail Poured into a Glass with a Block of Ice
Simply Recipes / Elana Lepkowski
Godfather Cocktail with Ingredients in the Background
Simply Recipes / Elana Lepkowski