The Godfather Is A Classic Scotch Cocktail Worth Ordering

Scotch isn't just for Penicillins or rocks glasses. Scotch was the star of "Professor" bartender Jerry Thomas' signature Blue Blazer cocktail, in which Scotch is theatrically lit on fire and juggled between two metal tumblers. Scotch was also one of the leading roles in Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 opus "The Godfather." In more than a few scenes, Don Corleone is depicted gesturing with a glass of Scotch on the rocks. It's a silent player in the Corleone household and their business dealings. Scotch, hardcore "Godfather" fans might argue, should have been given its own slot on the credits reel. But a different tribute has been made in bars across the world — and it's a cocktail of the same name.

"The Godfather" cocktail emerged during the '70s and quickly gained popularity in the mixology community — popularity which, like its namesake film, the drink continues to enjoy decades later. Funnily enough, the drink isn't that different from the French Connection cocktail, which also emerged during the '70s and was named after the eponymous neo-noir crime film starring Gene Hackman as a morally ambiguous narcotics detective. As with the French Connection, it's unknown who originally created the Godfather cocktail. But, if you've been overlooking this classic until now, it's time to start looking.

A cocktail you can't refuse

The Godfather cocktail has just two ingredients: three parts Scotch whisky to one part amaretto liqueur, stirred in a rocks glass. That's it. No fancy techniques, no shaker, not even a mixer. The glass you drink it out of is the only dish that'll need washing. Like the don himself, the cocktail is uncomplicated and straightforward, yet classic and sophisticated. It speaks for itself, and it says, "I am impressive."

It's a perfect sipper for an elevated cocktail hour and pairs excellently with desserts, thanks to the sweetness of the amaretto liqueur. Amaretto is an Italian liqueur with a bright red hue and a sweet, nutty flavor that comes from either apricots or almonds. The honey-sweetness and soft-smokey flavor of Scotch make for a dynamic, complex profile. Plus, amaretto and Scotch are both commonly enjoyed on the rocks, so the combination is a fitting pair. Garnish with an orange twist, a brandied cherry, or a candied lemon peel. 

In a true Godfather, the Scotch is the star of the show, and the amaretto liqueur is a bonus to add dimensionality and help it go down easier. As its name might imply, the drink is boozy, dry, and mature; other recipes use even less amaretto for a 4:1 ratio. But the cocktail is highly customizable; if you prefer a sweeter sip, feel free to add a little more amaretto into the mix. As Peter Clemenza would say, "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."