Amaretto (Italian for "a little bitter") is a sweet Italian liqueur that originated in Saronno. Depending on the brand, it may be made from apricot kernels, bitter almonds, peach stones, or almonds, all of which are natural sources of the benzaldehyde that provides the almond-like flavour of the liqueur. It generally contains 21 to 28 percent alcohol by volume.
When served as a beverage, amaretto can be drunk by itself, used as an ingredient to create several popular mixed drinks, or added to coffee. Amaretto is also commonly used in culinary applications.
The name amaretto originated as a diminutive of the Italian word amaro, meaning "bitter", which references the distinctive flavour lent by the mandorla amara or by the drupe kernel. However, the bitterness of amaretto tends to be mild, and sweeteners (and sometimes sweet almonds) enhance the flavour in the final products. Thus one can interpret the liqueur's name as a description of the taste as "a little bitter". Cyanide is processed out of the almond preparation prior to its use.
One should not confuse amaretto with amaro, a different family of Italian liqueurs that, while also sweetened, have a stronger bitter flavour derived from herbs.