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Cocktail of the Week: The Godfather

As Francis Ford Coppola’s mafioso masterpiece celebrates its 50th anniversary, we raise a glass to Marlon Brando’s (alleged) favourite cocktail…

Well what else would it be? This week, cinephiles everywhere have been raising a glass in celebration of Francis Ford Coppola’s mafioso masterpiece, The Godfather. Released 50 years ago this week, the seminal mobster movie triggered half a century of corny Corleone impressions, cannoli-quoting and one particular cocktail; the sweet, scotch-based serve that was, allegedly, Marlon Brando’s favourite drink.

But don’t take our word for it. In fact, the late, great actor never once confirmed nor publicly proclaimed his love for the cocktail, and we have only the word of Disaronno (the Italian amaretto brand that popularised the recipe) as dubious proof. But, if nothing else, it’s a nice urban myth — and a damn tasty cocktail. Equal parts simple and spiced, the Godfather is a twist on the classic Old Fashioned; one that uses the sweet liqueur in place of a sugar cube, and scotch whisky in place of bourbon (a bourbon-based Godfather is called ‘The Boss’).

The cocktail — like Coppola’s film — is a relic of the 1970s. It’s flared with flavour, sufficiently sweet and the ideal choice for sipping menacingly during a rewatch of the cult crime classic. And, when you do stick on The Godfather this weekend (and you really should, there’s much still to learn from the film), you’ll notice how prevalent drinking is in the story. Over sixty of the film’s scenes feature gangsters raising a glass; mostly wine, but also a fair few tumblers of scotch.

However, while Vito Corleone — or any self-discerning don — would probably prefer a high-end single malt, the Godfather cocktail works best with a fairly basic blend. This way, the almond notes of the amaretto will help pick out the subtler spice flavours in the whisky. Plus, you won’t feel too guilty for sullying an expensive single malt with a liqueur. Because that’s the sort of mixology mistake that could land you in trouble with the cocktail consiglieri…

How to make ‘The Godfather’ cocktail


  • 25ml Disaronno Amaretto
  • 60ml Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Orange Twist


  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
  2. Pour in the Disaronno and scotch whisky
  3. Stir for 30 seconds, until well-chilled
  4. Strain over ice into a rocks glass
  5. Garnish with an orange twist

Want more scotch? Here’s how to make the Aberlour 14 ‘Dramble’…

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