Busted Pipe (Bourbon Amaro Cocktail)

Love amaro and bourbon? This Amaro Cocktail, which we lovingly call the Busted Pipe, is similar to an Old Fashioned and a Paper Plane. It’s a warming, sweet and bitter drink that’s perfect for sipping. Makes 1, but can easily be doubled or tripled.

Three amaro cocktails on wooden trivets with lemons

My sister-in-law, her roommate and their friends developed this cocktail recipe back in the Deep Freeze of 2021, and they’ve graciously agreed to share their creation with the world today here on TSP.

In February 2021, the entire state of Texas experienced a Snowpocalypse, and many of us, my family here in Dallas and my sister-in-law, Julia, and her roommate, Haley, in Austin, lost power.

Julia and Haley ended up staying with their friend Sarah and Neil during that time. Inspired by recipes from the Food Network and the New York Times, they decided to make an Amaro Nonino cocktail because they wanted something to “warm our bellies and drown our sorrows.”

Haley nicknamed the cocktail “The Busted Pipe” in reference to what the deep freeze was doing to a lot of homes and businesses at the time.

And they’ve been making this cocktail ever since.

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    Why I love this recipe:

    I’m new to the scene with amaro, but I had a bottle of it in my office that we put to good use. (Hi, hello. I’m a food blogger… No side eye, please and thank you.)

    This drink is strong, but it’s easy to sip. It’s got a warming sweetness that goes down easy, and I can definitely see how this drink provided some warmth and comfort during the deep freeze.

    If you’re someone who loves amaro, this is probably going to be a new favorite of yours.

    If you love bourbon, this is a fun twist on a few classic bourbon cocktails, too. (Think of a combination of an Old Fashioned, Black Manhattan and a Paper Plane.)

    And if you’re just looking for something new to try, I suggest giving this a shot!

    Bottles of amaro and bourbon with luxardo cherries and a lemon

    What you need to make this recipe

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    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here’s what you will need:

    • Amaro — this is an Italian herbal liqueur that means “bitter.” It typically has bitterness paired with a little sweet, and it’s oftentimes served as an after-dinner digestif. Our favorite brand is Amaro Nonino.
    • Bourbon — whatever bourbon you’ve got on hand will work here, so long as it’s something that’s drinkable and enjoyable for you! We used Four Roses bourbon because that’s what we had on hand.
    • Luxardo cherries — while you could use a traditional maraschino cherry, these Luxardo cherries are a step above and incredibly delicious! Maraschino cherries are traditionally really sweet, and Luxardo cherries taste better balanced to me. They really add a little something extra to this amaro cocktail.
    • Lemon peel — for a little citrus brightness, acid and pop
    Collage showing how to make an amaro cocktail with bourbon

    How to make a Busted Pipe Amaro Cocktail

    Mise en place. Make sure you’ve got your ingredients, as well as a large ice cube. This takes this cocktail to another level.

    Make the drink. Place the ice cube in your glass. Pour equal parts amaro and bourbon into the glass. Add the cherry and lemon peel, then stir until combined.

    Enjoy immediately!

    A spoon stirs an amaro cocktail with a huge ice cube

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips and Tricks

    This amaro cocktail is great for sipping and would be an excellent recipe to serve at a low-key dinner party after dinner is over. (It also works well if you’ve had to abandon your house and stay with a friend because you’ve lost power during a winter storm…)

    If you want to share this cocktail with friends, here are a few ideas of how to make it easy as pie on yourself:

    • Let guests mix their own. Print out this recipe and place it in a frame so guests can see the measurements. Set out amaro, bourbon, a jar of Luxardo cherries and several lemon twists on a flat surface along with a jigger and let guests make their own.
    • Make it a pitcher. If you’re serving a crowd, this would be an incredibly easy cocktail to make that way. Equal parts amaro and bourbon go into the pitcher, then simply pour into your guests’ glasses with ice. Garnish with the cherry and lemon twist to make the drink.
    A lemon twist drops into a golden drink with the text the best amaro-bourbon cocktail

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is amaro?

    It’s an Italian herbal liqueuer that’s oftentimes served as an after-dinner aperitif. Amaro translates to “bitter” from Italian, and the liqueurs typically have bitter elements with a little sweetness, thanks to a sweet syrup.

    Is amaro and Campari the same?

    No. While both hail from Italy and are liqueurs made with herbs, Campari generally has less alcohol and is also made with fruits.

    Are amaro and aperol the same?

    They are related, but they are not the same. Aperol is a less strong, less alcoholic amaro. It’s well-known when mixed with Italian sparkling wine to create an Aperol Spritz.

    Three amaro cocktails on wooden trivets with lemons

    Busted Pipe (Bourbon Amaro Cocktail)

    Julia + Haley + Sarah + Neil
    Love amaro and bourbon? This Amaro Cocktail, which we lovingly call the Busted Pipe, is similar to an Old Fashioned and a Paper Plane. It’s a warming, sweet and bitter drink that’s perfect for sipping.
    4.53 from 44 votes
    Servings 1 drink
    Calories 126 kcal
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 5 minutes


    • 1 ½ oz. Amaro Nonino
    • 1 ½ oz. bourbon
    • 1 luxardo cherry
    • 1 lemon twist

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    • Place a large ice cube in a glass.
    • Pour in the amaro.
    • Pour in the same amount of bourbon.
    • Garnish with the luxardo cherry and lemon twist.
    • Stir with a spoon, then enjoy immediately.



    Serving: 1drinkCalories: 126kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gSodium: 2mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3g
    Keyword amaro drink, bourbon drink, cocktail, drink, winter drink
    Course Drinks & Cocktails
    Cuisine American Italian
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    1. I love this with Sennza Finna amaro (the autumn one especially) & Buffalo Trace. Such an easy but delicious cocktail.

      1. Your comment has made my morning, Leah! I’m so happy to hear that you love this cocktail and need to try it with your recommended brands. 🙂 Cheers to you!

    2. I love Nonino in cocktails, but the initial try was a touch sweet, and I wanted a bit more complexity. It’s cold and rainy out so I added a barspoon of Becherovka and it was delicious. I think you could also play with other amari or Benedictine. It’s a really nice easy base (or just a sweet sipper).

      1. I’m happy you gave this a try, Laura, and that you were able to pivot it to something that had a bit more complexity without the additional sweetness. 🙂 I’ve never tried Becherovka, but clearly, I need to give it a try and see how that works here. I appreciate your comment and feedback. Cheers to you!

    3. Great cocktail! Mellow and smooth; perfect for sipping. I’m not able to get Amaro out here in rural Wyoming but brought some in from a trip to Boulder over the weekend. Thanks for the inspiration and clever story behind the name. It’s a keeper!

      1. So happy to hear you enjoyed this one, Anne! I appreciate you leaving a comment to let me know you enjoyed this AND the backstory behind the name. Cheers to you!

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