Friday, October 19, 2007

Calling All Bartenders ...

As I've shared with everyone before, I have polycystic kidney disease. This means, among other things, that I can't drink alcohol ... and, while I've never been a heavy drinker, I do miss having a social drink now and then.

So, all you amateur bartenders out there ... here is your mission should you choose to accept it: Come up with a recipe for a "Virgin Amaretto Sour".

I absolutely adore Amaretto Sours ... and would love to be able to enjoy the taste ... without the loss of kidney function. Anyone have any suggestions or ideas?

Well, the other night I got invited to a party,
But I stayed home instead.
Just me and my pal Johnny Walker,
And his brothers Black and Red.

George Thorogood - I Drink Alone


  1. nancy5:34 PM


    I haven't formulated any measurements, but I'll bet if you try mixing some almond extract (warning: contains alcohol, can you have a little?), grenadine or the syrup from meraschino cherries and the straight sweet-and-sour mix, you might get close to what you're looking for. You'd probably want some club soda or quinine too, just to bulk it up.

    Good luck!

  2. Hey ... now that's a thought. I wonder if there's a way to equate the almond extract flavor to Amaretto. I mean ... 2 tsp equals one shot? I donno ... I'm going to have to Google this ...

    Great suggestion, Nancy!

    PS - I wouldn't think the alcohol content in extract would be enough to cause concern. It's a good question though ... I'll have to ask my nephrologist next month at my check-up.

  3. nancy3:59 PM

    Yay! Glad I could help (maybe!). I have a sordid kidney past on each when I was a little girl. No one has ever issued too strict a warning about alcohol intake for me, so I take that as license to drink as much as I want. But I'm sure the day will come when those little filtering organs say enough's enough and I'll have to be coming up with alternatives myself.Good luck with Spamaretto Sour.

  4. YAY! It can be done, folks ... although to be honest, I haven't tried it yet.

    According to the alcohol substitutions chart below, you should substitute 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract for 2 tablespoons of amaretto.

    Now ... most brands of amaretto are pretty sweet ... so I'm thinking you'd need something to take the edge off the Sweet & Sour Mix. But a splash of grenadine would probably do the trick.

    I think we're on our way. :)

  5. By the way, I'm sorry to hear you've had kidney problems, Nancy. May I ask what your surgery was for?

    Last May, my kidney function was at 50%. I go in next month for a six-month checkup and we'll see where I'm at. It's kind of a benchmark ... to see if I'm maintaining.

    I don't know if there's an amount of liquor that would be considered "safe" ... but I'm pretty sure almond extract has such a small amount that it's negligible. I think ...

  6. Or ... um ... I could just buy some non-alcoholic amaretto syrup here:

    Sometimes I am such a tool ...

  7. nancy8:09 AM

    Ha! That's funny, yeah I think non-alcoholic amaretto might be a touch easier!

    I had surgery for bilateral hydronephrosis when I was five years old. The "bilateral" part made it very unique, my urologist ended up taking my xrays all around the world. I was a little freak show! Since the surgery, my right kidney is atrophied, but so far the left has handled the job just fine. I used to get UTI's quite often as the ureters were the affected areas, but inexplicably in adulthood, I haven't had any at all. I sport the old school 7-inch zipper like scars. Sexy! Today, the surgery would be much simpler and with much less scarring. Add to that, I have had five c-sections, so if I could just have some sort of horizontal incision for back surgery, I'd be almost completely bisected!

    What are they doing for you to improve kidney function? Have you had surgery, or is it a possibility in the future? I know from reading your blog that you've had other serious health issues. Are they all related somehow? That's a lot for one person to take. I hope you get good news at your follow up kidney checkup.

    Wish I'd known about all those non-alcoholic substitutions when I was pregnant. N/A beer sucks!!!!

  8. Oh no ... you were so young to have such a huge surgery, Nancy! That must've been tough. You're right though ... if they did that same surgery now, it would probably be laproscopically done and you'd have two or three tiny slits instead of those long scars.

    With PKD, your only options are to treat the symptoms and try to keep as much function as long possible. It causes high blood pressure ... and that's a huge factor in losing function ... so I've been on medication for that since I was about 12. Somethings are harder for your kidneys to process (like alcohol and red meat) ... so you limit those things.

    The cysts grow and burst and are replaced by other cysts ... it causes the kidneys to enlarge ... the cysts bursting causes pain and infection ... and eventually they just give out.

    Unfortunately, I'd say most (if not all) of my medical issues are tied in to this albatross. haha :)

    If you want to see what a PKD kidney looks like ... click on the link below. I warn you though ... it's a pretty nasty looking picture ...