Italian Cadillac

Given the current events in Orlando, it feels odd to talk about our trip to Universal Studios last month. Still, it was the best time we’ve had in a long time. Partly because the expectations were low for me. I mean, theme parks are not my thing. Hot sun beating down on you, crowded parks, eh food—all to say I find them to be a recipe for disaster, at least when traveling with kids prone to mood swings and hangry fits.

So, it was with great surprise that we had such a relaxed, enjoyable time. It wasn’t all kum ba yah. We had our moments, as all humans do, right? By day two, I’d figured a good plan. Hit the parks early—I’m talking 7:00am early. Early entry, an hour before the parks open to the public is a perk included with your stay at Loew’s Portofino Bay (note: our trip wasn’t sponsored; I paid for it 100% on my own, but really loved this property). By noon we were spent, had our fill of walking and going on rides, and were ready to chill by the pool for a few hours.

That’s where this Italian Cadillac comes in. There is something delightfully decadent about lounging at the pool in the middle of the day, cocktail in hand. I was about to say why don’t we all do that more often, and then realized the answer immediately: life. I’m not one to say life can’t be all fun and play because I think we should all work more on creating a life that leaves us feeling fulfilled. Midday cocktails, though, are better suited for vacation, where we can (hopefully) set work aside, and practice the art of relaxation.

When we settled into the pool, and I glanced at the cocktail menu, the Italian Cadillac piqued my curiosity. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the drink I ordered is very different from the one you’ll find in online searches. See the recipe headnote for more on that one.

This version was simply a classic margarita finished with a swirl of amaretto—an Italian margarita, essentially.

I knew it was either going to be awful, or addictively good. In the three days we stayed in Orlando, it became my official poolside drink. For a lighter take (read: less alcohol), you can follow the recipe for my Skinny Sparkling Margarita, and just add a splash of amaretto to it.

What happens when a classic margarita gets finished with a splash of amaretto: magic.

What happens when a classic margarita gets finished with a splash of amaretto: magic.

Seven Years Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Six Years Ago: Zucchini Coffeecake

Five Years Ago: Homemade Nut-Free Nutella

Four Years Ago: Rustic Lemon Cake

Three Years Ago: Blackberry Old Fashioned

Two Years Ago: Cantaloupe & Lillet Sparkler

One Year Ago: Sour Cherry Jam

Italian Cadillac

Yes, this is a departure from the Italian Cadillac made with chocolate liquer, galliano, kahlua, and milk. Instead, this is more an Italian twist on the classic margarita. I enjoyed this cocktail poolside at the Loews Portofino in Orlando. One sip whisks me away to the sunshine and fun we had in Orlando.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1


  • 2 ounces 60 ml tequila
  • 1 ounce 30 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • Swirl of amaretto
  • Wedge of fresh lime


  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, and maple syrup. Shake until wet beads form on the outside of the container.
  • Fill a rocks glass with ice. Strain the drink into the glass. Swirl a bit of amaretto on top. Garnish with the lime, and serve immediately.



  • Kenda

    5 stars
    This drink sounds heavenly. I live in Orlando and know what you mean about the heat, especially in the summer. It’s brutal. I stay in mostly since I don’t have a pool. Too bad you didn’t have time to visit the real Orlando and got stuck in tourist land. As I’m sure you noticed from the shooting coverage, we are really a thriving community with lots going for us, including top-notch, non-chain restaurants and community gardens. I really hate when people think a theme park or resort IS Orlando. But glad you enjoyed yourselves. Next time, hit Park Avenue in Winter Park for some REAL fun.

    And I will definitely try this luscious concoction.

  • Jennie

    You make an excellent point, Kendra. Probably how I feel when people think Times Square is the real NY!

  • Julie

    5 stars
    I made these last night, and they were so delicious. I never would have thought of adding amaretto to tequila, but it was a nice balance and mellowed the lime. So good. Thinking it might be my new favorite tequila drink. Thank you!