Did you know: You can put Tuaca in a margarita to give it a sweeter, more dessert-like kick? To celebrate National Margarita Day (February 22, yeah, we’re late…) Tuaca sent us a bottle of this Italian vanilla/citrus spirit, the recipe of which dates back 500 years.
But Tuaca isn’t the only vanilla liqueur on the market, so I took the opportunity to compare it head to head with Navan and Licor 43, two of the other big vanilla liqueurs that are around. Thoughts follow.
Tuaca – Very sweet, distinct orange undertones. Big body, mouth-filling, and a bit cloying on the finish. 70 proof; Italy. B / $25
Navan – More of a pure vanilla character (complete with a bigger alcoholic burn), and with a woody, whiskey-like finish. A good choice for when you want more of a simple, uncomplicated vanilla character. 80 proof; France. B+ / $NA (discontinued, about $50 if you can find older bottles)
Licor 43 – Exotic on the nose, with citrus, herbal notes, and lots of sweetness. Less vanilla here than the other two, but more complexity, even some interesting berry character on the finish. My favorite of the bunch. 62 proof; Spain. A- / $26
Want to add Tuaca to a tequila-based cocktail? Try one of these…
1 oz Tuaca
1 oz Herradura Silver Tequila
1/4 oz triple sec
3 oz sweet and sour
lemon wedge, squeezed
Mix ingredients, including squeezed lemon wedge, in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a salt-rimmed glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Tuaca Tropical Margarita
2 oz Tuaca
1 oz part Tequila Herradura Reposado
½ oz simple syrup (or Agave Nectar)
¼ oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 one-inch squares fresh pineapple
Muddle the pineapple squares well in a cocktail shaker (be sure to get all of the juice out) and then add the remaining ingredients and fill shaker 2/3 full with ice. Shake enthusiastically and strain over fresh ice into a pre-chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and (since it’s a tropical drink) a neon red cherry.