Category Archives: Liqueurs

Review: Dimmi Liquore di Milano

The Italian answer to gin and absinthe, Dimmi is an old (1930s) product now making a resurgence. Distilled in the Lombardy region in Italy’s north, Dimmi is distilled from organic wheat (like a vodka) and infused with licorice, orange peel, rhubarb, ginseng, and vanilla. Following this infusion, peach and apricot blossoms are infused into the mix, and Nebbiolo-based grappa is added to top it all off along with a touch of organic beet sugar, for sweetness.

Very pale yellow in color, Dimmi is a pretty enticing liqueur that, based on the above description, tastes nothing like you are probably expecting. The nose hints at lemon, but on the tongue it comes across with grapefruit character backed up with vanilla custard. This sounds like an odd combination, but imagine candied fruit garnishing a creme brulee and you’re in the ball park. (Strega is also a distant, yellower cousin.) But still, there is plenty of bitterness and sourness to balance out the sweetness here, and more than enough complexity to keep you sipping if you’re drinking it neat.

Lots of cocktail possibilities. Consider it in lieu of vermouth in your favorite drink if you’re looking for a way to get started, experimentally speaking.

70 proof.

A- / $40 / domaineselect.com

dimmi liquore di milano Review: Dimmi Liquore di Milano

Review: Faretti Biscotti Famosi Liqueur

You can take the Italians away from their amaro but you just can’t get the amaro out of the Italians.

Faretti is one of those crazy niche ideas: a liqueur intended to taste like biscotti cookies. But stick your nose in a freshly-poured glass of the stuff and you’ll swear up and down you’re getting into something bitter. The nose offers root beer and licorice character, and not in a cursory way. It’s so intense that you’re shocked when you actually sip the liqueur, revealing an appropriately sweet liquid intended for consumption with (or as) dessert.

On the tongue it’s got almonds, sugar cookie dough, and a surprising amount of citrus. The lattermost flavor makes it a bit unlike any biscotti I’ve ever had, but it does help to give this spirit more complexity than it might otherwise have — and serves to make it a decently compelling alternative to amaretto, particularly if you’re into the bitter edge on the nose.

B / $20 / chathamimports.com

faretti biscotti liqueur Review: Faretti Biscotti Famosi Liqueur

Review: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Ancienne Method

Triple sec or curacao are an essential ingredient in so many cocktails, and stylistically they cover a wide range of focuses. But they all tend to have one thing in common (well, besides tasting like oranges): They’re generally quite sweet.

And so it was that cocktial god David Wondrich teamed up with Cognac producer Pierre Ferrand to create a drier style of curacao. Fittingly called Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, this spirit is meant to take the often sickly sweet stuff into a more refined direction. It is made by infusing unaged brandy with Seville orange peels; this infusion is then redistilled, blended with Cognac and spices (including star anise, more orange, and sugar), then aged in barrels for an indeterminate time (not long, I’d guess). It’s bottled at 80 proof.

The resulting spirit is quite impressive. To say it’s not sweet would be a lie. This is, after all, still a triple sec, where sweet oranges are the primary character of the nose and the palate. Lots of vanilla and nut character in there too, with a particularly buttery body — though I didn’t pick up on the anise in the blend.

Overall it’s a wonderful curacao that would add a delightful spin to any cocktail and is also quite delicious consumed on its own.

A / $25 / cognacferrand.com

pierre ferrand Dry Curacao Review: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao Ancienne Method

Review: Hiram Walker Watermelon Sour Schnapps

Wow. No.

“All natural flavors” don’t get more horrifying than this. Or more Kool-Aid pink in color.

I could go into detail about the flavor that reminds me of Jolly Ranchers melted into Chinese sweet & sour sauce, but let me leave it at this: I would have trouble imagining even the most desperate bum in need of a buzz knocking back more than half a shot of this stuff, and even then I know he’d probably be really angry about it.

30 proof.

F / $10 / hiramwalker.com

Hiram Walker Watermelon Review: Hiram Walker Watermelon Sour Schnapps

Review: Barenjager Honey & Bourbon

You just can’t kill this honey+whiskey trend. It’s so popular that now they’re coming at it from the honey side: Barenjager, one of the original honey-flavored liqueurs (if not the original honey liqueur), is adding Bourbon (from Kentucky, but of otherwise unknown origin) to its recipe to create a hybrid spirit just like, well, all the whiskey distilleries.

As expected, the German (nee Prussian) liqueur keeps the focus squarely on the honey, quite the opposite of most of these spirits, which let the whiskey do most of the talking. The honey flavor is rich and authentic, sweet and lightly smoky/woody, almost like hanging around a smoldering campfire. What’s missing is actually the Bourbon.  You get the lightest touch of it up front, just a little taste of whiskey on the tip of your tongue, but nothing at all that’s distinctly Bourbon. Whatever the case, the recipe does at least provide for a good balance of flavors. The body may be on the thick side, but it’s not overtly sweet or cloying.

But hey, it’s actually pretty good stuff. It’s a far cry from Tennessee Honey and other whiskey-heavy honey liqueurs, but if you’re looking for a bigger honey kick in your cocktail — or even want to sip something honey-flavored straight (it’s for my cold, ma!) — this new release does the trick quite nicely.

70 proof.

A- / $29 / barenjagerhoney.com

Barenjager Honey Bourbon Review: Barenjager Honey & Bourbon

Review: Tuaca Liqueur

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…

Tuacarita
1 oz Tuaca
1 oz Herradura Silver Tequila
1/4 oz triple sec
3 oz sweet and sour
lemon wedge, squeezed
salt
lemon twist

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.

tuaca.com

Tuaca Review: Tuaca Liqueur

Review: Bushmills Irish Honey

Now the Irish are getting into the honey whiskey thing. Bushmills Irish Honey is the first honey-flavored spirit (to my knowledge) from the Emerald Isle, a simple blend of original Bushmills, Irish honey, and Irish water, bottled in the traditionally squared Bushmills-style bottle.

The results are solid. As Jack Daniels proved with its Tennessee Honey liqueur, the key to getting this category right is going easy on the honey. Really easy.

Here, the whiskey does the bulk of the talking, as it should, and the honey hangs in the background, always there but never pushing its way to the forefront. Instead it’s really more like a light bodied whiskey that has honey as its primary character.

Beyond that, however, there’s not much to report. Like standard Bushmills the whiskey component is youthful and uncomplicated, heavy with grain character, cereal, and heather. The honey itself doesn’t offer any clues as to its heritage — no orange character, and so on — just a pleasant sweetness. Put together it’s like a grown-up, liquified version of Honeycomb cereal. I mean that in the best possible way imaginable.

70 proof.

A- / $25 / bushmills.com

bushmills irish honey Review: Bushmills Irish Honey

Now That’s What I Call Dessert

Fernet Ginger Float at Park Tavern — Fernet Branca ice cream, shot of Fernet, Fever Tree Ginger Beer.

fernet float 525x702 Now Thats What I Call Dessert

Review: Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa Liqueur

Patron already makes a coffee-flavored liqueur, XO Cafe, and now it extends that line with XO Cafe Dark Cocoa, which adds Mexican Criollo chocolate to the mix of Patron silver and coffee flavors.

All the components are there. Chocolate with a touch of cinnamon hits you first on the nose. Take a sip and that Mexican chocolate character quickly arrives again. This is quickly followed by somewhat light coffee character, then a good slug of tequila. It isn’t the smooth number that you expect from Patron, with quite a bit of burn on the finish, but there’s plenty of legit tequila character in the finish. The body is oily — a bit syrupy.

But is that really what you want? Coffee liqueur lends itself to some pretty specific cocktails, and I’m not sure any of them is improved by adding tequila to the mix. Recipes that I’ve seen involving both Kahlua and tequila are never high on my “must order” list.

Still, if a Kahlua Cockroach (1 part coffee liqueur, 1.5 parts tequila, and yes that’s a real drink) sounds like it’s up your alley, then yes, without question, Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa is where you need to be.

60 proof.

B- / $20 / patrontequila.com

Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa Review: Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa Liqueur

Review: Mandarine Napoleon Orange Liqueur

Was Napoleon an orange liqueur man? My sources say he drank Burgundy and Cognac — like a good Frenchman should — so how would he feel about an orange liqueur being sold in his name? Well, guess what: This liqueur was made especially for Napoleon Bonaparte, and wasn’t offered to sale to the public until 1892.

Mandarine Napoleon is a Grand Marnier clone, a blend of straight orange liqueur and Cognac. The mandarins used are sourced from Sicily and Corsica. The Cognac used is a 10-year-old edition, which is quite aged and which, I would imagine, is used sparingly in the blend due to its relative cost. Artificial color is used to give it a deeper orange character.

The nose is pure orange, undercut with alcohol notes — understandable since this is bottled at 76 proof.

On the body, more oranges, with a rich, lightly oxidized body. Spices including cinnamon, licorice, and cloves, with plenty of sugar to sweeten the pot. The brandy mellows and enriches the concoction, giving it a warming, woody, and more exotic flavor. The body is a bit on the syrupy side — common for orange liqueurs — but it isn’t cloying. The finish is of course quite sweet, and lasting like an orange hard candy. I really enjoy margaritas made with Grand Marnier in lieu of standard triple sec, and I expect this would exceed in one much the same way.

I don’t have any Grand Marnier on hand (surprisingly) to compare this to directly, but if memory serves this is a pretty close approximation. Moderately sweet and enjoyable on its own and as a mixer. The retro bottle is a bit off-putting, but look beyond the tinted, textured glass and to the liquid within.

A- / $30 / mandarinenapoleon.com

mandarine napoleon Review: Mandarine Napoleon Orange Liqueur

Blood Orange Liqueur Recipes from Jackie Patterson

Jackie Patterson is a friend, a San Francisco bartender, and the ambassador for Solerno Blood Orange liqueur. She created all of these recipes to show off this exotic ingredient. They all sound delightful.

Star Ruby 1 300x234 Blood Orange Liqueur Recipes from Jackie PattersonStar Ruby
1 oz Solerno
1 oz fresh blood orange juice
1 oz Lillet Rouge
1 oz Hendrick’s Gin
Shake ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass.  Garnish with an orange twist.

Blood Orange Fizz
1 oz Solerno
1 oz Hendrick’s Gin
½  oz fresh blood orange juice
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
½ oz egg white
1 oz soda water
2 drops orange flower water
Dry shake all ingredients except soda.  Hard shake with ice and fine strain into a chilled fizz glass that already has the 1 oz of soda water in the bottom of the glass.  Garnish with 2 drops of orange flower water.

Blood Orange Zinger
1 oz Stoli O
1 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 oz fresh blood orange juice
½ oz simple syrup
½ oz fresh lemon juice
4 oz ginger beer
Shake ingredients except ginger beer with ice.  Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice, fill with Ginger Beer and stir to incorporate.  Garnish with a blood orange slice and a chunk of candied ginger.

Neroli
1 ½ oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
½ oz Aperol
1 oz fresh orange juice (or blood orange juice!)
1 ¾ oz Prosecco
Build ingredients over ice and stir to incorporate and chill. Garnish with a blood orange slice.

Blood Orange Bellini
1 oz blood orange juice
2 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
3 oz Prosecco
Shake the Solerno and blood orange juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Fine strain into a Champagne flute and fill with Prosecco.

Cool Item of the Day: The Bitter Truth Cocktail Bitters Traveler’s Set

The line between a good cocktail and a great one can often be drawn with a sprinkling of bitters, staples of any serious watering hole and surely a part of any high-end home bar, too.

Traveling, however, poses a particular challenge. It’s one thing to throw a bottle of rye in the car for the trip to Tahoe. It’s another to deal with all the little things — garnishes, mixers, bitters — as well.

The Bitter Truth is at least making one of those easier with this fun “Traveler’s Set” of five miniature (20ml) bottles packed into a tin travel kit. You get Celery, Orange, Creole, Old Time Aromatic, and Jerry Thomas’ Own Decanter Bitters in the mix. Not sure the Celery Bitters are essential, but the other four (sub Creole for Peychaud’s and either the Aromatic or the Jerry Thomas bitters for Angostura) cover the bitters bases of 90% of the cocktail recipes out there.

Fun stuff.

$18 / the-bitter-truth.com

bitter truth travelers set Cool Item of the Day: The Bitter Truth Cocktail Bitters Travelers Set

Review: Mathilde Poire and Framboise Liqueurs

These 100 percent natural liqueurs from France are staples of many a cocktail bar. We recently tasted two of the company’s five available varieties.

Mathilde Poire Liqueur is a mild on the nose, and quite sweet on first sip. Pear isn’t particularly predominant except on the first rush of flavor. That sweetness grows and grows, leaving a thick, almost cloying finish on the palate — and very little pear character to speak of. This one’s tough to swallow (literally) in all but small quantities. 36 proof. C

Mathilde Framboise Liqueur is a raspberry spirit, deep crimson in color and mildly fragrant of vague berries. The taste: Pure raspberry jam, extremely sweet, loaded with Jolly Rancher-like raspberry flavor. Maybe some strawberry, too. It’s a much different (and less satisfying) beast than Chambord, the king of raspberry liqueur, which (compared side by side) is richer, earthier, and with a seriously pronounced nose. Chambord’s chocolate notes give it a lot more depth. In comparison, Mathilde is really a juicy, one-trick pony. 36 proof. B-

each $15 per 375ml bottle / mathildeliqueur.com

Review: Dr. McGillicuddy’s “Intense” Schnapps

I am starting to question this “Doctor’s” medical credentials. Apple Pie Schnapps? Hmmm, color me suspicious.

Designed as “party shots,” Dr. McGillicuddy’s offers a range of traditionally flavored Schnapps… plus these four new modern additions. We braved our way into the quartet (in this order) with as open a mind as possible.

All are 42 proof.

Dr. McGillicuddy’s Apple Pie Intense Schnapps – Color me impressed. It really smells and tastes of fresh apple pie. Light and sweet, plenty of apple and cinnamon notes, and no burn at all. “Intense” it isn’t; rather it’s quite mild. I’ve actually tried apple pie flavored liqueurs before, and this one is easily the best one I’ve had to date. A-

Dr. McGillicuddy’s Wild Grape Intense Schnapps – Looks just like grape Kool-Aid. But on the tongue, it’s incredibly muddy. This is wild, but hardly grape. Flavors of burnt sugar and chemicals dominate. D

Dr. McGillicuddy’s Root Beer Intense Schnapps – Authentic root beer nose. The body, very sweet, like a can of A&W, and almost refreshing. The finish is a bit on the cloying side, but otherwise root beer nuts will find this a winner. B

Dr. McGillicuddy’s Ice Mint Intense Schnapps – Smells awfully minty, with promise. Sadly, tastes like toothpaste. C-

each $10 / drmcgillicuddy.com

Dr. McGillicuddys Schnapps Review: Dr. McGillicuddys Intense Schnapps

Review: Kahlua Cinnamon Spice Liqueur

The Kahluaverse continues to grow with this holiday-focused twist on the classic: Kahlua with the addition of brown sugar and cinnamon.

If you’re the type of person that dusts his latte with the cinnamon shaker, you’ll find this to your liking. The cinnamon is muted, and while this definitely seems sweeter than regular Kahlua, the coffee character is still evident, though perhaps more understated than you might expect. Some tart citrus-like character hits you on the finish… not exactly coffee-like, but not unpleasant either, seeing as many liqueurs tend to leave you with a cloying mouthfeel instead of a clean one.

Not bad, but not a vast departure from the already large Kahlua repertoire.

40 proof.

B / $20 / kahlua.com

Kahlua cinnamon spice Review: Kahlua Cinnamon Spice Liqueur

Drinkhacker’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving! While you’re enjoying your turkey, stuffing, and pie, many a thanksgiver’s thoughts turn to booze. Specifically, what one might buy for a favored loved one come holiday time. I’ve collected all my favorite spirits from 2011 here for you, but this is just a small sampling of what’s worthy on the market right now. Scan through the category of your choice for other ideas, and chime in with your own gift ideas!

Also check out our 2010, 2009, and 2008 holiday guides.

big bottom two years old 212x300 Drinkhacker’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for ChristmasBourbon – Big Bottom Whiskey 2 Years Old Port Cask Finish ($40) – Technically not a Bourbon, but close enough. I gave only two A+ grades (outside of event coverage) all year, and this was one of them. Finding this now will be tough (we’ll have a review of the 3 Years Old version shortly), so if this doesn’t pan out try Parker’s Heritage Collection Cognac Finished 10 Years Old ($80) or Col. E.H. Taylor Old Fashioned Sour Mash Bourbon ($70). You can also try Angel’s Envy ($45), technically a 2010 release but also Port-finished and about as good as Big Bottom.

Scotch – The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve ($375) – This is my “go-to” whisky right now, though it’s rapidly depleting, and the price may make it a big much for anyone short of a spouse. If you can find  Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix ($95) or Laphroaig Cairdeas ($60), both make outstanding gifts. And MacKinlay’s “Shackleton” ($150) is worth the price alone for the conversation value.

GinBloom Gin ($29) – No question on this one. The floral but not perfumy Bloom is one of my favorite gins today. It may be made for a woman, but it’s powerful enough for a man.

russian standard gold vodka 185x300 Drinkhacker’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for ChristmasVodka – Russian Standard Gold Vodka – At $45, it’s pushing the boundaries of what anyone should pay for a neutral spirit, but it’s good and the package is striking enough to require no wrapping paper, saving you a few bucks. For your more avant-garde friends, check out Sub Rosa’s Flavored Vodkas ($30) or a bottle of Skyy Blood Orange ($18).

Rum – Montanya Platino Rum ($30) – So much good rum came out this year, but Montanya’s simple, pure, and bracing white rum is my winner for what you should give a loved one. Bottled in Colorado, not Latin America, they’ll immediately want to know more. For more traditional gifts, I also loved Berrys’ Own Panama Rum 10 Years Old ($80) and Brugal Extra Viejo ($27).

Brandy – “Original Gangster” XO Brandy ($25) – This gift works on a couple of levels. First, the packaging and name are so ridiculous that your hipster friends will get a solid, 25 dollar laugh out of it. Second, the brandy is actually pretty good, so you can actually drink it when you’re done giggling.

TequilaCasa Dragones ($275) – The other A+ I gave this year, but considering the price of this. Tequila is still on the rise, and lots of good stuff is on the market, including Gran Dovejo Blanco ($47), El Gran Jubileo Extra Anejo ($65), and Excellia Blanco ($50), among many others.

Liqueur – Tatratea (up to $60) - A collection of five tea-flavored liqueurs, each increasing in proof level. Exotic and bizarre, and totally worthwhile for the liquor snob who has everything. Home cocktail enthusiasts would also love a little Pimento Dram ($28) or the all-new Drambuie 15 ($56).

Need another custom gift idea? Drop me a line or leave a comment here and I’ll offer my best advice!

Review: Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper

You’ve probably been wondering about this for years: Why doesn’t Southern Comfort partner with Tabasco on a liqueur?

You’re reading everything right: SoCo now comes in a “Fiery Pepper” version, bringing, uh, the best of two worlds together.

SoCo isn’t the first company to try this. We’ve reviewed several pepper-infused tequilas in the past. But SoCo is known not for its bite but rather its sweetness and smoothness. Tabasco you surely know.

The results: The nose doesn’t let on as to what’s inside, offering mostly traditional peach and apricot character. The palate is something else: It starts sweet, almost sedate. But take a big swig and the heat hits the back of your palate pretty hard. If you like spicy food it’s not really much in the way of a burn, but the unprepared will probably be knocked back a peg.

The funny thing is that, in a way, all of this works. The heat counters some of SoCo’s traditional cloying character, leaving you not with a mouthful of sugar but with a low smolder. What it doesn’t do is come together in any truly balanced way: It’s sweet, then hot, with not a lot of connective tissue between the two characteristics.

Certainly it’s cheap enough to give it a try — and if you’re a SoCo fan you’ll probably be intrigued — but don’t expect a mind-altering experience.

70 proof.

B- /$11 / southerncomfort.com

soco fiery pepper Review: Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper

Review: The Bitter Truth Apricot and Violet Liqueurs

The mad Germans at The Bitter Truth continue their march into odd liqueurs, this time with two new distillates: An apricot liqueur and a violet liqueur. Both are 44 proof.

The Bitter Truth Apricot Liqueur is based on a traditional German tipple, brought into the ’10s for a modern audience. The nose is intensely apricot, in keeping with the dark amber color. On the tongue, lots of sweet apricot jam character, a sort of earthier version of a peach, about as authentic as it gets. That said, apricot is kind of a funky flavor that really needs to be in a cocktail — as evidenced by so many classic cocktails that use apricot brandy in them — in order to fully appreciate its charms. B+

The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur is an homage to creme de violette, the long-dead and now-revived liqueur that is essential (in tiny quantities) to a handful of classic cocktail recipes (such as the one below). The spot-on violet-colored (artificial, I’m sad to say) is perfect, deep purple in the center and fading to blue at the edges. The nose is perfumy and floral, but the body is surprisingly mild and easy. A bit of blueberry fruit, light sweetness (much more so than the Apricot), and a pleasant finish. This one’s actually palatable on its own — though the nose is a bit too hefty — and, again, perfect in a cocktail. A-

$27 each / the-bitter-truth.com

The Aviation Cocktail
2 oz. gin
1/4 oz. violet liqueur
1/4 oz. Maraschino liqueur
1/4 oz. lemon juice

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Review: PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur

PAMA’s a brand that’s been around for years, but to my knowledge it is the only pomegranate liqueur on the market.

Why no competition? Because the popular way to get pomegranate into a drink — overwhelmingly — is via that classic bar standby: Grenadine.

Now the catch is this: Rose’s Grenadine, by far the most common brand of the stuff, is little more than red corn syrup. So purists started looking for something legitimate, with real pomegranate flavor, and “authentic” grenadines were born. (Stirrings is just fine.)

PAMA ups the ante with real pomegranate juice, and mixes in vodka and a touch of tequila to come up with a largely winning liqueur recipe. While it is perhaps the stickiest substance in my liquor cabinet, I have to say I’m a fan. The pomegranate taste is deep, and while PAMA is very sweet, it’s certainly not intended for consumption straight. Rather, use it to make an amped-up Cosmopolitan, pink-ify a Margarita, or add fruit notes to just about anything… without weakening your alcohol level (for better or for worse).

Heck, sip enough of it straight and maybe you can drink it this way….

34 proof.

A- / $25 / pamaliqueur.com

And here’s a PAMA cocktail to try…

Fruit Cobbler

1 oz. PAMA liqueur
1 oz. blueberry vodka
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
club soda

Combine all ingredients except club soda in a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into emptyhighball  glass, fill glass with ice and top with soda. Garnish with kiwi, strawberry, and blueberry on a spear.

 

 

PAMA pomegranate liqueur Review: PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur

Review: Qream Peach Creme Liqueur

Here is proof that not all musicians are required to lend their name to a cheap Cognac. Pharrell Williams’ creation is Qream, a pair of cream liqueurs flavored with either peaches or strawberries.

I don’t know who out there is clamoring for fruit-flavored cream liqueurs, but here we have it. We tasted only the peach version, and it is exactly what you would expect. The milky-pink-orange color is instantly off-putting, and the nose is surprisingly mute, hinting at almost nothing in the glass below. Take a sip and you get a heavy canned peach character, followed by something akin to rose-petal-heavy perfume in the finish. Cloying and saccharine, it’s a rocky road from there, with a long, lingering, and coating aftertaste that is hard to shake.

Qream is, in comparison to other “artist”-driven drinks, surprisingly understated, but unless you’ve really got Georgia on your mind, the difficult construction of this one makes it a pass. That’s a peaches reference. Sorry.

25 proof. Refrigerate after opening. Keep out of direct sunlight.

C- / $25 / qreamwithaq.com

qream peach creme liqueur Review: Qream Peach Creme Liqueur