Review: Navan Vanilla Liqueur

Review: Navan Vanilla Liqueur


Vanilla is an essential part of any good dessert, and it’s equally essential as part of any good dessert cocktail. (Check out how often I use Licor 43 in my dessert drink recipes if you don’t believe me.)

The challenge is that there are very few vanilla-based spirits out there. The aforementioned Licor 43 is one (and an exceptionally good one), but now there’s another, newcomer Navan, bottled by the makers of Grand Marnier.

Head to head, the differences are pronounced. Despite having 42 other herbs in it, the Licor 43 has considerably more of a vanilla flavor and dessert-like kick, but more importantly it is much heavier, almost like a syrup. I can’t (and don’t recommend) drinking Licor 43 straight, but with a lot of melting ice, it’s palatable on its own. Navan is blended with Cognac and this character comes through, mellowing the vanilla and lending a more traditional spirit note to the liqueur. It’s easy to sip Navan on its own, but it’s even better on the rocks and, of course, in cocktails. (Also worth noting: Navan is a full 80 proof, while Licor 43 is 62 proof.)

In a complicated, chocolate cocktail, you’d have trouble picking a favorite between these two, though Navan is considerably more expensive. I’ll probably stick to 43 in most cocktails, but would experiment more with Navan in brandy-based drinks or non-dessert offerings.

80 proof.

A- / $37 

Navan Vanilla Liqueur




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Tamra on January 22, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    DeLICious!!! Well worth the money. Perfecft after dinner drink or aperitif!!!! BUY IT. I had it on the rocks, it was perfect. PERFECT. Tasted like a very smooth cognac with a hint of REAL vanilla. Smooth. I had it on the rocks. Can’t WAIT for more!!

  2. Cleveland Moss on June 12, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I live in Michigan, can’t find navan.

  3. Dyfwn on October 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Cleveland Moss– Several Stores in Ann Arbor carry it. I have found it at several places in Southfield and Merchants Fine Wine in Dearborn carries it.
    You have to look around. It is available.

  4. cathy on October 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I just love having a shot movies. Navan to bad its being. Disconitue.

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