Vinalla Liqueurs Head to Head: Tuaca (2012), Navan, and Licor 43

Vinalla Liqueurs Head to Head: Tuaca (2012), Navan, and Licor 43

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 (2012) – Very sweet, distinct orange undertones. Big body, mouth-filling, and a bit cloying on the finish. 70 proof; Italy. B / $25 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]

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 [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]

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
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 Liqueur (2012)




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. Jasal on May 25, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Tuaca is no longer made in Italy. In a kind of reverse out-sourcing, Browan-Forman (who bought Tuaca years ago) started producing the liqueur in Kentucky in 2010. Since the majority of Tuaca sales are in the US, this makes sense. It would be interesting to taste Italian-made Tuaca side-by-side against US-made Tuaca and see how they compare!

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