You’ve bought the rum, whiskey, tequila and gin. Hell, you’ve even splurged on a cocktail mixer or two. But now it’s time to up the ante. Curate a selection of these fancy liqueurs for your home bar and you’ll not only get great pleasure from sipping on them, but you’ll be adding some sass to a host of cocktails, too.
Creators of this bitter, mysterious drink from Italy claim that no less than 27 herbs and spices — including saffron, aloe, chamomile, myrrh and cinnamon — are involved in its making. Starting off bitter on the tongue, its taste slowly graduates to a gentle sweetness (but it’s definitely not for the faint of palate). Fernet con Coca (Fernet and Cocoa Cola) is a popular libation in Argentina, and on its own, it’s a great digestif post a lavish meal.
This delicate and floral liqueur is often sought after for its sweet notes. Made with elderflowers harvested from the French Alps, it’s earned a great reputation since its launch just 10 years ago. Enjoy it with some bubbles from soda or sparkling wine, or as a silky addition to cocktails for a dash of je ne sais quois. Plus, its beautiful bottle is sure to add some major eye candy to your bar collection.
You’ve probably sipped on this liqueur a number of times in cocktails before. Dating all the way back to 1880, this blend of Cognac, brandy and bitter oranges has clearly stood the (taste) test of time. It’s popular served just over ice as an aperitif, but also makes an appearance in several dessert recipes, especially the famous crêpes suzette. Fruit-forward and heavier than its cousin Cointreau, Grand Marinier sports tantalizing aromas of vanilla and oak.
Legend has it that Prince Charles Edward Stuart gifted this recipe to the chief of a Scottish clan for helping him escape from the Isle of Skye in 1746. The rest is sweet liqueur history. Crafted with scotch whisky, honey, herbs and spices, Drambuie has a sweet and smoky flavour with a syrupy consistency. Serve it alone over ice (maybe even ice cream), or add a touch of sweetness to some coffee or tea.
Juniper, musk, star anise, lavender — Galliano’s 30-strong spice and herb ingredient list reads like an apothecary’s menu. However, the dominant note is vanilla, making this liqueur a fragrant staple in many cocktails; the most famous of which is the Harvey Wallbanger (with vodka and orange juice). As a proud Italian drink (though now owned by a Dutch distiller), its distinctive bottle is even said to be reminiscent of a Roman column.
No liqueur can add a refreshing boost to a drink quite like Aperol can. Thanks to the orange, rhubarb and medley of herbs as well as roots in it, Aperol is extremely popular around Italy — especially during Christmas time. While this liqueur’s far less bitter than Campari, its sweetness isn’t too overpowering, making it an ideal addition to many cocktails. The well-balanced flavour is also complemented by a low alcohol content (at 11% ABV) — so don’t be afraid to add an extra splash of it to your drink.
Whether you choose to bake with it or add it into some coffee or hot chocolate, this bottle of liqueur is as versatile as booze can get. Often made from apricot pits or almonds, its nutty flavour’s paired with a gentle sweetness that can enhance food and drinks alike — perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.