Christmas – a day full of food, family and a good sluice of booze.
Dinner is often followed by a liqueur – a sweet tipple drank to a chorus of loosening belts and cracking ice.
Family traditions often dictate what bottle is primed and ready to go for after the turkey has been taken away. Why not try something new this year?
We’ve rounded up some of the tastiest Christmas liqueurs around, and whilst they may not come decorated in festive colours, they are all Christmassy in flavour, from roasted nuts to decadent chocolate.
Get your short glasses primed and your ice ready to go, here are the best Christmas liqueurs of the year.
The best Christmas liqueur to buy
Adriatico amaretto (28% ABV)
Jean-Robert Bellanger’s Italian mother used to prepare her son’s favourite dessert, tiramisu, with two drops of amaretto. Those two love-laced drops sparked her son’s lifelong obsession with the liqueur, eventually giving birth to the Adriatico brand.
Nothing says Christmas quite like roasted nuts, and Adriatico delivers these in abundance. Only using Filippo Cea almonds from the Apulian region of Italy (the heel of the boot), the nuts are roasted before being macerated and distilled.
Vanilla, cocoa, cinnamon and a pinch of coffee are thrown into the mix, as well as a pinch of sea salt. The result is an amaretto with a thick, caramel mouthfeel, packed with notes of bonfire marzipan and cinder toffee.
Bouvery CV chocolate liqueur (16% ABV)
Bouvery CV is unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. This after dinner delight truly blurs the lines between liqueur and dessert. The CV stands for chocolate vodka, the two pillars of this decadent, boozy cocoa concoction.
Made using gluten-free, four-times-distilled corn vodka and fairtrade cocoa, Bouvery has the consistency of Nutella left out in the summer sun. This liqueur demands company in the form of ice cream or in the midst of a cocktail.
Bouvery CV is delicious when used in a sweet-toothed spin on the classic espresso martini; in a cocktail shaker combine three parts vodka with two parts coffee liqueur, one part Bouvery CV and a cold espresso shot. Shake well and strain into a martini glass for a chocolate cocktail treat.
Baileys Salted Caramel (17% ABV)
We all know and love Baileys as a Christmas staple. The name has come to define the Irish cream category, the delicate blend of cream and whiskey, lifted with drops of vanilla; you can’t wrap presents without it. Why not shake it up this year? The flavour, not the bottle.
Baileys have been steadily expanding their portfolio in recent years, introducing vegan options and some more decadent flavours. You can’t go wrong with the Baileys Salted Caramel.
This one does exactly what it says on the tin; the classic Baileys Irish cream is mixed with caramel and a pinch of sea salt for a sweeter, richer experience.
The King’s Ginger (41% ABV)
You know how you can tell The Crown isn’t real? They’re not drinking the King’s Ginger in every scene. Considering this liqueur was originally crafted for King Edward VII, you’d have thought that the Windsors would still be gulping it down liberally.
The story goes back to 1903, when the Royal Physician was concerned about the monarch’s insistence on driving his horseless carriage no matter the weather. Berry Bros. and Rudd were asked to knock up a warming liqueur to keep him healthy and ready for the next adventure. Over a century on and us mere mortals can enjoy it as well.
This liqueur is made with macerated ginger and lemon peel. The syrupy sweetness is cut through by the 41% alcohol, and the honey notes glue together dominant ginger and citrus flavours. Enjoy this on its own or with lemonade.
Grand Brulot VSOP cognac & cafe (40% ABV)
Christmas dinner necessitates an after-dinner digestif.
There’s few better than a coffee liqueur, which will help to break down the turkey, bacon and stuffing, whilst also giving you a caffeine-induced competitive advantage for the inevitable game of charades.
Grand Brulot is a coffee liqueur made with VSOP cognac. Fifth generation cellar master Christopher Tardy hand picks the finest eau-de-vie from the family estate to be blended with Ecuadorian Robusta coffee beans. The blend is then matured in oak casks for a year.
The result is a deep, dry and rich coffee liqueur, full of espresso notes, along with hints of anise, cinnamon and black pepper.
Licor 43 horchata (16% ABV)
Valencia has given us many a tasty treat in its time, paella being one. They’ve also nailed creamy beverages.
Horchata is a traditional Valencian drink loosely defined as a plant-based milk, its origins dating back as far as the 13th century. As with many traditional drinks, you can enjoy a better, boozier version.
Licor 43 was founded by the Zamora family in the 1940s, the recipe for the brand’s flagship bottle is inspired by an ancient Carthaginian elixir dating back to 209 BC.
Their horchata blends this signature bottle with traditional Valencian horchata. This vegan delight is made using tiger nuts and has a smooth, light and creamy mouthfeel, delicately spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon notes.
Toschi Nocello (24% ABV)
There is something very Pinocchio about Toschi Nocello liqueur. Maybe it’s the Disney-like way a walnut is fixed to the bottle, or maybe it’s the mouthfeel, which is as comforting as it is sweet.
Nocello was first produced by holy men centuries ago. Like many age old libations, it was first used for medicinal purposes. Nowadays it’s a dangerously moreish after dinner delicacy.
Made using macerated walnuts and hazelnuts, the palate is syrupy, unsurprisingly nut forward and lifted by a gentle cloud of vanilla. You may need a couple of bottles of this for Christmas, the entire table will want seconds.
O’Donnell Tough Nut moonshine (25% ABV)
Moonshine has finally been gentrified. No longer a bathtub concoction to be consumed at your own risk, moonshine has now been transformed into a sumptuous after dinner liqueur.
O’Donnell Moonshine derives its name from one of the prohibition period’s most infamous mobsters, James Edward ‘Spike’ O’Donnell. Bottling also harks back to the 20s, when mason jars were used by bootleggers to avoid suspicion.
The O’Donnell Tough Nut moonshine is full of Christmas flavours, including hazelnut, nougat and caramel. The trio combine for a silky smooth mouthfeel which is underlined by occasional bursts of spice. It’s incredibly difficult to have just one glass.
Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge (40% ABV)
If you don’t know Grand Marnier then you probably aren’t of legal drinking age. Grand Marnier is an historic brand with a history reaching back into the 19th Century, the liqueur lubricated the heady days of La Belle Epoque in France.
In 1880 Louis-Alexandre Marnier had the idea of combining bitter orange with fine cognac, his friend Cesar Ritz, founder of the Ritz Hotel, bestowed the name ‘Grand Marnier’.
Flash forward to the 21st century and this orange liqueur is still a firm favourite, particularly at Christmastime.
The palate is ultra smooth and bursting with juicy citrus flavours. Hints of vanilla linger whilst gloopy marmalade is cut through by cognac. The finish is all bitter orange with punches of pepper.
Edmond Briottet Crème de Châtaigne chestnut liqueur (18% ABV)
Edmond Briottet is a family business, the current managers are the sixth generation of the family to take the helm.
Originally a winery, the business pivoted to focus on liqueurs at the turn of the 20th Century, due to the burgeoning popularity of the ‘blanc cassis’ liqueur production of Dijon. Crème de Cassis became the company’s priority and wine fell by the wayside. Nowadays the Briottet range includes dozens of liqueurs.
In the spirit of Christmas, we think you should give their chestnut liqueur a go. You can’t get much more Christmassy than chestnuts after all.
This syrupy, sweet mouthfeel is full of smashed, burned fruit with chestnut lingering politely throughout, never overpowering the rest of the palate. This liqueur works surprisingly well dropped into champagne or a glass of white wine.
This review was last updated in December 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@.