The best chocolate liqueurs taste tested 2022
Read our list of the best chocolate liqueurs for an after-dinner treat, including white chocolate, hazelnut and Irish cream varieties
Many of us reserve the most sumptuous after-dinner treats for special occasions – but a good chocolate liqueur is irresistibly delicious all year round.
First off, the basics: what is chocolate liqueur? It's drink with a spirit base, infused with chocolate flavours and with an ABV typically no greater than 30%. Variation comes from how the chocolate flavour is extracted: some chocolate liqueurs (often the creamier ones) will be blended with chocolate, whilst more syrupy versions will use a maceration process or similar. For example Belgian chocolate can be churned with boozy cream or cacao beans soaked in booze.
Competition in the category is strong and we have a variety of options to choose from with bottles to suit all wallets and palates, including white chocolate cream with nuts, chocolate with whiskey and chocolate with vodka. If you want something as warming then opt for a whiskey base, for something a little sharper choose vodka, grappa, or another white base spirit.
Brendan Hodrien is a lifestyle writer who specialises in drinks reviews. He has written drinks round ups for a variety of publications including The Independent, i and the Evening Standard, often specialising in whisky reviews. He has carefully tested the best chocolate liqueurs to buy – read on for his verdicts. For more, visit our reviews section to find more than 200 practical buyer's guides, including taste tests of gin, vodka, rum and brandy, plus round-ups of the best rhubarb, pink and citrus gins.
How we tested chocolate liqueur
When testing chocolate liqueurs (and, believe us, we tested thoroughly!) we tasted each liqueur over ice. Most were room temperature prior to being pouredover ice, some bottles specifically ask to be stored in the fridge and served chilled so we followed these instructions. We were looking for a variety of flavours, spirits and mouthfeels. A good syrupy liqueur should have a buttery finish as it slides down your throat, a good cream liqueur should be mouth filling, enveloping your tongue. The key element we wanted to avoid was a cloying sweetness; these are bottles for after dinner drinking and you need to be able to drink a glass without the sweetness becoming sickly.
Best chocolate liqueurs at a glance
- Best for chocolate cream: Mozart Chocolate Cream Liqueur, £13.75
- Best Italian chocolate liqueur: Bottega Gianduia Liqueur, £14.49
- Best white chocolate liqueur: Coole Swan Superior Irish Cream Liqueur, £22.50
- Best budget chocolate liqueur: Bailey’s Chocolate Luxe, £18
- Best chocolate liqueur for dessert: Bouvery CV, £27.95
- Best chocolate liqueur for syrupy sweetness: Giffard Crème de Cacao White, £20.10
- Best chocolate liqueur for sustainability: FAIR. Cacao Liqueur, £17.26
- Best for nutty chocolate: Berentzen White Chocolate Macadamia, £13.88
Best chocolate liqueurs to buy 2022
Mozart Gold Chocolate Cream Liqueur
Best for chocolate cream
Star rating: 4/5
The International Wine & Spirit Competition naming Mozart the Liqueur Producer of the Year 2020 and it's not hard to see why with this liqueur. A West African cocoa blend is matched with Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar, Belgian chocolate, a drop of caramel and cocoa butter-laced cream from the Netherlands; all blended with a sugar beet distillate which has sweetness at its boozy core.
This chocolate cream liqueur is everything you want from this category: indulgently rich with Belgian chocolate, silkily creamy and underscored by lashings of vanilla. For something more imposing you can try Mozart's dark chocolate and coffee expressions – both bold and satisfying in their own right. There’s also the delicious white chocolate bottle which leans further into vanilla and caramel, or even a creamless, vegan-friendly dark chocolate edition.
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Bottega Gianduia Liqueur
Best Italian chocolate liqueur
Star rating: 5/5
Despite being established as a distillery in the mid-20th century, Bottega is arguably better known for the sparkling wine, Bottega Gold.
The Bottega family can trace its lineage all the way back to an Andrea Bottega who cultivated vines in 1635. This supposed forefather’s passion was passed down; in the 1920s Domenico Bottega was a successful wine trader but it was his son Aldo who established the family’s first distillery owing to his love of grappa. In turn, Aldo’s son Sandro took the reins in the early '80s.
In 2022 there is a vast array of Bottega products on offer, including sparkling wine, vodkas and vermouths. The distillery’s creams and liqueurs range will leave a discerning drinker feeling like a kid in a sweet shop, and to pick out just one of the chocolate offerings was a challenge. We’ve gone for the Gianduia (hazelnut chocolate) as our top pick. However, we could’ve easily picked out the Fior de Latte; a milky, white chocolate sensation, or the uber-rich dark chocolate offering. The Gianduia is velvety smooth, a whirlpool of milk and melted chocolate hazelnut spread that you’re more than happy to be swept up in. This bottle won’t last long on the table.
Coole Swan Superior Irish Cream Liqueur
Best white chocolate liqueur
Star rating: 5/5
Irish cream liqueurs are some of the most ubiquitous, with one obvious brand dominating the Christmas market. However, there are other Irish offerings worth shouting about and this white chocolate delight by Coole Swan is certainly one of them.
The company tried a whopping 230 different recipes before landing on the current formulation which has served it so well – produced at their fifth-generation family farm in Co. Meath. This perfectionism is evident throughout the process; from the cows being treated like royalty – free grazing, milked twice a day – to the cream and white chocolate being churned together for a minimum of 100 turns an hour. The end result has led to acclaim, with Coole Swan sweeping up at awards.
But what about the finished drink itself? Was it worth all the grazing, milking and churning, the 230 attempts at the perfect recipe? Absolutely. The palate is more complex than you’d expect; dark chocolate makes an appearance alongside white chocolate and vanilla with buttery biscuit crumbled throughout. A triumph.
Bailey’s Chocolat Luxe
Best budget chocolate liqueur
Star rating: 4/5
You simply can’t write a chocolate liqueur roundup without including the world’s foremost cream liqueur producer. Over the years Baileys has swept up the Christmas after-dinner treat market but this ubiquitous tipple can be enjoyed all year round.
The story of Baileys begins when the founders agreed that they needed to combine their two great loves in life: dairy cream and Irish whiskey. By 1974 the group had cracked it. Roaring success hasn’t seen Baileys do away with what made the firm so prominent: the brand still uses dairy farms that have been in families for generations and high animal welfare standards are adhered to. Some of Bailey’s partner farmers really go above and beyond, with cows having comforting music played during milking and an independent technician conducting monthly stress tests to make sure all is well with the herd.
Baileys Original Irish Cream conquered the world, paving the way for a parade of new flavours – some more permanent than others. The best example of these is Baileys Chocolat Luxe. Resplendent in a gold bottle the liquid doesn’t disappoint; best served over ice, the taste is everything you want from a chocolate liqueur: signature Baileys creaminess is elevated by milky Belgian chocolate, balanced by gentle nutty flavours and enduring vanilla.
Bouvery CV Chocolate Liqueur
Best chocolate liqueur for dessert
Star rating: 4/5
Chocolate and vodka, now together in one delicious, gloopy bottle. There is an argument to be made that Bouvery CV’s unique consistency means it is better described as a boozy dessert than a drink. No matter how its classified, we call it decadent and extremely moreish.
A transatlantic creation, the genesis of this liqueur was in a fridge in Notting Hill which founder Danny Bouvery regularly stocked with fine chocolates and equally fine vodkas. Eventually these vices found home in the same glass and the recipe was perfected in New York.
In partnership with Westford Hill Distillers, fair trade cocoa is blended with quadruple-distilled gluten-free vodka which is filtered with local spring water. The result is a thick, rich and dark chocolatey concoction which slides almost reluctantly from the bottle. Deep cocoa is livened with a welcome, sharp vodka. Delightful on the rocks, but we can also imagine it perfectly suited in an extra-rich chocolate cocktail.
Giffard Creme de Cacao White Liqueur
Best chocolate liqueur for syrupy sweetness
Star rating 4/5
Giffard's story started in 1885 with an enterprising pharmacist by the name of Émile Giffard. The good doctor was in the midst of a heatwave in Angers when he decided to combine his knowledge of medicine with his interest in the culinary arts. He had long been fascinated by the holistic properties of mint and so he set about manufacturing a mint liqueur. The concoction was served to patrons of the Grand Hotel and guests were suitably refreshed. The liqueur was named Menthe-Pastille, inspired by the tiny mint sweets which were so popular at the time. Menthe-Pastille proved such a success that the pharmacy was converted into a distillery.
To this day the family still runs the business and there is an array of liqueurs on offer. Offerings range from the classic creme de menthe to more exotic expressions such as a lychee liqueur. Whether the hero of the bottle is apricot or watermelon, Giffard employs a traditional maceration process: steeping ingredients in alcohol for periods ranging from two days to three months. For an indulgent chocolate liqueur, the delicious and syrupy Crème de Cacao White is a must-try. Made with macerated cacao beans, this bottle offers a mouth filling experience; sugary sweet at first, the palate then leans into a gentle cacao with a buttery finish. White spirits can be scary for some but this simply has to be enjoyed on its own over ice, you’ll keep coming back for more…and more.
FAIR. Cacao Liqueur
Best chocolate liqueur for sustainability
Star rating: 4/5
Sustainability isn’t just about environmental impact: economic sustainability should also be at the forefront of consumers’ minds. FAIR. has been around for 13 years and in that time the company has become an industry leader in sustainable spirits.
FAIR. is one of the world’s first Fair Trade-certified spirits brand and economic sustainability is a top priority for the brand, which produces everything from an acacia rum to a quinoa vodka. As the business’ name suggests, FAIR. believes in treating people fairly. The firm sources high-quality ingredients (arabica is imported from Mexico, juniper is sourced from Uzbekistan) and pays each supplier a fair amount, adhering to over 200 rules to ensure that farmers receive a decent living. On the environmental side, the firm has pledged to be plastic free by 2024.
We couldn’t get enough of FAIR.'s Cacao Liqueur. Made using Fair Trade Peruvian cocoa nibs, deep, dark chocolate envelops the palate with a dry nuttiness lurking in the background. Simple, indulgent and all with a clean conscience – what else could you want?
Berentzen White Chocolate Macadamia
Best for nutty chocolate
Star rating: 4/5
Berentzen was founded in 1758 when Johann Bernhard Berentzen established a small grain distillery in Haselünne. Over the years the business expanded and diversified, with the launch of an apple schnapps in 1976 bringing tremendous growth.
The success of the apple schnapps launch can be seen in the range of liqueurs on offer today. Berentzen have a tipple to suit all tastebuds. We’ve singled out the White Chocolate Macadamia for praise this time around. This is a delightfully creamy pour, consisting of cream, white chocolate and finely ground macadamia nuts. The dry nutty character plays perfectly with the white chocolate to avoid a cloying sweetness. This is delightful over the rocks but if you want to try something new, add a splash into a glass of warm milk – you won’t regret it.
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This review was last updated in April 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at email@example.com.
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