The Crème of Cocktails

Cocktails can also be fruity, creamy, and chocolaty and we have the crèmes to thank for such a wide range of delectable flavors! Here are a few of the crèmes that make cocktails nearly addictive, especially as a way to unwind after a hard day’s work.

Crème de Café

Known as coffee liqueur, crème de café is best served ice-cold with heavy cream on top, a popular way of enjoying the coffee flavor. It’s also mixed with other drinks to balance out the alcohol content, as is the case with Black and White Russians.

The best example of coffee liqueur is Kahlua, an excessively sweet and syrupy product. When mixed with alcohol, it adds a creamy touch to the alcohol while also increasing its palatability.

Crème de Banana

Banana liqueurs are typically quite sweet, as well as have a strong banana flavor. Don’t be fooled by its sweet flavor as these are usually bottled at 17-25% ABV and, thus, add to a cocktail’s alcohol content. While it isn’t as widely used as, say, crème de café in cocktails, it’s a fun ingredient to play with in certain cocktails.

The African Dream, for example, is a great cocktail – mix 1 ounce each of Amarula, crème de banana, and milk. Other great ways to use crème de banana are Bazooka Bubble Gum (1 ounce Southern Comfort, ½ ounce crème de banana, ½ ounce grenadine, and milk); King Kong Cola (2 ounce Crown Royal, 1 ounce crème de banana, and cola); and Monkey Coke (1 ½ ounce crème de banana and cola).

Crème de Cacao

Keep in mind that crème de cacao is different from chocolate liqueur – the latter is typically more syrupy and sweeter than the latter. Crème de cacao is an alcoholic liqueur made with cacao, or chocolate bean, and vanilla bean. The chocolate and vanilla combo makes it popular for mixing in drinks like mocha martinis, as well as in ice creams and desserts, usually as a topping.

It’s available in two types, namely, dark and white. Both types aren’t made of dairy despite the “crème” term in them although both have a creamy texture. The alcohol content in crème de cacao varies although the common range is between 20% and 25% ABV (40-50 US proof).

Crème de Cassis

Known as cassis liqueur, crème de cassis is a low-proof liqueur with a sweet taste, thanks to the fact that it’s made from French blackcurrants. The resulting color is deep, dark red so it’s also popular with wine pairings like kir, a wine cocktail, and as a frappe.

Crème de Cerise

Cherry cream is a sweet cherry-flavored liqueur made from macerated dark and sour cherries. Due to its high sugar content – higher than 250 grams per liter – it has a relatively low alcohol content of about 18% ABV.

Crème de Coconut

Also known as batida de coco, coconut liqueur obviously has a coconut flavor with a rum base, thus, its popularity in tropical cocktails like Blue Hawaiian and Bahama Mama. Don’t confuse crème de coconut with cream of coconut – the latter is a non-alcoholic drink also used in many cocktails.

Crème de Framboise

Along with creme de myrtille (blueberry) and kirschen liqueur (cherry), crème de framboise is a specialty fruit liqueur with a raspberry flavor. It can be used as a primary or secondary ingredient in cocktails like Floradora and Millionaire’s Cocktail. While it’s deep red in color, it has amber and orange shades that make it more interesting on the glass.

This liqueur has powerful aromas that evoke raspberries with hints of red fruits like gooseberry and blackcurrant, thus, it has a slightly peppery note. When taken as is, it has a dynamic and bright mouth-feel.

Crème d’ Almond

Crème d’ almond is a pink-flavored liqueur made with fruit stones and almonds. It’s similar to crème de noyau and amaretto, both of which aren’t made from almonds. Crème de noyau is made from the stones of stone fruits like peaches, plums, and apricots so it has a sweet quality to it.

Crème de Menthe

Just as its name implies, crème de menthe is flavored with either mint leaves or mint extracts. The flavor itself comes from dried peppermint or Corsican mint, as well as available in green-colored and colorless versions. Both of these versions have a similar flavor and, thus, can be interchanged in cocktail recipes except in cases when the resulting color matters.

When using these liqueurs, be mindful of their alcohol content since these can add to the strength of the cocktail. Just because crème de café is sweet doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a kick to it – and what a kick it has when mixed with other alcoholic drinks.  Moderation is a also key in enjoying cocktails, which means savoring their seamless blending of favors without falling flat on your face.

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