Chateau Monet

Raspberry liqueur has the distinct flavor of sweetened raspberry syrup with alcohol, which leaves it tasting slight medicinal. Once mixed in a cocktail, the medicinal aspect somewhat disappears.

Chateau Monet is listed as “black raspberry” with herbs and spices. It was half of the price of the top shelf Chambord.

Proof: 33 (16.5 ABV)

Paid: $14 (on sale) for 750ml

Buy again: Probably


Southern Comfort

Southern Comfort, as a brand, is over 100 years old. It was originally a “whiskey-based liqueur flavored with fruit and spice”. The modern description leans a little more towards “neutral spirits with fruit, spice and whiskey flavorings”. I’m not sure that makes a whiskey flavoring, when you have real whiskey to work with, but I don’t bottle the stuff.

This is a sweet liqueur with a mild whiskey flavor, and several equally mild flavors of cinnamon, and fruits, and a few more things I can’t put my finger on.

Tasty, and works well in cocktails that call for it.

Proof: 70 (35% ABV)

Price: $15

Buy again: Yes


Midori? No Melone.

This is what you buy when you aren’t sure if you will like a $23 bottle of Midori, that very sweet, melon flavored liqueur that makes drinks turn nuclear waste green.

The Midori bottle is very decorative, but that doesn’t justify the price tag. Like so many liqueurs, there is usually a knock off. In this case, that knock off is Melone. Good luck finding ANY information about the brand online.

As soon as the bottle was opened, a sweet, melon candy aroma wafted out. A sip gives a very sweet taste indeed. The melon is an artificial honeydew like flavor. Having never tasted Midori, I can only tell you that the Midori Sour recipe yields a very tasty cocktail.

Proof: 42 (21% ABV)

Paid: $7

Buy again: Yes

Pallini Limoncello

Limoncello was an intriguing concept for me, typically made from the zest of tart lemons that have little bitterness. Lemon zest, or peels without the pith, are steeped in a base spirit until the oil is released. The resulting yellow liquid is then mixed with simple syrup (Wikipedia link).

The result  fruity citrus liqueur with a lower alcohol level, that is consumed chilled, straight, after dinner in some parts of the world.

My son gave me a bottle of Pallini Limoncello. Upon opening, I got the immediate scent of Lemonheads candy! I poured a sample into a shot glass and took a sip. It was sweet, and the taste of lemon candy persisted. I was not tart as I was expecting. As is the case for me, even the lower amount of alcohol wiped out my taste buds.

While I do not drink it straight, I have used it in cocktails in place of lemon juice or sour mix, to interesting effect.

Proof: 52  (26% ABV)

Price: $0 (was a gift, usually $25)

Buy again: Maybe

DeKuyper Creme De Cacao

Dessert. Chocolate. Alcohol.

Chocolate. Alcohol. Dessert.

I was intrigued at the idea of a number of dessert cocktails. Mudslides and Grasshoppers, and Alexanders, oh my!

Creme de Cacao (labeled on my bottle as Creme de Cocoa) is a chocolate liqueur available in a clear version or a brown version. It smells like chocolate. It tastes like chocolate. The alcohol is very subdued, no doubt due to the sugar content. Did I mention it is sweet? Very sweet? A little goes a long way.

Honestly, it hasn’t gotten too much use so far. With winter coming, it may get more use.

Proof: 48 (24% ABV)

Paid: $10

Buy again: Yes (but not very often)


Gran Gala Orange Liqueur

From the beginning of my cocktail experiments, I have been fascinated by orange liqueur, triple sec, curacao, and any other names you might want to line up to describe an essence of orange and a base spirit. I had started with Cointreau, fallen to the bottom shelf with Bols Triple Sec, and climbed halfway back up to find Gran Gala.

As usual, the walk around the ABC store after the first of the month draws my eye towards sales. And on that particular month, I found Gran Gala. Reviews were all over the place, but a blind tasting put it up in the decent realm.

So, purchase made, and back to the Lair. The aroma was sweet and certainly had some orange. It was fine in cocktails, so no complaints. It does bring a punch (of alcohol at 80 proof ) to the punch, so to speak. The only difference from previous or current orange liqueurs I’ve tried is the color. It is sort of a golden brown. Not a big issue, but is does color drinks, where other clear liqueurs don’t (aside from blue curacao) .

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $15 (on sale)

Buy again: Yes

Copa de Oro Coffee Liqueur

Boy, those sale prices get my attention. While perusing the shelves, I ran across Copa de Oro Coffee Liqueur, a Kahlua knock off. Now, I am a coffee lover. So this was an opportunity to mix coffee and cocktails.

Copa de Oro, upon opening, smells like coffee with sweetener. In a shot glass, the sip revealed a very sweet, thick, coffee syrup. There was very little alcohol taste. Aside from the heavy sweetness, I could drink this straight, or over ice.

The first cocktail I tried was a Black and White, which is simply coffee liqueur and Half ‘n Half. It was very good, but very dessert like. I have also used it more recently in the Mr Bali Hai, which I enjoyed immensely.

I think I’d like to try another brand to see if it is equally as sweet.

Proof: 44 (22% ABV)

Price: $7 for 750ml (on sale)

Buy again: Probably

DeKuyper Blue Curacao

Let’s face it. Blue Curacao is used for adding blue color to drinks, because Windex isn’t safe to drink! In the DeKuyper bottling, there may be some fake orange flavor and a sweet component. But, it’s blue!

I have seen reviews of other brands that might be a little truer to an orange curacao, and less focused on the blue coloring.

Proof: 30 (15% ABV)

Paid: $ for 750ml

Buy again: Probably (I have blue drinks to make!)

DeKuyper Peachtree Peach Schnapps

Sometimes a product name says it all. Such is the case for DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps.

When you open the bottle, you are hit by the scent of fresh, very sweet peaches. A sip yields the same taste as the aroma suggests. Like many liqueurs, the lower ABV and the higher sugar content lessens the alcohol burn. It’s too sweet for me to sip much of it straight, and for me, that’s saying something.

Of course, with a component like this that has such a potent flavor, a cocktail can be overwhelmed and taste like nothing but peaches. Occasionally, it is necessary to reduce the amount in the mix to end up with a more balanced cocktail that lets the other flavors come through.

And let’s face it. You can’t have a fuzzy navel without it!

Proof: 60 (30% ABV)

Paid: $11 for 750ml

Buy again: Yes

DeKuyper Sour Apple Pucker

Okay, I’m not proud of this. I saw ‘apple’ and thought, “that could be good”. I had heard of apple schnapps and was intrigued. I saw this and thought maybe this would do.

Nope. This was not a good idea. The taste is very tart and very artificial. I have tried to use it in a couple of cocktails and I’ve been disappointed each time. It is in another cabinet now, waiting for a purge, or for someone to come along and ask for something that uses it, and then we can both be disappointed.

I’m still searching for that real apple schnapps.

Proof: 30 (15% ABV)

Paid: $11 for 750ml

Buy again: No