A cream liqueur is precisely what it sounds like: Liqueur made with the addition of cream. (Not to be confused with crème liqueur, for instance crème de menthe, which is made with a generous dose of sugar.) Most of us were first introduced to the style with Baileys Irish cream, the sweet, chocolate-milky whiskey-based product invented in the ’70s and ubiquitous today. But Baileys is definitely not the only cream liqueur.
Sweet, creamy sips are made in a range of countries and with a range of base spirits, including rum, tequila and even scotch. And, despite the category being viewed as rather homogenous, we can assure you that cream liqueurs also come in a wide range of flavors. Here are six you should know. Gift them or break them out for dessert after your next big feast.
Think peanut butter cups in a bottle. This addictive sipper from Spain looks, smells and tastes like chocolate milk but has a surprising, luscious peanut-butter-like note on the finish. As the label suggests, it’s made with grain whisky. Electrify your café con leche or enjoy it over ice.
Hailing from Italy, this bright-yellow liqueur is made with Sorrento lemons from the Amalfi Coast. It’s light and fresh, suggesting creamy lemon curd and fragrant lemon peel, and ultra-refreshing to sip. Pour it after dinner, preferably paired with a lemon-custardy pastry.
The ornate gold and red bottle catches the eye. Inside, this unusual rum-based liqueur is creamy and delicate, spiked with hints of cardamom, almond and rosewater. Despite being dubbed “the original Indian cream liqueur,” it’s made in Chicago with Wisconsin dairy. Serve it as a soothing sipper after a spicy meal. Keep an eye out for the chai flavor, too.
Packaged in a stainless steel canister reminiscent of an old-school milk can, this Speyside scotch-based liqueur offers a smooth, creamy sip tinged with cocoa and vanilla. It’s made with Dutch cream, nodding to the Netherlands as the birthplace of Holstein cows. Sadly, you have to get this shipped from Scotland, but it’s well worth the trouble.
Look for the elephant on the label. Made in South Africa from the fruit of the marula tree, this liqueur is surprisingly soft on the palate, mixing subtle fruit and vanilla tones. Best of all, a portion of proceeds benefit elephant habitat conservation efforts throughout Africa. Enjoy it over ice or, if you’re feeling like you truly deserve a treat, over ice cream.
Made in Mexico and tequila-based, this cream liqueur channels dulce de leche and super smooth lattes, with a coffee-accented aroma and a flicker of cinnamon. The bottle, in pink or blue, is gift-worthy, too. Serve this in an after-dinner coffee or, if it’s, say, the weekend, a spiked brunch latte.