Fresh raspberries and Cognac are the secret to Chambord Black Raspberry, a liqueur produced in France featuring flavors of blackberries, fresh currants, and rich vanilla.
Distillery La Sistière, Cour-Cheverny
Proof 33 (16.5% ABV)
Awards Gold, 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition
Dense fresh-fruit aromatics, concentrated but juicy and lifted on the palate, mean this niche liqueur plays well with multiple spirits.
Excellent price point for a quality liqueur, meaning you can feel free to experiment with it, even if your experiments don’t necessarily work out.
For cocktails, it requires a little thought and creativity, as it is a specialty liqueur and may well be relegated to collecting dust on a bar cart.
Color: Deep ruby with a hint of violet. Its saturated color not only looks great in the glass solo but also adds a punch of color to even brown-spirit-based cocktails.
Nose: Crushed, sweetened blackberries, black currants, rich vanilla, and caramelized sugar.
Palate: The texture and body are soft and juicy on the palate, less dense or syrupy than you might expect from the saturated color and intense fruit aromatics. It is medium-bodied and mouth-filling, but lifted, intense, and packed with concentrated berry flavor.
Finish: Concentrated mixed-berry jam flavor and a lingering sweet, fruity finish with notes of rich vanilla bean
While the product itself was officially launched in 1982, the tradition of macerating fresh berries in brandy in the Loire Valley (and many areas of France) is a tradition that dates back centuries. Apparently, the Chambord recipe itself is a riff on what Louis IX was potentially sipping on visits to the castle-laden Loire. Once launched in America, the liqueur quickly became a culinary favorite, appearing in a popular recipe for Chambord-spiked chocolate torte, but the liqueur’s charm is best demonstrated in a spin on a Kir Royale.
That said, it can be used in a surprising range of cocktails. It features a nice balance of flavor and texture—sweet but not overly so, fresh yet lush—that renders it more versatile than you might expect behind the bar, or as part of your home bar. Its fruity notes play well with rum; the vanilla notes cozy up beautifully to bourbon and rye; the subtle herbaceous and citrus flavors go well with gin. As liqueurs go, Chambord is essentially the gold standard.
It takes 6 weeks of fruit infusion to extract the aroma, flavor, and color of Chambord. And despite what you might assume from its rich color, no artificial coloring is used to get that deep ruby-violet hue. Chambord derives its color from the direct infusion of fresh black raspberries as well as the extracts of currant and raspberry.
The Bottom Line
Chambord is a modern-day classic liqueur with wide versatility.