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Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur is produced in Canales, a city in the Piedmont region of Italy. Though the brand is currently owned by the Italian company Gruppo Campari, the production of Frangelico has a much longer history dating back over 300 years. It was originally distilled by monks living in the region, and is even named after a particular hermit monk known as Fra’ Angelico. These origins are reflected in the unique bottle shape which resembles a friar’s robes.
The brand seems to pride itself on the quality of hazelnuts in the region, which are the basis of the liqueur’s flavor. According to the official Frangelico website, the hazelnuts first go through a preparation process and are distilled into a “natural hazelnut distillate”. This distillate is then blended with other distillates and flavors such as vanilla berries and cocoa seeds. The next stage of blending also involves sugar, water, and pure alcohol in order to achieve the correct ABV strength. Before bottling, the mixture sits in vats for 6-8 weeks to allow the ingredients to fully blend.
❖ ABV: 24%
❖ Distillery: Frangelico Distillery
❖ Aging: N/A
❖ Price Point: high-priced
❖ dark chocolate
My Tasting notes
As I began to pick out the nose notes of this liqueur, my first whiff was overwhelmingly sweet with a distinct nuttiness. There was a smooth, wafting quality to the aromas that was quite pleasant. After a minute or so, the chocolate notes also started to come out.
When I took my first sip, the flavor rushed onto my tongue in a huge burst. There is a unique nutty flavor as well as prominent chocolate notes, which work together seamlessly like one magical nut. After a few sips, I can also pick out the vanilla notes which are subtle yet delightful. In regards to the alcohol, this liqueur is very smooth. I appreciate the fact that it’s made with a neutral alcohol, as this allows the hazelnut flavor to really shine. Overall, Frangelico tastes like a liquid dessert.
For my cocktail, I really wanted to try out one of the recipes from the official Frangelico website. Most of the recipes there are surprisingly simple (I mean, I’m not sure if just pouring a shot of something can be considered a recipe). However, one cocktail in particular caught my eye due to the unusual flavor combination – hazelnut and lime. I decided I had to try it out!
FRANGELICO SODA AND LIME
❖ 1.25 oz Frangelico
❖ 2 lime wedges
❖ soda water (to top)
❖ garnish: grated hazelnut (I skipped this part)
- Combine ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice
- Top with a squeeze of lime, and garnish with grated hazelnut if desired.
Overall, I have lukewarm feelings about this cocktail. When I took my first sip, my taste buds were very confused. As it turns out, this flavor combination is just as weird as it sounds! I’m not convinced that hazelnut can really complement lime after all. What’s more – the flavor of the Frangelico really got lost amongst the soda water. If I concentrate really hard, I can pick out the nutty notes. Otherwise, it just tastes like a funky soda water!
That said – I’ve had Frangelico in a variety of sweet and/or creamy cocktail recipes in the past, and I feel that this is where it really shines. This liqueur excels against sweeter flavors such as berry, cream, or butterscotch.
I highly recommend Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur to anyone looking for a bit of a splurge. Although the price is higher than many other nut liqueurs, it is worth every penny. Just make sure to savor it properly!
I feel that the quality of the ingredients, in particular the hazelnuts, is very apparent when you taste this liqueur. It’s every sweet tooth’s dream spirit. I personally drink it both straight and in cocktails, depending on the situation. As a home bartender, I also appreciate how versatile it can be for mixing. Though I wouldn’t pair it with lime again, it does taste good with a wide range of flavors. This makes it a lot of fun to experiment with!
I must admit, I tried really hard to think of drawbacks or criticisms of this liqueur for the sake of a balanced review – but what can I say? When I tasted Frangelico for the first time, I fell in love! For me, it’s an easy 5 stars.
As always, drink responsibly.
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