These Amarula cocktails are the absolute best way to use up a bottle of the unique and tasty South African cream liqueur! From creamy coffee martinis to boozy adult milkshakes to frozen tropical drinks, there’s a delicious Amarula cocktail for every occasion and palate!
I discovered Amarula not long ago and instantly fell in love. At first I was even upset — Amarula’s been around since I was born, and I’m only NOW hearing about it!?
Anyway… I digress. I love Amarula because it adds a bright, creamy complexity to dessert and coffee cocktails, and is also a fun addition to tropical beach drinks. It’s a super festive ingredient in holiday cocktails, but it’s SO versatile and delicious that you’ll want to make cocktails with it all year round!
What is Amarula?
Amarula is sweet cream liqueur from South Africa made with cream, sugar, and fermented and distilled marula tree fruit. So unlike many cream liqueurs, Amarula doesn’t have a base of brandy or whiskey and is instead considered a fruit-based spirit.
If you’re not familiar with the marula fruit (I certainly wasn’t!), it’s a sweet and sour plum-sized fruit that packs a TON of flavor. It’s well known in South Africa as the fruit that inebriates elephants, and the marula tree itself is referred to as “The Elephant Tree”. Elephants getting drunk off fermented marula fruit is obviously a myth, but a big ol’ elephant still decorates the front of Amarula’s bottle as a nod to this widely held belief.
Amarula began its journey in 1983, when it was made exclusively with marula fruit. They only introduced cream to the recipe in 1989, and this is also when they started distributing it domestically. Five years later in 1994, the liqueur made its way overseas and graced our shelves with its creamy goodness!
Amarula sits at 17% ABV, so it’s on the lighter side of the spectrum, and a 750ml bottle will cost you $23-$26 in the USA.
Is Amarula Similar to Bailey’s?
The only similarity between Amarula and Bailey’s Irish Cream is they’re both sweet, cream-based liqueurs — so they taste completely different! Bailey’s is heavier and tastes like whiskey, cocoa, and vanilla, while Amarula is brighter, lighter, and fruity. Both are delicious, I just wouldn’t use them interchangeably.
What Does Amarula Taste Like?
Appearance: Creamy light brown, like coffee with a hefty pour of milk
Nose: Tropical fruit, citrus, cinnamon, and vanilla
Texture: Lush, velvety, and creamy — but not overly thick
Taste: Creamy vanilla, tangy & tropical fruit, toasted nuts, caramel, with a hint of citrus and allspice
Finish: Smooth cream, toasted nuts, and tangy citrus
What To Mix With Amarula
Since it’s a cream liqueur, Amarula is great by itself on the rocks as a post-dinner treat, but it’s also a wonderful cocktail ingredient! Below are some of the most popular mixers/flavors to pair with Amarula.
Tropical fruit juices
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so for more ways to use Amarula and specific recipes, read on my friends!
This espresso martini is creamy, boozy, and packed with coffee flavor! Ingredients are Amarula, bourbon, coffee liqueur, cold brew, and a little bit of simple syrup. Amarula really elevates an espresso martini by adding a luxurious velvety texture, vanilla, and a hint of tangy tropical fruit.
Typically, White Russians are served cold and made with vodka, cream or milk, and coffee liqueur. This recipe stays pretty true to the original, but serves it hot and uses Amarula and coffee in place of coffee liqueur for a brighter, more nuanced take on the classic recipe.
Here's another hot Amarula cocktail that shows a drink doesn't need to be complicated to be absolutely delicious! All you need to make it is Amarula and your favorite hot chocolate mix. Amarula's creamy, nuttiness goes beautifully with any chocolate, so you really can't go wrong here!
What could be better than a boozy adult milkshake!? If you need a decadent frozen cocktail that everyone will fall in love with, this one is absolutely perfect. The four ingredients are coffee ice cream, milk, Amarula, and chocolate syrup to drizzle in the glass. YUM.
The only thing better than an adult milkshake is obviously an adult slushie! This cocktail is basically a pina colada that's perfect for the holidays OR sipping on the beach. That's what we call versatility, ya'll! To make it, you just need frozen pineapple, pineapple juice, coconut milk, Irish whiskey, and Amarula. I'm literally drooling 😂
Here's another recipe that leverages the beautiful pairing that is Amarula and pineapple. Other ingredients are fresh chili and chocolate liqueur, so it's spicy, creamy, chocolatey, and fruity all at once!
While we're on the subject of tasty tropical drinks, I feel like this banana daiquiri came straight out of one of my dreams! It involves making a homemade toasted coconut simple syrup, but don't let that scare you away -- it's actually really easy! Other ingredients are Amarula, white rum, banana liqueur, lime juice, and frozen bananas. Sure, it's a little more involved than most of these other recipes, but PLEASE try it because it is delicious on a whole new level!
This recipe combines some of my favorite winter flavors! Ingredients are chai tea, gingerbread syrup, Amarula, and milk. The chai and ginger bring out the spices in the Amarula, while the Amarula adds a silky texture, vanilla notes, and nuttiness.
The Brandy Alexander is a dessert cocktail made with brandy, crème de cacao, and cream. In this variation, you keep the brandy and cream, but substitute Amarula for crème de cacao for a nuttier, fruitier riff on the classic cocktail.
I'm obsessed with this cocktail -- the fun color, the creative flavors... it's just so unexpected and unique, and manages to be both decadent and super well-balanced. The base of the drink is red wine and Amarula, and otherwise you need chocolate liqueur, raspberry puree, heavy cream, and sugar. I don't really care for Valentine's Day, but if you made me one of these on February 14th, it would be game over 😂
This cocktail is similar to a mudslide, so it's awesome for dessert or whenever you're craving something sweet and boozy! Amarula, Kahlua, and milk are the three ingredients you need to make this simple but delicious drink.
If you're not familiar with Affogato, it's an Italian dessert of gelato topped with espresso. This recipe takes an Affogato to the next level by adding a shot of Amarula on top to make it extra creamy and add a bright, tangy flavor.
This recipe comes right from Amarula's website, so you know it's good! It's also only two ingredients: Amarula and triple sec orange liqueur. The triple sec works amazingly well with Amarula and brings out the more citrusy, tangy flavors of the cream liqueur, while the Amarula adds richness and a silky texture.
Our final recipe also comes from Amarula's site and it is beyond festive! Ingredients include Amarula, vanilla ice cream, and crème de menthe. Perfect for the holidays if you want an easy but impressive peppermint cocktail!
Which of these Amarula cocktails are you psyched to make!? I’ve already whipped up most of these for “research” purposes, but I’m still dying to try the Pink Elephant!
And as always, if you have a favorite Amarula cocktail I need to know about, please let me know in the comment section below so I can check it out 🙂