Fruit liqueurs are based on a distilled spirit that is flavored with fruits and sweetened with sugar or other sweeteners. The amount of alcohol in fruit liqueurs is typically between 20% to 30% ABV - with some outliners containing less or more.
Liqueurs made from fruits are not only tasty when served neat. They are an integral part of mixology and are used in many cocktail recipes. Just think of classics like Cointreau, Maraschino liqueur, and Blue Curaçao.
What are liqueurs in general?
Liqueurs are alcoholic beverages based on a spirit, sweetened with sugar, and flavored with additional ingredients like nuts, fruits, herbs, flowers, and more.
The base spirit is often a neutral grain spirit, but it could also be any other type of liquor. Brandy (Grand Marnier), Rum (Rum Chata), and Whiskey (Baileys) are just a few examples of this.
There are many different categories of liqueurs and the lines between these are often fluid. There are:
- Coffee liqueurs
- Cream liqueurs Baileys
- Crème liqueurs like Crème de Violette, Crème de chocolat, and many more
- Fruit liqueurs
- Floral liqueurs like Italicus or St Germain
- Herbal liqueurs
- Amaro liqueurs: this is actually a subtype of herbal liqueurs
- Nut liqueurs like Amaretto and Frangelico
Top fruit liqueurs
Here is our list of fruit liqueurs, from classic cocktail ingredients like Cointreau and Blue Curaçao to popular digestifs like Ginja and Limoncello.
Produced by: Rémy Cointreau
ABV: 40% (80 proof)
Fruit: Bitter orange
Cointreau is a Triple Sec and my go-to option for Margaritas. The colorless, orange-flavored liqueur is a staple in bars and packs quite a punch at 40% ABV.
In return for the high amount of alcohol, Cointreau contains very little sugar for a liqueur. That results in a dry and bittersweet taste of orange.
The fruits used to make this liqueur are green-skinned, bitter oranges. Only the sundried peels of these fruits are used to bring the unique bitter-orange flavor into Cointreau.
Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
Produced by: Marnier Lapostolle
ABV: 35% (UK) - 40% (US) (70 - 80 proof)
Fruit: (bitter) orange
Grand Marnier, or Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge as the product is called correctly, is another orange-flavored liqueur from France. But other than Cointreau, Grand Marnier is not a classic Triple Sec.
Instead, Grand Marnier is a cross between Triple Sec and Curaçao liqueur based on Cognac. Tastewise, it is comparable to Cointreau but has a richer and more intense flavor profile due to its Cognac base.
The orange liqueur is a popular substitute for Triple Sec in cocktails. It brings more complexity to the drink and adds warmer notes like vanilla, toffee, and nuts.
Produced by: Brown Forman
ABV: 16.5% (33 proof)
Chambord is a relatively young product released only in 1980. This sweet and intensely fruity liqueur is made from red and black raspberries.
Like Grand Marnier, Chambord is French and also based on Cognac. Yet, Chambord is a lot sweeter and less alcoholic. Containing only 16.5% ABV, it doesn't even bring in half the amount of Grand Marnier.
It's great in combination with Champagne in a Kir Imperial and in classic cocktail recipes like the Bramble or French Martini.
Produced by: Luxardo
Origin: Zadar, Croatia, now Italy
ABV: 32% (64 proof)
Fruit: Marasca cherries
This fruity cherry liqueur from Luxardo is another popular ingredient in cocktails. The fruits used to make this liqueur are marasca cherries. This type of cherry is small, of dark red color, and tastes super sour.
Maraschino liqueur is clear-colored with a bittersweet taste of cherries and hints of almonds. You can drink it neat, but it's best used in a classic Aviation cocktail or in a Martinez.
Besides Luxardo, there are other brands that also produce excellent Maraschino. But Luxardo's is by far the bestselling brand.
Heering Cherry liqueur
Produced by: DeKuyper
ABV: 24% (48 proof)
Heering cherry liqueur is one of the most popular cherry liqueurs in the world. The sweet fruit liqueur is still produced after the traditional family recipe.
Heering cherry liqueur has an intense yet natural cherry flavor. You can compare it to a cross between cherry jam and plum jam. The aftertaste also includes hints of almonds that derive from the cherry stones.
The liqueur is sweet, fruity, and super easy to drink. However, it's rarely consumed neat. The better way to use it is in cocktails like the Singapore Sling or Blood & Sand.
Ginja or Ginjinha
Produced by: Various producers
Origin: Lisbon, Portugal
ABV: around 18% - 25% (36 to 50 proof)
Fruit: Ginja berries aka Morello cherry
Price: $10 - $20
Ginjinha, also called Ginja, is a traditional Portuguese fruit liqueur made from Ginja berries, also known as Morello cherries.
To make Ginja, the cherries are soaked in aguardente and flavored with spices like cloves and cinnamon.
This tasty liqueur is very popular in Lisbon and the Algarve region. If you're there, try it in a Ginjinha bar, like Ginjinha Espinheira, Ginjinha Sem Rival, or Ginjinha Rubi.
Ginja is best served neat and meant to be sipped. That way, you can best enjoy the flavor and aroma of this delicate liqueur. However, lately, Ginja is also often used in mixed drinks.
You can find all kinds of twists on classics like Ginja Margaritas, Ginja Mojitos, or even Ginja Old Fashioned cocktails.
Produced by: Various producers
Introduced: Early 1900s
ABV: around 30% (60 proof)
Price: $14 - $25
Limoncello is a citrussy fruit liqueur commonly served as a digestif in Italy. It's made from a specific type of lemon mostly harvested on the Amalfi coast or on the island of Capri.
This sweet, fruity, and tangy liqueur typically contains between 20% - 35% vol. On average, a bottle of good Limoncello should cost you about $20.
Drinking it neat and chilled is, by far, the most common way to consume Limoncello. However, you can also use it in cocktails as a creative way to sweeten a drink.
Midori Melon liqueur
Produced by: Suntory
ABV: 20 - 21% depending on the country (40 -42 proof)
Fruit: Musk Melon & Yubari
Midori Melon liqueur was a star in the 80s. You could find it in every bar as its vibrant green color and unique taste perfectly fit the vibe of 80s cocktails.
Even today, this melon liqueur has no real competition. Whenever you find a drink on a bar menu made with melon liqueur, chances are high that Midori is part of the drink.
The flavors come from two different fruits, the Yubari fruit (or melon) and musk melons. Together they combine for a sweet and subtle taste of melons.
Giffard Premium Banane du Brésil
Produced by: Giffard & Cie
ABV: 25% (50 proof)
Giffard's Banane du Brésil is just one of many excellent banana liqueurs. It's produced by slowly macerating bananas to capture the flavors and aroma of the fruits perfectly.
Blended with a bit of Cognac, the liqueur is see-through with a bright yellow color. The savor is dominated by bananas with a hint of vanilla.
Yet, you can also make banana liqueur at home. Check out this recipe to make a Rum-based banana liqueur with whole fruits.
Produced by: Diageo
ABV: 20% (40 proof)
Fruit: Papaya, mango, passionfruit
Safari is a sweet and tropical liqueur made from a variety of fruits. Besides papaya, mango, and passionfruit, you can also taste citrus fruits like lemon or lime.
The liqueur contains 20% ABV and is produced in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It's a perfect addition to a glass of sparkling wine but works even better in tropical fruit cocktails.
Produced by: Various producers
Origin: Flanders & Netherlands
Introduced: 18th century
ABV: 15% - 40% (30 - 80 proof)
Fruit: Laraha orange / bitter orange
Price: $10 to $35
Blue Curaçao is a popular orange-flavored liqueur famous for its use in bright blue cocktails. In its natural form, the liqueur is colorless. So, to achieve the iconic blue color, artificial coloring is added.
The taste of Blue Curaçao is comparable to Triple Sec. It has an intense orange flavor with bittersweet notes. In comparison, it is slightly less sweet and more bitter than Triple Sec.
Passoa Passion fruit liqueur
Produced by: Passoã SAS
ABV: 14.9% - 20% depending on country
Fruit: Passion fruit
Passoã is a very fruit-forward liqueur made with Brazilian passion fruit juice. The red liquid comes in a black bottle and clocks in at 20% in the US. In the UK and other European countries, it's bottled at 17%, and some countries sell it with 14.9% ABV.
The taste of Passoã is very, very sweet and full of fruity flavors. Passion fruit is dominant, but you can also taste other fruits like oranges and even hints of cherry.
Because the liqueur is so sweet, it's most suitable for mixing cocktails. The most popular drink that relies on Passoã is the Porn Star Martini. This famous creation by Douglas Ankrah is one of the most sold cocktails in the UK.