Tuaca liqueur is based on Brandy and is one of the most popular and bestselling vanilla liqueurs. It has an amber golden color and is flavored with vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and coffee.
The liqueur originated from Tuscany, Italy. Although it's not fully proven, it is said to date back to the 15th century. So, let's have a look at Tuaca liqueur, its history, and products you can use alternatively.
What is Tuaca liqueur?
Tuaca is an Italian Brandy-based liqueur with natural flavorings of vanilla, citrus, herbs, and spices. The liqueur is bottled at 35% ABV and has an amber-golden color.
What does Tuaca liqueur taste like
The aroma of Tuaca is dominated by vanilla, chocolate, and caramel notes.
On the palate, it's a bold combination of vanilla, toffee, and caramel. In the background, you can taste subtle hints of oranges, coffee, and raisins.
This flavor profile makes it a great fit not only for cocktails that ask for vanilla liqueur but also for recipes calling for caramel-flavored liqueur.
How to drink Tuaca liqueur
One common way to drink Tuaca is chilled or on the rocks. But it's also a pretty versatile ingredient in mixed drinks.
Tuaca pairs well with citrus fruits, especially orange, but it also works in combination with Brandy or other dark spirits like Rum and Whiskey.
Alternatives to Tuaca liqueur
The blend of vanilla, caramel, and spices makes Tuaca quite unique in taste. Hence, a plain vanilla liqueur is too one-dimensional and won't replace Tuaca well.
Luckily, some other popular vanilla liqueurs also contain spices for a more complex taste, like Galliano and Licor 43.
Below is a short comparison of Tuaca and either of those Tuaca substitutes.
Tuaca vs. Licor 43
Licor 43 is my favored replacement for Tuaca. Both vanilla liqueurs are sweet, include a mix of herbs and spices, and show hints of citrus.
The most significant difference is that Tuaca is slightly sweeter with notes of caramel and toffee, whereas Licor 43 has a more pronounced herbal note.
Still, in a cocktail, Licor 43 is usually the best alternative to Tuaca. It brings in an intense, sweet vanilla note alongside its complex herbal taste.
Tuaca vs. Galliano
Tuaca and Galliano L'Autentico are both popular vanilla-flavored liqueurs from Italy.
Further, both liqueurs have a dominant vanilla flavor and are flavored with a secret set of spices. The main difference is the secondary flavor.
While Tuaca is rather sweet and shows notes of caramel and chocolate, Galliano's secondary flavor is anise.
Galliano still makes for a good replacement for Tuaca in cocktails. Yet, bear in mind that it will add that spicy, aromatic licorice flavor to your drink.
Ingredients in Tuaca liqueur
The recipe of Tuaca is a secret. However, we do know that the liqueur is based on Brandy and flavored with vanilla, Mediterranean citrus, caramel, and orange essence.
The Brandy base comes from a small Italian town called Anagni. It is actually a blend of Italian Brandies aging for three to ten years.
This blended Brandy is then flavored with a secret mix of ingredients to obtain the characteristic taste of Tuaca.
History of Tuaca liqueur
The roots of Tuaca go way back. As the legend goes, the original recipe of the liqueur dates back to the 1400s. It says that the liqueur once was created in memory of Lorenzo di Medici.
Lorenzo di Medici ruled over Florence, Italy, in the 15th century and was known as a generous supporter of the artists who shaped this remarkable period. Thus, the liqueur recipe has survived more than 500 years.
Also, as mentioned before, the base of the liqueur is Brandy from a small town called Anagni which is close to Rome.
Origin of the name
Furthermore, the name of the liqueur wasn't always Tuaca, though. In the 1930s, the brothers-in-law Gaetano Tuoni and Giorgio Canepa revived the almost forgotten century-old recipe. They named the result a combination of both last names.
International recognition of Tuaca
The second world war was the start of success in the US. American soldiers stationed in Livorno discovered Tuaca and had fallen in love with its sweet and balanced taste.
As they couldn't find anything similar, an importer from San Francisco began bringing the Italian vanilla liqueur into the States in the late 1950s.
Today, Tuaca is a part of the Sazerac Company and is produced in Louisville, Kentucky.
Over time, the brand also tried some different offerings like Tuaca Cinnaster. This cinnamon-flavored liqueur was based on the original Tuaca liqueur but wasn't very successful. Therefore, soon after its release, Cinnaster was discontinued again.
Tuaca liqueur FAQs
Tuaca is a vanilla-flavored liqueur from Tuscany, Italy. Created in honor of Lorenzo di Medici, the original recipe dates back to the 1400s.
Like all liqueurs, Tuaca is sweetened and contains about 10mg of sugar per 1oz.
Tuaca vanilla liqueur is based on Brandy, is gluten-free, and contains 35% ABV.
Tuaca is based on a blend of Italian Brandy aged between 3 - 10 years. It comes from a small town in Italy called Anagni, located just east of Rome.
Tuaca contains 11mg of carbs, mainly sugar, per 1oz of liqueur.
Some similar alternatives to Tuaca are Galliano L'Autentico and Licor 43. Both are vanilla-flavored liqueurs that are flavored with a secret set of herbs and spices.
Tuaca is a Brandy-based liqueur of 70 proof (35% ABV).
1 oz of Tuaca liqueur contains 103 calories.