Berry liqueurs, packed with sweet, concentrated flavor, are often relegated to cocktails as a supporting ingredient. A prime example of such behavior is the classic cassis-tinged Kir Royale. But it’s high time these brightly hued liqueurs get their time in the spotlight. Particularly with the examples from producers both young and long established, it’s a great time to explore what’s on offer. These berry liqueurs need no accompaniment and are the perfect finale to a feast. Here’s how you can have your fruit salad and drink it too.
Made in Langley, WA, this blackberry liqueur looks to the area’s abundance of wild blackberries for inspiration. It employs Black Diamond blackberries, which are infused in brandy distilled from grapes that are grown within the state. Whidbey Distillery, which opened in 2009, also makes a liqueur from loganberries, a blackberry-raspberry hybrid.
Made by famed French cognac house Maison Ferrand, this liqueur uses three kinds of raspberries with varying color intensity and flavor to achieve its lively character. The brightly colored Lloyd George berries hail from Scotland. Meanwhile, the aromatic Rosé de Plombières and Violette de Boux are both grown in Burgundy. A blend of these berries is first pureed and then infused into distillate to extract as much flavor as possible. It’s then strained and blended with water and sugar before the liqueur is ultimately bottled at 18% ABV.
Though you’re more likely to find blueberries packed into baked goods or blended into smoothies, this fruit works wonders when channeled into a liqueur. Vermont Distillery, makers of the Metcalfe line of liqueurs, makes this berry liqueur by blending its 100% corn vodka with juices from wild Maine blueberries. It’s just one in the distillery’s line of appealing liqueurs, which also includes raspberry, peach, and maple flavors.
A French producer that’s been around for more than a century, Giffard is known for its wide range of fruit and spice liqueurs. This particular offering is made from wild strawberries infused in spirit and bottled at a mild 16% ABV. What it lacks in alcohol, however, it makes up for with the familiar aroma and flavor of jammy and slightly tart strawberries. Furthermore, it has a pleasing color that’s akin to the deep hue of in-season berries.
Chicago’s Apologue prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients that exhibit regional flavors. A type of Midwest-native chokeberry, the deep purple aronia takes the lead here, and is bolstered by the addition of raspberries and cherries—hence its bright ruby color. A blend of lavender, rosehip and cinnamon are among other ingredients used here. It’s sweetened with the addition of organic cane sugar to allow drinkers to fully enjoy its vibrant personality.