Creme de cacao is a sweet chocolate liqueur that stars in many classic cocktails! Here’s more about what it is and how to use it in drinks.
It’s sweet, it’s chocolaty and it makes some of the best sweet cocktails in the world. It’s crème de cacao! This liqueur is what sneaks in the chocolate flavor in a Grasshopper and Chocolate Martini: but it’s not something everyone stocks in their liquor stash. Is it worth picking up a bottle? Yes, we think: especially if you love dessert cocktails. Here’s more about it, when to use it, and the most popular cocktails that star this tasty liquor.
What is creme de cacao?
Crème de cacao is a chocolate-flavored liqueur. It’s possibly one of the first alcoholic beverages, made in the 1600’s by monks after cocoa beans were brought back to Europe from America (source).
Does creme de cacao have dairy? Despite what you might think, there’s no dairy at all. The French word “crème” means that it’s a crème liqueur, a liqueur with a high sugar content. It’s available in two varieties: white (or blanc), which is clear, and dark, which is a rich brown color. Each has a distinct flavor.
What does creme de cacao taste like?
White creme de cacao is sweet, with a strong milk chocolate flavor and vanilla notes. The dark variety is sweet with a richer, dark chocolate flavor.
Are there any substitutes? Creme de cacao is a unique liqueur that’s worth seeking out. In a pinch, you could use any type of chocolate liqueur or even Kahlua, though Kahlua is coffee flavored.
Why we like it
Creme de cacao has a beautiful chocolate flavor. It features in popular dessert drinks like the Grasshopper and Brandy Alexander (see below). Made correctly with the classic recipes, these drinks have nuanced, sophisticated flavor…and should not be made with ice cream! (Though if you love boozy milkshakes, we won’t judge.)
How much does it cost?
Compared to other liquors, creme de cacao is mid-priced. One 750 ml bottle costs around $15 to 20. You can find it as cheap as $10, but we recommend opting for a mid-priced brand. Try the brand Drillaud.
Most popular creme de cacao cocktails
Creme de cacao can be drunk straight as a digestif after a meal. It also features in many popular cocktails, most of them sweet cocktails.
It’s glowing green, it’s rich and creamy, and it’s delightfully mint chocolate. Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite: the Grasshopper drink! Turns out, this classic cocktail has more history than you’d expect: it dates back to pre-Prohibition.
History: Invented in New Orleans in 1918 by the owner of the bar Tujague’s
The Brandy Alexander is a creamy, boozy delight. It's equal parts creamy, intriguing, and delicious: a mix of Cognac with creme de cacao.
History: The first printed recipe was in a 1916 cocktail book
Looking for a cocktail to please a chocoholic? Try this Chocolate Martini! This drink is rich and creamy, basically a dessert in a glass.
History: Invented in 1955 by Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor
This chocolate liqueur is also included in the following drinks:
- Bushwacker: Blend it with ice, milk, Kahlua, coconut and rum
- Golden Cadillac: Add Galliano and cream
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
Everyone loves the Grasshopper drink! The classic after-dinner cocktail is electric green with a creamy, mint chocolate flavor using creme de cacao.
- 1 ½ ounces* creme de cacao
- 1 ½ ounces creme de menthe
- 2 ounces heavy cream
- For the garnish: Shaved chocolate (optional)
- Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls of ice and shake until cold.
- Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with shaved chocolate if desired.
*1 ounces = 2 tablespoons
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Creme de cacao
More cocktail guides
Wondering what Campari is? Or St Germain or Chartreuse? Here are a few more guides to cocktail and mixology:
- Guide to Grenadine It’s mistaken as cherry, but this bright syrup has a secret.
- Quick Guide to Cointreau This popular orange liqueur is the best out there.
- Guide to Orange Liqueur All you need to know about this somewhat confusing style of liquor.
- Quick Guide to Chartreuse This pale green liqueur is worth adding to your collection…here’s why.
- Quick Guide to Absinthe This formerly banned liquor is now in good graces.