Licor 43 is a Spanish vanilla liqueur that’s worth adding to your collection! Here’s more about it and the best ways to use it in cocktails.
Here’s a mysterious sounding liqueur that might not sound essential to your liquor cabinet…until you taste it! Licor 43 is a golden-hued Spanish liqueur made with a secret blend of 43 herbs and spices. The flavor is absolutely unique, with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and orange peel. It’s incredible in coffee, and it makes a stellar mixed drink too. We got a bottle to make a Carajillo, and became instant converts. Here’s a little more about this unique liqueur and whether you should add it to your collection.
What is Licor 43?
Licor 43 is a bright yellow, vanilla flavored Spanish liqueur was invented in 1946 by the Zamora family, apparently based on an ancient recipe. It’s also known as Cuarenta Y Tres (43 in Spanish). The name comes from the 43 herbs and botanicals used to make it.
Licor 43 has grown to be the most popular liqueur in Spain, and it’s widely enjoyed throughout Europe. It’s also popular in Mexico, as it’s the signature ingredient in a Carajillo (spiked coffee).
What does Licor 43 taste like?
Licor 43 tastes sweet and aromatic, strongly of vanilla with notes of orange peel, cinnamon, and cocoa. It’s herbal with a very complex finish! It’s perfect in coffee and other mixed drinks.
Are there any substitutes? The closest substitute flavor-wise is Tuaca, an Italian vanilla liqueur with brandy. You also can substitute any vanilla-flavored liqueur. The brand Galliano sells a vanilla liqueur, or you can even use Galliano L’Autentico, the yellow vanilla liqueur used in the Harvey Wallbanger and other classic cocktails.
Why we like it
Licor 43 is vanilla-scented, complex and pairs perfectly with coffee. From the first sip, we were sold! It’s extraordinarily complex in flavor, and it’s so tasty we find ourselves dreaming up new ways to use it. In a word, it’s delicious. (Or, muy delicioso if you’re in Spain.)
How much does it cost?
Compared to other liquors, Licor 43 is mid-priced. It costs $20 to $25 per 750 ml bottle.
Most popular Licor 43 cocktails
You can drink Licor 43 as a shot, mix it coffee (it pairs brilliantly!), or mix it into cocktails. Here are the top Licor 43 cocktails:
Try this Carajillo recipe, a Mexican after dinner drink! The mix of bitter coffee and sweet vanilla notes of Licor 43 is perfection.
- 2 ounces* espresso (or very strong coffee), cooled slightly
- 1 1/2 ounce Licor 43
- Ice, for serving (try clear ice)
- Make the espresso.
- Add ice to lowball. Add the Licor 43 and stir.
- Slowly pour the coffee over a bar spoon into the drink, which will settle on top. Serve immediately.
*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Cocktails
Keywords: Licor 43
More cocktail guides
Here are a few more guides to liqueurs, spirits and mixology:
- Chartreuse Quick Guide This pale green liqueur is worth adding to your collection…here’s why.
- Grenadine Quick Guide It’s mistaken as cherry, but this bright syrup has a secret.
- Galliano Quick Guide Is this bright yellow liqueur worth buying?
- Baileys Quick Guide All the ins and outs of Irish Cream
- Kahlua Quick Guide Learn about this popular Mexican coffee liqueur
- Aperol Quick Guide and Campari Quick Guide All you need to know about these Italian liqueurs.
- Cointreau Quick Guide or Orange Liqueur Quick Guide Citrus liqueurs…broken down.
- Absinthe Quick Guide This formerly banned liquor is now in good graces.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.