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Here’s how to make the Pink Squirrel drink! This retro after dinner cocktail recipe is classy and tastes like melted ice cream.

Pink squirrel
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When it comes to retro cocktails, there’s no after dinner drink more unique than the Pink Squirrel! This candy colored drink is a total indulgence. Creme de noyaux liqueur gives it the delicate pink color and an almond essence. It’s a bit of a specialty splurge, since it’s not used in lots of other drinks. But take one sip, and it tastes like nostalgia and melted ice cream! We weren’t sure if it would be worth it, but the Pink Squirrel won us over. You can also make it as a boozy milkshake with vanilla ice cream. Here’s how to make both versions!

What’s in a Pink Squirrel?

The Pink Squirrel drink is a light pink after dinner drink made with two special liqueurs (creme de noyaux, and creme de cacao), and heavy cream. It was invented in the 1940’s in at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee, and often served at Wisconsin supper clubs in the 1950’s, just like its cousin drink the Grasshopper. These supper clubs were known for serving boozy milkshake cocktails, so there’s also a popular version of the recipe with ice cream. The classic Pink Squirrel drink is equal parts of these three ingredients:

  • Crème de noyaux
  • Crème de cacao
  • Heavy cream

The simplicity in the ingredients makes the Pink Squirrel an after dinner drink that’s similar to the Grasshopper, Brandy Alexander and even the Mudslide. Let’s talk more about the special liqueurs, shall we?

Pink Squirrel drink

What is crème de noyaux?

The most unique ingredient in the Pink Squirrel cocktail recipe is crème de noyaux. You absolutely need it here to make a proper Pink Squirrel, so don’t even think about a substitute! Here’s more about this intriguing liqueur:

  • Creme de noyaux is red-colored almond liqueur most well-known for its use in the Pink Squirrel. But it’s not made of almonds! It’s made with the kernels of apricots, peaches, or cherries, which give it an almond-like flavor.
  • What does creme de noyaux taste like? Creme de noyaux tastes nutty, a little like amaretto, but with a syrupy sweet almond finish.
  • How much does creme de noyaux cost? It costs about $15 to $20 for a lower quality 750 ml bottle (Hiram Walker or Bols). We bought higher end Tempus Fugit, which is $40 for a 750 ml bottle. Tempus Fugit uses the craft original way to make this liqueur, using cochineal dyes for the red color (read: insects!).
  • Is it worth buying? Well, only if you want to make a Pink Squirrel! You can use it to make a cocktail called the Old Etonian, but there aren’t many other popular cocktails that use it.
Creme de noyaux

What’s creme de cacao?

The other unique ingredient in a Pink Squirrel? Creme de cacao! This one is used in several other after dinner cocktails, and lends a chocolate nuance to the flavor. Here’s what to know about this tasty liqueur:

  • Creme de cacao is a cocoa bean flavored liqueur, available in both white (clear) and dark varieties. It has a long history: 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).
  • What does creme de cacao taste like? Creme de cacao has a sweet, milk chocolate flavor, with notes of vanilla.
  • How much does creme de cacao cost? It costs between $10 to $20 for a 750 ml bottle.
  • Is it worth buying? Yes! Use it to make creme de cacao cocktails like a GrasshopperChocolate MartiniBrandy Alexander or Bushwacker.

Variation: make a frozen Pink Squirrel!

Often the Pink Squirrel is served frozen: like a boozy milkshake! Some sources say that Pink Squirrel was actually invented first as an ice cream drink (though with most classic drinks start the other way around). Were you looking for the frozen version? Here’s what to do:

  • Substitute 2 scoops of ice cream for the heavy cream.
  • Blend in a blender until combined!

You may want to double or quadruple this Pink Squirrel cocktail recipe for a crowd. To serve 4, use ½ cup each of creme de cacao and creme de noyaux, and 8 scoops ice cream.

Pink squirrel cocktail

There are several retro after dinner drinks that are similar to the Pink Squirrel! Make them all…especially if you have extra heavy cream on hand. Here’s the basic outline of each of these classics:

When to serve a Pink Squirrel

The Pink Squirrel is a dessert cocktail that’s great for dinner parties, Valentine’s Day, or just anytime you need a pink drink! Try it as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Signature drink
  • Dessert cocktail
  • Valentine’s Day cocktail
  • Girls or guys night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
Pink squirrel recipe
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Pink squirrel cocktail

The Pink Squirrel

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Here’s how to make the Pink Squirrel drink! This retro after dinner cocktail recipe is classy and tastes like melted ice cream.


  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) creme de noyaux
  • 1 ounce white creme de cacao
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • For the garnish: grated nutmeg, coktail cherry (optional)


  1. Place the creme de noyaux, white creme de cacao, and heavy cream in a cocktail shaker. Add 1 handful of ice and shake vigorously until cold.
  2. Frozen variation: Substitute 2 scoops vanilla ice cream for the heavy cream and blend until smooth.
  4. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg and cocktail cherry.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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