Pink Squirrel Cocktail Recipe

Pink Squirrel Cocktail in a glass

The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
273 Calories
17g Fat
17g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 273
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 11g 54%
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 13mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 51mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The pink squirrel is a creamy pink cocktail with a tempting flavor of almond and chocolate. It is fun, it is cute, but it is not as popular as it once was.

It is said that the pink squirrel was created in the early 1940s at a cocktail lounge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Some liken it to an adult milkshake; in parts of the Upper Midwest, it's made with vanilla ice cream. The sweet taste and pink color made it a very popular cocktail for a few decades. However, as we progressed past the '70s, it lost a lot of its creamy charm.

This is an easy recipe and, honestly, you may have a harder time finding crème de noyaux than anything else. This almond-flavored crème liqueur is red in color, making this drink's pretty pink color. Crème de noyaux is not as popular as it was, and the pink squirrel is one of the few drinks to use it, leaving little incentive for liquor producers to make it.

Also, if you don't have heavy cream, don't worry. A lighter cream or milk will do just fine for this creamy cocktail, though the drink will lose some of its thick texture. For some drinkers, that's not a bad thing.

The pink squirrel is not going to be a cocktail for everyone, especially the way our modern palates have evolved. It was fun in its heyday, and it will make a great option on a throwback cocktail menu. It's definitely a conversation starter.


  • 3/4 ounce crème de noyaux liqueur

  • 3/4 ounce white crème de cacao liqueur

  • 1 1/2 ounces heavy cream

  • freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pink squirrel cocktail recipe ingredients in glasses and a bowl

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

    Pour the pink squirrel cocktail ingredients into a cocktail shaker

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  3. Shake well.

    shake the cocktail shaker

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    Straining the cocktail from a shaker into a glass

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  5. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

    Pink Squirrel Cocktail in a cocktail glass

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Recipe Variations

If you find the rare bottle of crème de noyaux today, it is probably something similar to Hiram Walker's and flavored artificially. Bols does make a crème de noyaux that is made from apricot kernels. Either is a good option if your local liquor store stocks it.

Barring that, there are two elements of crème de noyaux that you can duplicate if you can't find the real deal: the taste or the color. Unless you make your own, it is nearly impossible to get both in your pink squirrel. We have listed potential substitutes for this liqueur below:

  • Amaretto: Crème de noyaux is like amaretto. Both liqueurs have the same almond flavor despite the fact that neither is made from almonds. Instead, crème de noyaux is made from the pits (or stones) of apricots, peaches, plums, and other "stone" fruits. Noyaux is French for "stone" or "kernel," so the name makes sense. If you use amaretto, the almond flavor will be nearly the same, but the drink will be a milky brown color. To get the pink color, a drop of food coloring in the cocktail shaker will do.
  • Grenadine: If all you want is the plush pink color, use grenadine in place of the crème de noyaux. The fruity chocolate flavor is delicious, but it is entirely different than the almond-chocolate the pink squirrel was designed for.


Beyond popularity, there are other issues surrounding crème de noyaux. One that scares many drinkers away is the cyanide potential. There is a compound in the noyaux that turns into hydrogen cyanide when digested. The majority of the time, the quantities are too small to be harmful and nothing to worry about. It is, however, something to be aware of.

Crème de Noyaux Facts

  • Bright red, almond-flavored liqueur made from the kernels of apricots and other stone fruits.
  • Sometimes spelled crème de noyau.
  • Pronounced: km de not-yew.
  • 24 to 30 percent alcohol by volume (48 to 60 proof).

How Strong Is the Pink Squirrel?

The pink squirrel is a gentle, low-proof cocktail. If we were to choose a 48-proof option for both liqueurs, this drink would weigh in at just 10 percent ABV (20 proof).