What Is Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur?

Production, Substitutions, and Recipes

Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

The Spruce Eats / Colleen Graham

Chambord is the brand name for a famous French black raspberry liqueur with a cognac base. This premium spirit is enjoyed worldwide as a fruity staple in the modern bar because it's essential in several favorite cocktails. Its sweet, raspberry flavor and deep purple color make it an excellent addition to a variety of drinks, including cocktails like the French martini. You can also drink Chambord straight, whether slightly chilled or on the rocks, or topped with your favorite sparkling beverage.

Substitutions

As a premium liqueur, Chambord is a bit expensive, and there are cheaper alternatives. Several companies produce raspberry liqueur, though most don't have the extra flavors that add to Chambord's complex taste. You can also use crème de cassis (blackcurrant) or crème de mûre (blackberry) as substitutes. The drink's flavor will change slightly with either, and these are sweeter, so reducing a cocktail's sweetener may be necessary to maintain a balanced drink. Alternatively, raspberry syrup is a nonalcoholic substitute that is great in drinks, or you can make raspberry liqueur at home with a few common ingredients.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: Raspberries, blackberries, black currants, vanilla, citrus peel, honey, cognac, other spirits
  • Proof: 33
  • ABV: 16.5%
  • Calories in a 1 1/2-ounce shot: 94
  • Origin: Loire Valley, France
  • Taste: Slightly sweet berries
  • Serve: straight, on the rocks, cocktails, shots

What Is Chambord Made From?

Chambord is a naturally-flavored raspberry liqueur produced in the Loire Valley, south of Paris, France. Officially named Chambord Liqueur Royale de France, it is based on a 17th-century recipe that's said to have been served to King Louis XIV at the famous estate, Château de Chambord. Thanks to American Norton "Sky" J. Cooper, who inherited his father's liquor company, Charles Jacquin et Cie, the sweet raspberry liqueur was revived in the late 1900s. Launched under the Chambord name in 1981, the brand was purchased in 2006 by Kentucky-based Brown-Forman.

Making Chambord requires a double infusion of whole raspberries, blackberries, and black currants in French spirits. Each round lasts for several weeks, and the fruits are also pressed for their juice. To complete the process, the berry-infused spirit is blended with blackberry, raspberry, Madagascar vanilla, and Moroccan citrus peel extracts, as well as XO cognac, honey, and spices (cinnamon, clove, and ginger). Once finished, the liqueur is bottled at a relatively mild 16.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 33 proof).

Chambord's bottle design is instantly recognizable. The stout orb is adorned with a golden lid and branded band around the middle. Initially, the bottle was far more elaborate, with a crown-shaped cap and gilded plastic band connected to the neck. As beautiful as it was, bartenders often removed it because the plastic either broke or hindered the quick pour needed in busy bars. The simpler design minimized the cap and embedded the gold band into the bottle, clearly showcasing the brand name in a sleek, modern typeface.

What Does Chambord Taste Like?

Chambord has a rich, semi-sweet, and intense berry flavor. Even though it has vibrant color and fruit ingredients, it is not overly sweet, and the vanilla and citrus peel taste is present. It has a velvety mouthfeel that makes it even more delicious.

Chambord Liqueur
 The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

How to Drink Chambord

Drinking Chambord on its own is a lovely experience and makes a quick low-proof drink. It's best in a chilled glass or on the rocks, though a splash of cold seltzer or sparkling wine is also a great addition. However, this liqueur is best known for its versatility as a drink mixer.

Due to its popularity, when a cocktail calls for a raspberry liqueur, Chambord is almost always the first choice. It is also the key ingredient in several popular cocktails, including many martinis that rely on its sweet raspberry flavor. Chambord is most often paired with vodka, though it's also excellent with gin, rum, and tequila. It mixes well with other liqueurs, a variety of fruits and is a brilliant companion to sparkling wine and soda. You'll also find it in several sweet and creamy dessert cocktails.

Cocktail Recipes

From simple to complicated, there are many recipes that make fantastic use of Chambord. Use it in drinks that call for this brand specifically, or to replace other raspberry liqueurs or raspberry syrup.

How to Store Chambord

Chambord's shelf-life can extend to years when unopened if the bottle is stored in a cool place out of direct light. Once opened, drink the liqueur within six months to a year and keep the bottle sealed. If exposed to too much air, Chambord will oxidize and get an orangish-brown color. That, and any signs of sugar crystallization, is a good sign that it's time to replace the bottle.