What Is Frangelico Liqueur?

Production, Substitutions, and Recipes

Frangelico Hazelnut bottle and glass

The Spruce Eats / S&C Design Studios

Frangelico is the brand name for a popular Italian hazelnut-flavored liqueur. Made from an infusion of toasted hazelnuts, the liqueur includes natural flavorings like cocoa and vanilla to give it a complex, delicious taste. It's enjoyed globally (particularly in the United States and Spain) and has a regular spot in the bar because it adds a sweet, nutty flavor to a variety of cocktails.

Frangelico vs. Amaretto

Frangelico and amaretto are the most popular nut-flavored liqueurs. They're comparable in color and used in similarly styled cocktails. In drinks, the two can be used as substitutes for one another as you understand the difference in flavors.

Amaretto's almond taste is more subtle than Frangelico's hazelnut. Opening a bottle of Frangelico immediately fills the nose with a bold nuttiness that follows through to the taste. Amaretto is not as noticeable, and the almond flavor often melts into the sweet background. The additional flavorings in Frangelico also make it more complex, where amaretto is one-dimensional. Choosing a quality amaretto is key if you want to match the refined taste of Frangelico.

Substitutions

Frangelico is a premium liqueur and has a price tag to match. There are a number of other hazelnut-flavored liqueurs from brands like Bartenura, DeKuyper, Francesca, Hiram Walker, and Kahlua, and many are at least half the price. Few will match Frangelico's quality, and most lack the extra flavors. Some craft distilleries produce this flavor of liqueur, and those are worth tasting as well. It is also relatively easy to make your hazelnut liqueur with raw or toasted hazelnuts; adding a little cocoa, vanilla, and coffee to the infusion will create a close replica of Frangelico.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: Hazelnut, cocoa, vanilla, coffee, alcohol
  • Proof: 48
  • ABV: 24%
  • Calories in a 1 1/2-ounce shot: 106
  • Origin: Italy
  • Taste: Sweet, nutty
  • Aged: Flavor married for 6 to 8 weeks
  • Serve: Straight, chilled, on the rocks, cocktails, shots

What Is Frangelico Made From?

Frangelico is a pale gold-colored liqueur made of Tonda Gentile hazelnuts. Produced in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, Frangelico begins by infusing crushed toasted hazelnuts in alcohol and water. The infusion is distilled then blended with natural flavoring extracts and distillates that include cocoa, coffee, and vanilla. The liqueur is finished by blending the flavored distillate with pure alcohol, sugar, and water and rests for six to eight weeks in vats to marry and mellow the flavor. Frangelico is bottled at 24 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 48 proof).

Frangelico remains the premier hazelnut liqueur. Its origins go back over 300 years to the Christian monks who inhabited the Piedmont area of Italy. The name Frangelico is derived from one of those monks, Fra. Angelico, and the bottle, which looks like a glass monk complete with a rope belt, reflects this heritage. In 2010, the Campari Group acquired the Frangelico brand.

What Does Frangelico Taste Like?

Frangelico is one of the nuttiest liqueurs you will find, both in aroma and taste. It has a nice balance of sweet richness and hazelnut flavor, while the cocoa, coffee, and vanilla add delightful background flavors.

Where to Buy Frangelico

Frangelico is widely distributed and available in about 50 markets globally. As a well-known brand, it's rather easy to find on the top shelf among cordials in most liquor stores. If a single recipe is your only use for Frangelico, it is available in bottles smaller than the standard 750-milliliter. However, these can be hard to find, and not every liqueur store will have them in stock. Frangelico does have a long shelf life of at least a year, and a large bottle offers an excuse to explore more ways to use it.

How to Drink Frangelico

Frangelico is a delicious liqueur to drink on its own. It's commonly served neat, chilled, over ice, with a twist of lime, or topped with soda or tonic. You can also add a shot to a cup of coffee for a nutty sweetener. It appears in a variety of drink recipes, most commonly dessert cocktails and shooters, and Frangelico's a good pairing for brandy, whiskey, and vodka. Berries, such as the raspberry liqueur Chambord, are a favorite contrast to the hazelnut in drinks.

Cocktail Recipes

Generally, if a cocktail name alludes to nuts or monks, Frangelico is likely a key ingredient. It's used in martinis, lowballs, and plenty of shot recipes.

Cooking With Frangelico

On occasion, you will find food recipes that include a hazelnut liqueur, including akes, puddings and custards, sweet glazes, and other desserts. Frangelico is an excellent choice for any of these and an interesting choice when you want to infuse hazelnut flavor into sweetened whipped cream.