What Is Frangelico Liqueur?

Production, Substitutions, and Recipes

Frangelico Hazelnut bottle and glass

The Spruce / S&C Design Studios

Frangelico is a popular hazelnut-flavored liqueur that is produced in Italy. Made from an infusion of hazelnuts, the liqueur includes natural flavorings like cocoa and vanilla to give it a complex, delicious taste. It's enjoyed globally and has a regular spot in the bar because it adds a sweet, nutty flavor to a variety of popular 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. The two could even be a substitute for one another in drinks as long as you understand the taste differences.

Amaretto's almond flavoring is subtler than Frangelico's hazelnut. Opening a bottle of Frangelico instantly fills the nose with a bold nuttiness and that follows through to the taste. Amaretto is not as noticeable, with the almond flavor often melting 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-quality liqueur and has a price tag to match. There are a number of other hazelnut-flavored liqueurs available that are at least half the price, though few will match Frangelico's quality. Look for hazelnut from brands like Bartenura, DeKuyper, Francesca, Hiram Walker, and Kahlua. Some craft distilleries may produce this flavor of liqueur and those are worth tasting. It is also rather easy to make your own hazelnut liqueur; adding a little cocoa, vanilla, and coffee to the infusion will create a close replica of Frangelico.

Fast Facts

  • Ingredients: Hazelnut, cocoa, vanilla, coffee
  • Proof: 48
  • ABV: 24%
  • Calories in a shot: 71
  • 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. It is distilled in the Piedmont region of northern Italy from an alcohol and water infusion of the toasted and crushed nuts. Natural flavoring extracts and distillates such as cocoa, coffee, and vanilla are blended into the distillate. It is then blended with pure alcohol, sugar, and water before resting for six to eight weeks in vats so the flavor can marry and mellow. 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. The bottle reflects this heritage, which looks like a glass monk, complete with a rope belt.

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.

How to Drink Frangelico

This liqueur is delicious 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 as well, most commonly dessert cocktails and shooters. 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, it's likely Frangelico is 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 and Frangelico is an excellent choice. It's used in cakes, puddings and custards, sweet glazes, and other desserts. It can also infuse a hazelnut flavor into sweetened whipped cream.

If a single recipe is your only use for Frangelico, it is available in bottles smaller than the standard 750ml. 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, though. A large bottle offers an excuse to bake with it more often.