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Amarula – The Spirit of Africa

Amarula

Debuting in South Africa back in 1983 it is currently available in over 100 countries, second only to Baileys in global cream liqueurs sales.  Wildly popular throughout the rest of the world and yet many here in the United States are only beginning to hear about it.  So what is Amarula?

Amarula is a cream liqueur made from the fruit of the Marula tree which grow in areas of southern and western Africa and Madagascar.

The Marula Fruit –

unripened marula fruit

unripened marula fruit

 

Ripe marula fruit

Ripe marula fruit

 

The marula fruit is an amazing little fruit that is only available a couple months out of the year; the fruit ripens for a few weeks between January and March.  It is packed with vitamin C (8x more than oranges), antioxidants, potassium,oleic acid, and other nutrients.  The seeds are also loaded with proteins and fat (the good kind).  It is prized by the local population for its many medicinal applications and uses in local customs.  The marula tree is considered sacred to many local tribes and is often referred to as The Marriage Tree since its abundance of fruit is a sign of fertility. The marula fruit is also prized by the local wildlife and is also referred to as The Elephant Tree.  

During harvest season the locals of Phalaborwa (in the Limpopo Provence) gathers the marula fruit which grows wildly in the region.  The fruit is processed; the stone is removed and the skin and flesh are mashed into a pulp which is then shipped across country to Stellenbosch.

South Africa map

 

Once in Stellenbosch, the pulp is distilled twice to remove impurities and to concentrate the flavor of the fruit.  The fruit liquor is set in small oak barrels to age.  Aging in oak mellows the spirit and takes on some of the vanilla from the wood.  After a couple years, it is ready to be blended with fresh dairy cream and bottled.

Tasting notes:

Amarula has been described as having fruity caramel flavor.  I prefer to drink it neat at room temp or a bit warmer… it is rich and decadent but to too heavy.  Drinking it warm in a cordial glass just feels right (just my opinion)…however there is nothing wrong with on the rocks.

To me it smells like Brach’s Milk Maid Caramels. It also tastes like caramel with only a whisper of citrus though at first sip the first thing that popped in my mind was flan.  Sweet, creamy, velvety and smooth, Amarula is a wonderful desert liqueur.

Although completely delightful on its own, Amarula really lends itself to mixed drinks.  Here are some cocktails you can make with Amarula Cream.

Amarula Sunset

  • 1 oz. Amarula Cream
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 2-3 teaspoons strawberry puree
  • Fresh strawberry

Blend all ingredients together and put in to a Martini glass.  Garnish with strawberry.

 

Amarula Tusk At Dusk

  • 1 oz. Amarula Cream
  • 1 oz. Chilled espresso
  • 1/2 oz. rum
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier

Combine all ingredients in to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake and strain in to a cocktail glass.

 

Elephants Reverie

  • 1/2 oz. Banana Liqueur
  • 2 oz. Amarula Cream
  • 1 oz. Frangelico
  • 1/2 oz. Cream
  • Pinch of Chocolate (Cocoa) Powder
  • Fresh Cherries

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake rigorously.  Pour into a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Top with a pinch of chocolate powder and fresh cherry.

For more recipes or additional information on Amarula, you can check out their website at amarula.co.za

Xan

Xan

Founder and senior editor of VODA. Cocktailian, Journalist, Traveler, and the next Robin Leach.

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