Restaurants and bars are seeing a surge in sales of cream liqueurs, both as components in cocktails and as after-dinner drinks.
“Beyond the fact that we are in the cold months and customers crave cream liqueurs in their coffee or on the rocks, we are seeing an increasing trend in cream liqueurs because of the new wave of vintage cream-based cocktails made new again,” says Lauren Parton, bartender at Vol. 39 in Chicago’s The Kimpton Gray Hotel. “Pink squirrels, grasshoppers and mudslides are creeping their way back into the mainstream. These cocktails are fun, delicious and easy [for bartenders] to add their own small spin.”
The selection of cream liqueurs, which for many years revolved around two big brands—an Irish cream liqueur and a creamy rum-based spirit—now includes a new crop of products from craft distillers. These artisanal cream liqueurs come in an expanded flavor palate, including variations infused with maple, butter pecan and Indian spices.
Here’s how three operators are menuing these spirits in inventive cocktails and on drinks lists.