So, you’re saddled with: Frangelico

Well everyone, it’s that holly jolly time of year when retailers have fully committed to Christmas.  The decorations are up, the music is playing, and the affordable presents have started to pop up over at the old liquor store.

C’mon, you know the ones — we’ve all bought them, the boxed gift sets with a bottle of something-or-other that comes with an etched glass, or wee little coffee cups, or sometimes an additional smaller bottle-of-something-else.  They’re perfectly priced for Secret Santa proceedings, quick purchases to bring to office parties, or gifts for people who you don’t actually know well enough to try shopping for but who are too important to re-gift crap from last year.

Unfortunately, the day will come when you are that non-recyclable person, and that means eventually you’ll be on the receiving end of some baffling gift set you have no conceivable use for.  Paired bottles of low-cost South African wine?  Sure, there’s always a depressing Wednesday night waiting for those.  But a Jagermeister gift set with themed shot glasses?  A flavored Uzo bundle?  Extra large Greek beers with frosted mug?

What the hell are you going to do with those?

Rest easy:  Even the weirdest or most arbitrary liquors can be put to productive use, turning your token present into an actual gift.   The Choosy Beggars are here to show you how, starting with…


Yes, Frangelico.

Second only to Bailey’s, I have never seen a liqueur more commonly stored and less frequently opened than Frangelico.  It’s as though everyone I know has a bottle tucked away somewhere, and not a single one of them has an idea of what to do with it.

So I probed at this omnipresent, rarely-used booze, and was surprised by the questions I got back:  Is it for shots?  Do you put it in cocktails?  Are you supposed to sip it?  What does it… you know, taste like?

Clearly, there’s opportunity here.  First, the basics:

  • Frangelico is an Italian hazelnut liqueur, flavored with cocoa and vanilla beans
  • It pours out with a golden yellow color, with a slightly syrupy but thin consistency
  • It’s about 56 proof, or 28% alcohol by volume, meaning it can be sipped straight in comfort

All of which can be boiled down to the fact that you have a nut-flavored, sweet liqueur of moderate strength in your cupboard.  You simply need the inspiration to use it.  To put it another way:  You have strong booze that tastes like chocolate-covered nut candy.  Why aren’t you drinking it right now?

Okay, okay, perhaps a little guidance is in order.  Let’s look at some applications.

The Shot


Chocolate Cake

  • 1/2 ounce Frangelico
  • 1/2 ounce Vodka
  • Lemon & Sugar Garnish

Coat lemon a wedge with sugar, and set it aside.  Add liquid ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake to chill, and then pour into a shot glass.  Shoot the shot and then immediately bite and suck the sugar coated lemon.

Having personally tried this a couple of times (then taken a few minutes to recover the ability to type), this takes what’s nice about Frangelico and adds a bit of jet fuel to it.  And even though you’re finishing sugar with even more sugar, the citric acid cuts through the nutty-sweetness to balance everything out.

Plus, it’s called chocolate cake.  Girls will try it!

The Cocktail


Nuts & Berries

  • 1 oz. Frangelico
  • 1 oz. Framboise
  • 1 tumbler glass with ice

Add Frangelico to glass first, and then layer Framboise over top.  Stir gently to mix the flavors together.  Can be served straight up, or best over the rocks.

This takes the nutty-candy flavor of the liqueur and balances it out with the tangy sweetness of raspberry, in the kind of cocktail that you really want to take your time with.  Thick and hefty, this is one to sip in front of someplace warm, hiding from someplace cold.

Also, let us muse for a moment on the comedic potential:

  • “Hey, I notice you’re really savoring my nuts and berries.
  • “Mind that you don’t shake my nuts and berries!  They really prefer to be… stirred.”
  • “Be careful with my nuts and berries!  You nearly spilled them everywhere.”

…aaaaand so on.  It’s the drink that keeps on giving.

The Stealth Drink

Oh heck, coffee.  C’mon.  Frangelico is tastier than Sweet ‘n’ Low and a better way to kick off the day than non-dairy-creamer, and you know it.


An ounce of Frangelico in a cup of coffee will add punch and chase away those awful, awful throbbing reminders of Saturday nights well-spent.  You can get enterprising and add whipped cream, chocolate, Chambord or whatever you please — but coffee and hazelnut are a natural pairing, and one you can’t resist.

More importantly, it should give you all kinds of ideas on what else you can be doing with this sudden, random and surprising bottle shaped like a monk with a wee bit of rope around it.  Just because you’ve never had a use for Frangelico before doesn’t mean there aren’t any!  You only need to embrace your sweet tooth, brace your liver, and get a little imaginative.

Better that than — Good God — giving it to someone else.

  • MAL

    And, of course, if you’ve got both bottles wasting away in your cupboard, there’s always the Nutty Irishman (a bit of Frangelico, some Baileys, maybe some cream). Kill two birds with one stone!

  • floretbroccoli

    My Frangelico use: I take a delicious pound cake recipe (Rose Levy Beranbaum’s), and add chopped, roasted hazelnuts to the batter. When I take the cake out of the oven I paint it with a syrup made from Frangelico. I serve the cake accompanied by some chocolate-hazelnut truffles. (Those may get some Frangelico in ’em, too.)

  • Louise Harvey

    Just Frangelico and lime, over an ice cube or two, is delicious!

  • Molly

    Vanilla vodka + Frangelico + 1 packet of Sweet & Low + a dash of cranberry juice for color = a drink that tastes EXACTLY like cake. Seriously. Cake.

  • lo

    Bailey’s? Stored?
    Not over my dead body. Bailey’s is for drinking my friend. Every night until it’s gone 🙂

    The Frangelico… eh, we don’t have too much trouble getting rid of that either. Seems we
    make “cabin coffee” with it on the weekend 🙂

    Should I be admitting this??!!

  • Tina

    Did I mention that all of those suggestions sound delightful? I also covet my Frangelico, and welcome it into the cupboard with open arms. My favorite way to drink Frangelico is… milk. It used to be a shot of Franny in a glass of milk, but now they end up getting mixed pretty much 50/50….or sometimes 60/40….

  • Tom Stephens

    Have you noticed the NEW label? “Product of Italy” as opposed to “Original Hazelnut Liqueur”? Have you noticed the NEW taste? Something akin to syrup. C&C group has destroyed the product. Before you ivest heavily this season on cooking or serving, better check it out. NOT the Frangelico we grew up with!!!

  • Cherie

    Just strong coffee, Frangelico, whipping cream (no I didn’t say skim milk or half-and-half, shhhh) and a mug.

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