Here Are 5 Unusual Liqueurs To Add To Your Fall Cocktail Bar

We all have the standards in our home bars - elderflower, ginger, orange, even ancho chile. But when it comes to liqueurs, the more the merrier. Try these handcrafted options next time you are looking to add a little something different to your cocktail repertoire.

Forbes, by Claudia Alarcón


Chicago mixologist Robby Haynes created this exciting line of liqueurs, made with responsibly sourced, non-GMO ingredients and organic cane sugar, in flavors like celery root, Aronia (an indigenous berry used by Native American cultures), persimmon and the newly released saffron.

The Apologue family of liqueurs

The Apologue family of liqueurs includes Persimmon, Celery Root, and Aronia, an indigenous berry… [+]


“Each one of our versatile liqueurs is a labor of love,” says Haynes. “We use only all-natural ingredients and list them all on the back of the bottle. Once we settle on a primary ingredient and find a high integrity producer, the creative process begins.” He starts by tasting it raw, then cooked, and then he makes teas and tinctures. He researches the main ingredient’s culinary and cultural significance and revisits it for days, sometimes weeks. Then he begins searching for complimentary fruits, roots, herbs and barks to round out the flavor profiles.

Saffroen cocktail

The new addition to the Apologue line-up, Saffron, boasts a gorgeous color and a strong nose and palate of the coveted spice.

“When sipped straight or over ice our liqueurs are expressive, nuanced and dance across the palate, telling a story,” says Haynes. “They also make phenomenal cocktails. They are especially well suited for elevating classics.” A great example would be the Persimmon Negroni. Made by mixing equal parts Apologue Persimmon, gin and vermouth, it’s a refreshing, bright and friendly sipper that goes great with food. And then there’s the spritz: an ounce of any Apologue, topped with sparkling wine and a twist of citrus peel. “The Aronia Spritz is a personal favorite with it’s gorgeous color, jammy berry notes and subtle florality,” says Haynes.

Violet Crown Spirits

Although the company started by making the first homegrown absinthe in Texas, they quickly expanded into the liqueur category with an excellent jasmine liqueur that screams Texas summer. It adds a welcome floral nose and a pleasant sweetness to cocktails and is lovely on its own - it’s not cloying and has a slightly bitter finish for a well-balanced sipper. The newest product in their line is Midnight Marigold, a bitter cordial developed in conjunction with the bar manager at Austin’s Midnight Cowboy.

Midnight Marigold liqueur

Midnight Marigold Bitter Cordial is a unique addition to any bar, adding a touch of floral sweetness with a pleasant bitter finish.

The first bottle went to Amor y Amargo in New York City, where Sother Teague still carries it. It has a distinct floral character and a bitter finish accentuated by the flavor of marigold, and it makes for a tasty digestive. Co-founder Jessica Leigh Graves says it is perfect in fall cocktails, especially suitable for Day of the Dead celebrations since marigolds are indispensable during the emblematic Mexican holiday. Graves has organized a Dia de Muertos cocktail contest benefit event, taking place on October 28 in Downtown Austin, Texas.

Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur

Developed by Gary Kelleher, one of the first craft distillers in Central Texas, Martine is as sunny and delicious as an early summer day. Made by hand at the Texacello Distillery in Hays County, Kelleher describes it as “a distilled dalliance with a bouquet of honeysuckle blossoms and opulent notes of nectarine and vanilla.” The exact recipe is, of course, a family secret, but it is based on Kelleher’s love for the scent and the flavor of the honeysuckle that grew around his family’s home in Dallas.

Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur

Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur is a beautiful spirit that adds a floral sweetness to any cocktail.

“It makes me think of summertime, freedom, and my first love,” says Kelleher. “The idea of making a flavor that captured that scent and taste had been on my mind for years.” Martine is wonderful to sip on its own, but it mixes beautifully with whatever is in your bar.

Greenbar Hibiscus

Greenbar Distillery, Los Angeles’ first since Prohibition and maker of a growing portfolio of small-batch, organic spirits, produces a few liqueurs under the FruitLab label. Made with molasses spirits, hibiscus flowers, geranium, lemon, tea, jasmine, tamarind and cane sugar, their hibiscus liqueur adds a marked floral note and a lovely color to any cocktail.

Hibiscus Margaritas

Adding Greenbar Hibiscus liqueur in place of triple sec will take your margarita game to the next level.

“We were inspired by the agua frescas we drank with our street tacos here in L.A,” says co-founder and spiritsmaker, Litty Mathew. “One of our favorites was the tangy, fruity Jamaica, also known as red hibiscus. We figured a liqueur made from hibiscus would be a delicious counterpoint to flavorful spirits like tequila (think hibiscus margarita) and rum (hibiscus mojito). It’s also fantastic with dry, sparkling wine and a nice way to update a cosmo. Because it’s so versatile and has that natural, gorgeous ruby color, it’s become one of our most popular offerings.”

Lee Spirits

This Colorado Springs based distillery specializes in the revival of pre-prohibition-style spirits. They started by making gin and eventually became interested in bringing back forgotten liqueurs that would fit into classic cocktail recipes exactly as originally written. Among the most interesting is their recreation of the classic Forbidden Fruit, a liqueur made with white grapefruit, Colorado honey and a blend of spices, created in the late 1800s in New York City which became a well-known ingredient in many classic cocktails.

Forbidden Fruit

Lee Spirits Co. went to great lengths to research and resurrect Forbidden Fruit, a vintage

After the being acquired from the original producers by the Jacquin Company, the product stopped being made in the 1970s as Jacquin Co. re-purposed the bottle design for their new Chambord Raspberry Liqueur. “Classic cocktail enthusiasts had no choice but to try to substitute Forbidden Fruit with another ingredient or attempt to recreate it themselves,” says Brandon Hedrick, Lee Spirits’ director of sales, “until our research and development team brought it back to the marketplace in 2016. This classic liqueur is a no brainer for any forward-thinking tiki bar and is also a great addition for brunch spots looking for a unique twist on their mimosa.”

Creme de Rose

The Amelia is one of many cocktails that can be enhanced with Lee Spirits' Creme de Rose.

The crème de rose is another antique liqueur made with freshly picked red and pink rose petals to offer a floral sweetness to any cocktail as a replacement for the everyday simple syrup, or it can be poured over ice and sipped it on its own.