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The 10 best banana liqueur cocktails for a taste of the tropics

You and banana liqueur ought to know each other better. Get close with these great cocktail recipes

Banana liqueur in two glasses with banana
Chatham172 / Shutterstock

Banana may not jump to mind when you think of the best cocktails, but perhaps it should. With the right liqueur at your side, you can whip something that tastes like a warm breeze in palm tree country. The very best of the bunch play off of complementary spirits like rum and like-minded ingredients like coconut and orgeat.

Of the many lesser-known liqueurs out there, banana liqueur options don’t always get the hype they deserve. Used wisely, this blast of tropical booze can turn a regular drink into one of the best tiki cocktails out there. The unique flavor of banana, falling somewhere between melon, honey, and clove, can instantly inject some personality into a cocktail, especially come summertime, when we crave those flavors most.

What is the best banana liqueur?

Person slicing a ripe banana
james benjamin / Shutterstock

That’s a great question and we’re not entirely sure, as it depends on taste and the drink at hand. There are a few, however, we can wholeheartedly recommend. The option from Creme de Banane from Fugit Spirits stands out, bursting with flavor while balanced. Giffard also makes another stellar, higher-end option, crafted from Brazilian-grown bananas. It tastes a bit caramelized, with woodsy hints of oak that match the robust banana flavor. For something a little more straightforward, albeit a bit sweet, 99 Bananas gets the job done. Don’t forget that there are great aged spirits, too. When it comes to bananas, these usually come in rum form, and they’re worth playing around with as you dial in your drinks and preferences.

What is a liqueur?

A liqueur is a sweet alcoholic beverage flavored with fruits (like bananas), herbs, spices, or nuts. Its alcohol content is typically lower than that of distilled spirits, ranging from 15% to 40% ABV. Liqueurs are made by infusing a neutral spirit base (such as vodka, grain alcohol, or brandy — as mentioned above, bananas usually use rum) with flavorings and then adding sugar or syrup to sweeten the liqueur.

Below, you’ll find banana liqueur cocktails from some of the best bartenders around the world. One thing you’ll notice is that a little goes a long way. What does that mean for you? It means that you should stock up on the other ingredients and try multiple of the drinks below!

Here are the 10 best banana liqueur cocktails to try your hand at this summer.

Banana

Banana pool lounge cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created by Thomas Waugh, The Pool Lounge, New York City)

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces banana mix*
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce ginger syrup
  • Angostura bitters
  • Banana to garnish

*Banana mix

  • 1 ounce reposado tequila
  • 1 ounce Amontillado Sherry
  • 1 ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil

Method

  1. Short shake with three Kold Draft cubes.
  2. Strain into a Collins glass with pebble ice.
  3. Top with Angostura bitters and garnish with a baby banana.

Bowie Intro

Bowie intro banana cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created by Chaim Dauermann, The Up & Up, New York City)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 ounces Suntory Toki
  • 1/2 ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil
  • 1/4 ounce Krogstad Aquavit
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce demerara syrup (2:1)
  • 2 Luxardo cherries

Method

  1. Muddle the cocktail cherries in the bottom of a cocktail tin.
  2. Add wet ingredients and shake with two ice cubes.
  3. Double-strain into a chilled Collins glass.
  4. Fill with pebble ice (or crushed ice) and garnish with cherry or lemon bulls-eye.

The Traveling Banana

traveling banana cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created by  Sam Treadway, Back Bar, Boston)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil
  • 3/4 ounce Bacardi 8 Year rum
  • 3/4 ounce Laphroaig 10-Year Scotch
  • 1/2 ounce Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • 1/4 ounce Giffard Orgeat Syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Method

  1. Build all ingredients over one large piece of ice in a rocks glass.
  2. Briefly stir and then garnish with a lime twirl.

Bananas Foster cocktail

Bananas foster cocktail
FOHNYC

(Created by Johnny Swet, JIMMY at the James, New York City)

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces aged rum
  • 1 ounce banana liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 thick banana chunks

Method

  1. Muddle the banana chunks with the brown sugar.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and shake with ice until cold.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass with ice.
  4. Garnish with a thick banana slice that has been sprinkled with sugar and caramelized with a torch.

Cachaça Me If You Can

Cachaca me if you can banana cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created at Arbella, Chicago)

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Espirito barrel-rested Cachaca
  • 3/4 ounce Noilly Pratt Ambre
  • 1/2 ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil
  • 1/4 ounce Amaro Sybilla
  • 1/4 ounce Bitter Truth falernum
  • 1/4 ounce Gran Classico

Method

  1. Stir with a large cube in a mixing glass.
  2. Strain into a coupe glass.

Banana Snowman

Banana snowman cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ingredients

  • 1 part Svedka Vodka
  • 1/2 part banana liqueur
  • 1/4 part Black Velvet Toasted Caramel
  • 1 part heavy cream
  • Muddled banana chunks

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass.
  2. Garnish with grated nutmeg and a skewer of banana chunks and salted caramel pieces.

Backseat Bingo

Backseat bingo banana cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created by Blake Pope, Hello Sailor, Cornelius, North Carolina)

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Bacardi Silver
  • 1 1/2 ounces 99 Bananas
  • 3/4 ounce Zucca
  • 1 ounce orgeat
  • 3/4 ounces demerara syrup
  • 3 ounces coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 ounces lime juice

Garnishes

  • 2 bendy straws (or one, no judgment)
  • Cinnamon “sprank”
  • Half-banana dolphin (with clove and cherry)

Method

  1. Build ingredients into good shaker tin.
  2. Add 12 oz scoop of pebble ice.
  3. Quick shake in tin and “dirty” dump into sharing-size Tiki mug.
  4. Top with pebble ice and apply all garnishes.

Shangala Banana

Shangala banana cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created by Leanne Favre, Clover Club and Leyenda, Brooklyn)

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Agave de Cortés Joven mezcal
  • 1 ounce Lustau Fino Sherry
  • 3/4 ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Giffard gomme syrup
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3 pinches chile de arbol powder

Method

  1. In a shaker, gently muddle cardamom and chile powder with gomme syrup.
  2. Add other ingredients and ice.
  3. Shake well and fine strain into a pilsner glass.
  4. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with a banana leaf.

Banana Suit

Banana suit cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created by Sean Johnson, Amor y Amargo, New York City)

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Sipsmith Dry Gin
  • 1 ounce Salers Aperitif
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce Giffard Banane du Brésil
  • 1/4 ounce Giffard Vanille du Madagascar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters

Method

  1. Build all ingredients over one large piece of ice in a rocks glass.
  2. Briefly stir, then garnish with a mint bouquet.

Bananas Foster adult milkshake

Bananas foster adult milkshake cocktail
Image used with permission by copyright holder

(Created at Péché, Austin)

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce banana liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Zaya rum
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Method

  1. Combine ingredients in a blender and blend.
  2. Pour into glass and garnish with cinnamon.
Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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