Banana liqueur might not be on your list of must-have bottles, but trust us, it should be.
There are some fruits that are delicious in their natural form, but not so much as a “flavor.” Banana-flavored anything tends to be a little, well, gross. At least we thought so, until we came upon Banane du Brésil, from our all-time favorite fruit liqueur producer, Giffard.
Made with ripe bananas from (as you may have gathered from the name) Brazil and a bit of Cognac, which contributes richness and body, its aroma is rich, sweet banana, like the smell of the fruit caramelizing for a dessert. It’s delicious stuff, and while sweet, is still balanced enough to sip straight over ice.
But if we’ve got a first-class banana liqueur, why not have some fun with it? Raw banana is difficult to add to cocktails—its creamy texture and mellow flavor don’t really lend themselves to mixing—but once you’ve got banana in a boozy, liquid form, it’s simple to shake with anything you please. Here are three of our favorite banana cocktails.
Easy: Rum & Banana
It’s hard to get a whiff of this rich tropical liqueur and not immediately think rum. And when we stir the two together, it’s like the cocktail equivalent of Bananas Foster, with the great dark rum (we’re using Diplomatico Exclusivo Reserva) adding sweetness and vanilla to the rich banana flavor. It’s still boozier than it is sweet, but we’d call this our kind of dessert drink.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of dark rum, 3/4 ounce of Banane du Brésil, and 1/4 ounce of demerara syrup. Stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over ice (best over one big ice cube). Garnish with one big twist of lime.
Intermediate: Scotch-Banana Collins
Smoky blended Scotch (we’re using Famous Grouse) works so well to cut the sweetness of Banane du Brésil, and we’re lightening the combination by making it into a Collins, with lemon juice and ice. Refreshing, unusual and utterly drinkable.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 ounce of Scotch (we’re using The Famous Grouse), 1 1/2 ounces of Banane du Brésil, 1/2 an ounce of fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 ounce of honey syrup. Shake that all up, strain it into a tall glass with fresh ice, and top with 1 ounce of club soda. Garnish with a few thin banana slices, cut on the bias.
Advanced: Banana-Cognac Sour
Since Banane du Brésil is made with Cognac, the French brandy is an obvious companion for it. And since we liked the idea of a slightly creamy banana drink, we added an egg white. The resulting drink doesn’t taste eggy, per se; the proteins in the egg white just add a silky texture. Honestly, we could drink this for breakfast.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker without ice, combine 1 ounce of Cognac (we’re using H by Hine), 1 ounce of Banane du Brésil, 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 of simple syrup, and 1 egg white. Shake all that up without ice to aerate it— that’s called a “dry shake”—and then add ice and shake again for a “wet shake,” to chill it down. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.