Thanks to the neon-green appletinis of the ‘90s, fruit liqueurs have gotten a bad wrap. But at their best, these liqueurs are made with care and finesse, carrying through a complex and vivid fruit flavor in every bottle. Such is the case with Chambord, the widely-loved and widely-used French raspberry liqueur.
A base of XO cognac gives a rich, weighty backdrop for red and black raspberries and Madagascar vanilla. It’s sweet but not overwhelmingly so, bright and lively, and perfect for slightly fruity cocktails when raspberries themselves just aren’t in season. Here are three simple drinks that show off Chambord.
Easy: Chambord Collins
A classic Tom Collins—gin, lemon, a little sweetener and soda—is an eternal crowd-pleaser, and a great template for experimentation. A good pour of Chambord lends it a lovely color and pronounced raspberry flavor, without any fruit to muddle or seeds to strain.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of gin, half an ounce of lemon juice, 3/4 ounce of Chambord, and a quarter-ounce of simple syrup. Add a dash of orange bitters. Shake all that up well, then strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with an ounce of club soda and garnish with a few lemon half-moons and raspberries.
Intermediate: Chambord Sidecar
One of the world’s great (and sadly underappreciated) classics, the Sidecar is a beautiful cognac cocktail that balances the spirit with orange liqueur and lemon. Since Chambord is cognac-based, we had a hunch it would blend beautifully with the spirit—and sure enough, it does. There’s a distinct raspberry flavor here but its sweetness is cut through with lemon, while the cognac provides a perfect, weighty backdrop.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine one and a half ounces of cognac (we love H by Hine), 3/4 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3/4 ounce of Chambord, and a quarter-ounce of simple syrup. Shake that all up and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a raspberry.
Advanced: Chambord Rob Roy
A classic Rob Roy is essentially a Scotch Manhattan—that’d be Scotch plus sweet vermouth and bitters. Here, we’re keeping that template but adding in Chambord, a nice contrast to smoky blended Scotch. It’s a stiff, substantial drink with just a pleasant note of raspberry in the background.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of Scotch (we’re using Famous Grouse), 3/4 ounce of Chambord, and 1/4 ounce of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth. Add one dash of Angostura. Stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel—twisting it over the surface of the glass, to spray its citrus oils—and a raspberry.