Do you like hazelnuts?
Being Italian, it’s basically a requirement. 🇮🇹
Italy is the second largest producer of hazelnuts across the globe (after Turkey), with hazelnuts from the northern region of Piedmont considered by many to be the best in the world. There are strict rules around the growing of Piedmontese hazelnuts in order to protect their quality, which are much smaller and sweeter than the larger, woodier hazelnuts grown in other parts of the world. And one of the most well-known Italian products made from these hazelnuts is Frangelico.
If you’re not familiar with it, Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur, which should not be confused with Amaretto. Where Amaretto is made from apricot pits or almonds , Frangelico is made from toasted Piedmontese hazelnuts that once distilled are blended with coffee, cocoa, berry, and vanilla extracts and distillates to produce a rich, nutty, chocolatey, golden liqueur.
Frangelico lends itself beautifully to sweet drinks, and while I absolutely love the flavor of it, I find its robust flavor and sweetness to be a bit of a challenge to incorporate into "savory" cocktails. Aside from drinking it over ice with a squeeze of lime or mixed with club soda (both very classic ways to enjoy Frangelico), I admittedly have shied away from using it much in anything other than dessert cocktails. So when I came across this recipe by @cheerstohappyhour, I immediately knew I needed to try it.
Frangelico’s nuttiness is deliciously present in this cocktail, but its sweetness is more in the background allowing the Whiskey to remain the star of this show. It’s a combination of flavors that makes total sense together, and a drink that has given me a nudge to officially take this liqueur out of the dessert drink category that I have unfairly relegated it to!