What Is Yogurt Liqueur And When Should You Add It To Cocktails?

It's a strange time to be in the cocktail business. Some days it feels like there couldn't possibly be something beverage-related that hasn't been tried, tested, and mass marketed, particularly when it comes to the realm of cocktails inspired by savory ingredients. The French Soup Manhattan and Salmon Martini are both real drinks that exist at well-renowned cocktail bars, and we can't seem to stop fat-washing liquors with everything from duck fat to macadamia nuts.

But high on the list of mixology items that will make you go "huh?" is Natural Yogurt Liqueur from the Dutch company Bols, a product that sounds like it was generated by artificial intelligence after it was fed several decades of Punch's back catalog.

Bols unleashed this product in the U.S. in 2013 and has been patiently waiting for the moment in which Americans would decide that breakfast-flavored cocktails could push beyond the boundaries of a maple bacon Old Fashioned. But what (and, more pertinent, why) is yogurt liqueur, and what are you supposed to do with it?

What is yogurt liqueur?

Yogurt liqueur is produced by Bols, which is based in Amsterdam and markets itself as "The World's First Cocktail Brand." The company has been in operation for more than four centuries and makes more than 40 flavors of liqueurs. Some stick with the classics, like their Triple Sec and Orange Curaçao liqueurs, while others are a little more unusual, such as their Pineapple Chipotle or Melon liqueurs.

The manufacturing of Bols Natural Yogurt Liqueur requires fermenting milk from Dutch cows with a mixture of microorganisms, pasteurizing the yogurt, and adding water, alcohol, and sugar. The result is a product with 15% ABV and a texture akin to skim milk. The taste of the end product is a little sweet, a little tangy, though not quite as tangy as real yogurt.

Martha Frankfort, an Assistant to the Board at Bols, explains that the yogurt liqueur "is non-perishable if stored under normal conditions. The alcohol in the product works as a preservative, preventing the product from spoiling. As with any product it can happen that the taste of the product changes over time, the product will not go bad, but the taste intensity might decrease compared to the fresh product."

What cocktails should you use yogurt liqueur in?

Yogurt liqueur recently became popular with bartenders in Florida, who discovered that it could be used to great effect in a piña colada. The tropical classic is typically made with rum, pineapple, and coconut cream, but using yogurt liqueur in place of coconut cream seems to have been a swap no one has yet complained about. This rendition is called the Skinny Colada, because the lack of calorically-dense coconut cream shaves about 150 calories off the traditional version of the cocktail. It's also easier to make, because it doesn't require a blender and results in a slightly boozier drink.

Yogurt liqueur may not be designed to be consumed on its own, but it would probably fare well in any number of cocktails that require a creamy base, like this Boozy Mango and Makrut Lime Lassi. It would also be a fine substitute for cream and Bailey's, in a mudslide, or for heavy cream in the mint-forward Grasshopper. But really, any cream-based cocktail could use a splash, even a White Russian or Brandy Alexander.