Luscious liqueurs

Wine columnist Michael Olivier shares his love for luscious liqueurs.

by: Michael Olivier | 23 Oct 2007

Liqueurs are so underrated in South Africa – some of the classics like Drambuie, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier offer such wonderful treats with their clean refined flavours, not to mention a raft of liqueur cocktails which have been invented over the years.

A more recent and decidedly good news twist is the addition of cream to liqueurs and spirits, now locally available. Baileys Irish Cream – made from Irish Whiskey and cream – was a liqueur we all fell in love with in the 1970's and as it was not allowed to be sold here, friends from Windhoek were prevailed upon the bring it to us when visiting the Cape.

Amarula Cream
I am told that Amarula Cream, made from a unique sub-equatorial-African fruit, the Marula, dominates the local market and is well sold off shore. The harvesting of the Marula berries is done by indigenous peoples in the areas in which these monster trees grow provided they get to the berries before the elephants do.

Van der Hum
KWV produces an excellent cream liqueur with our traditional naartjie and spice flavoured Van der Hum which happens to be a particular favourite of mine.

The accepted way of drinking these cream liqueurs is pouring them over crushed ice. But personally I find that this dilutes the wonderful creaminess which coats so unctuously the tongue.

If you get them really cold in the fridge and possibly even pop them into the icebox for half an hour before serving after a meal, you will be amply rewarded.

Angel's Share
And now along comes Angel's Share made in the well known Van Rhyn Brandy Distillery on the banks of the Eerste Rivier in Stellenbosch.

This brandy is rich, creamy with the wonderful fruit of the grape in its distilled form, the warm Christmas pudding spiciness of cinnamon quills and cloves, orange flower water and has a gentle butterscotch honey crisp undertone.

The brandy is aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of three years. During this time evaporation takes place and what goes out into the dark quiet cellars is quaintly known as the 'angel's share' to thank them for turning fine pot-stilled brandy into the soft oaked golden drink it becomes, so full of flavours and legend too.

Some other favourites
Whatever you drink, please don't forget the utterly delicious Jerepigos, Muscadels and Hanepoot wines which are made in the Cape. I just think they are so underrated and the prices at which they are sold are an absolute steal.

Look out for Landskroon Morio Muscat, red and white Muscadel and the Monis Vintage Muscadel.

The results of the inaugural WINE magazine TOPS at SPAR Sauvignon Blanc Top 10 have just been announced, in alphabetical order:
Alexanderfontein – 2007
Backsberg John Martin – 2007
Bloemendal Suider Terras – 2006
Cape Point – 2006
De Grendel Koetshuis – 2006
Diemersdal Eight Rows – 2007
Fleur du Cap Unfiltered – 2007
Graham Beck Pheasant's Run – 2007
Groote Post Reserve – 2007
Nitida – 2007
Springfield Life from Stone – 2007

Michael Olivier trained at The London Cordon Bleu Cookery School and is a well known Cape food and wine fundi. He is now a food and wine specialist with Pick 'n Pay, occasional broadcaster and hospitality industry consultant. To find out more about Food24’s resident wine expert visit or email him on or email him on if you are not able to source any of the wines/liqueurs mentioned above.

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