Amarula Cream holds a special place in my liquor cabinet, and not just because of its glorious taste and sexy brown, South African bottle. Amarula’s history begins in 1989, when the drink created from the Marula tree, or elephant tree, was first marketed to the public. But my history with Amarula dates back to January 2008 when I was first introduced to the liqueur by my girlfriend Rachel (who I like to pretend is of royal South African descent), who discovered the drink while traveling in the elephant infested country.
She brought two bottles back from her home country trip and would not stop raving about the African “sundowner.” I say “sundowner” because apparently you’re supposed to drink a glass while watching the sun fall out of the African sky (although personally I’d drink it all day if I could). She poured me a glass—and two bottles later I was on the Internet looking to have a case shipped to the apartment. I had to settle for a couple bottles from the local Albertson’s but the damage was done.
I now consider Amarula my liqueur of choice. And I’m not the only one. In fact, Amarula is the second-largest seller in the cream liqueur category right behind Bailey’s Irish Cream. I’d say the two cream liqueurs are similar in taste, but Amarula has a sweeter, more enjoyable taste. For the record, the reason they call the Marula tree the elephant tree is because elephants like to pick the fruit and eat it—usually resulting in a bunch of drunk elephants stumbling around crushing American tourists on safaris. And any tree that’s getting elephants drunk is good enough for me. If it had better distribution and increased marketing efforts here in the United States, I’d even say it would do better than Bailey’s. So if you find yourself a fan of Bailey’s or Kahlúa, do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle of Amarula. And tell them my South African girlfriend sent you—maybe they’ll give me a discount or something.