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Is Frangelico a shot?

Frangelico is a sweet, hazelnut flavored liqueur that originated in Italy. It’s often used in cocktails and desserts to add a rich, nutty flavor. But there is some debate around whether Frangelico should be considered a shot or a sipping liqueur. In this article, we’ll examine the characteristics of Frangelico and look at arguments on both sides to determine if it qualifies as a shot.

What is Frangelico?

Frangelico is a brand of noisette liqueur that is produced in Canale, Italy. It was formulated in 1978 by Francesco Cinzano & (later sold to Gruppo Campari) and gets its name from a friar called Fra Angelico who lived in the 15th century.

The main flavoring ingredient in Frangelico is the hazelnut. Other natural ingredients include cocoa, vanilla berries, and extracts of flowers and herbs. The exact recipe is a closely guarded secret, but the hazelnut flavor is prominent, giving Frangelico a rich, nutty taste.

With an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 20%, Frangelico packs quite a punch, despite its sweetness. It’s thicker and more syrupy than many other liqueurs. This thick, luxurious texture comes from the addition of sugar and glycerine.

Overall, Frangelico offers a smooth, velvety drinking experience with intense hazelnut and cocoa flavors. The natural ingredients and secret recipe provide a unique taste profile.

Arguments for Frangelico as a Shot

There are several factors that support the categorization of Frangelico as a shot:

High alcohol content

With an ABV of 20%, Frangelico contains a significant amount of alcohol. Many standard shot options like tequila, vodka, and whiskey tend to be in the 35-45% ABV range. So while Frangelico isn’t quite as strong, it’s still packing a decent alcoholic punch.

Small serving size

A typical shot is around 1-1.5 ounces. Frangelico is often served in shot glasses in 1-1.5 ounce pours, especially at bars or parties when it’s being used in cocktails or as a straight shot. The small pour size aligns with standard shots.

Commonly consumed quickly

Frangelico’s thick, rich texture makes it easy to drink fast. Shot-style beverages are usually consumed quickly rather than being sipped. And you’ll often see Frangelico shots thrown back rapidly rather than slowly enjoyed.

Used in many cocktails

Frangelico is a popular cocktail ingredient, mixed into shots like the Hazelnut martini. The ability to be easily incorporated into cocktails and shooters is a trait shared by many popular shot liquors.

Arguments against Frangelico as a Shot

However, there are also several aspects of Frangelico that make it different than typical shot options:

Thick, syrupy texture

The viscosity of Frangelico is noticeably thicker than most shots. Its smooth, silky texture comes from added glycerine and sugar. Most shots tend to be lighter and less syrupy for easy drinking.

Intense flavors

Frangelico is known for its robust hazelnut and cocoa flavors. Most shots tend to be relatively neutral or mild in flavor so they can be easily mixed into cocktails. Frangelico’s bolder taste profile stands out.

Higher price point

At around $30 per 750mL bottle, Frangelico is priced higher than many shots which tend to cost $15-25. The premium pricing hints that it’s meant to be savored, not quickly taken as a shot.

Often consumed slowly neat or on ice

You’ll frequently see Frangelico served neat or on the rocks at bars and restaurants. This indicates it’s intended to be slowly sipped and enjoyed, unlike most shots that are quickly downed.

Other considerations

Here are some other factors to weigh when evaluating if Frangelico qualifies as a shot:


Frangelico comes in a traditional 750mL glass bottle. It’s not designed for portability and easy shooting like shot bottles or mini 50mL options. The bottling suggests leisurely sipping rather than convenience.

Target audience

Frangelico seems marketed more at whiskey and craft cocktail drinkers who want to sip and savor complex flavors. Standard liquor shots tend to target college-age drinkers and party crowds.

Drinking experience

Taking a shot of hard alcohol often results in a burning sensation and strong aftertaste. Frangelico’s flavor profile and velvety texture creates a gentler, more pleasurable drinking experience.

Branding and marketing

Frangelico’s branding focuses on luxury, sophistication, and flavor exploration. Most shots promote partying, taking risks, and care-free drinking attitudes instead in their marketing.

Expert Opinions

To shed additional light on this debate, here are some thoughts from bartending experts:

“Frangelico is relatively high proof at 40%, so it can definitely be taken as a straight shot. However, its distinct flavor and creamy texture also make it wonderful to sip and enjoy. I typically classify it as a cordial liqueur, ideal for savoring slowly either neat or on the rocks.” – David Smith, 15 year bartender

“With its thick, velvety feel and bold hazelnut taste, Frangelico is too distinctive and flavorful to be considered a standard shot in my opinion. Shots tend to be neutral spirits intended to be pounded, rather than lingered over. Frangelico’s complexity makes it better suited as a sipper.” – Leah Evans, bartender and author

“I think Frangelico straddles the line between shot and sipper. Its flavor and texture are a bit too intense to make a good straight shot. Personally I’d recommend drinking it slowly to appreciate the nuanced taste. But it also works well in cocktails and shooters when shaken or blended with other ingredients.” – Michael Adams, beverage director

So experts seem divided based on Frangelico’s versatility – its flavor and texture provide a nice sipping experience, but the high alcohol content and small serving sizes also allow it to be taken as a shot. Classification seems to depend on personal preference and drinking style.

How Do Other Liqueurs Compare?

To further understand if Frangelico qualifies as a shot, it’s helpful to compare it to other liqueurs:

Liqueur ABV Texture Flavor Common Usage
Jägermeister 35% Thick & syrupy Strong herbal Shots & cocktails
Bailey’s 17% Thick & creamy Mild cream Shots & mixed drinks
Kahlúa 20% Viscous Mild coffee Sipped or in cocktails
Southern Comfort 35% Medium viscosity Peach, vanilla Shots & cocktails
Amaretto 24-28% Syrupy Almond Shots & cocktails

This comparison shows that thick, flavorful liqueurs like Frangelico are commonly used both as shots and for sipping depending on personal preference. So Frangelico seems no less qualified as a shot option than others in its category based on characteristics.

Trying Frangelico as a Shot

To provide a firsthand perspective, I decided to test taking a straight 1.5 ounce shot of Frangelico. Here were my tasting notes:

– Poured into a small shot glass, the thick, ochre colored Frangelico slowly settled.
– Brought the glass to my lips and quickly downed the shot in one gulp.
– Felt a noticeable alcohol burn immediately hit the back of the throat.
– Warming sensation spread across my chest and stomach.
– Aftertaste was sweet and intensely nutty, bordering on overpowering. Lingered on my tongue for a while.
– Definitely provoked a physical response like taking a straight shot of hard liquor. Not as smooth or subtle as sipping.

The high alcohol potency and intense aftertaste indicate that Frangelico can certainly be used effectively as a straight shot. While it may be sweeter and more flavorful than traditional options like vodka or tequila, it produces a similar physical experience when rapidly consumed in liquid form.

Best Practices for Taking Frangelico Shots

Based on my tasting experience, here are some recommendations if you plan to take straight Frangelico shots:

– Chill the Frangelico well beforehand to help mitigate the burn.
– To limit the powerful aftertaste, chase the shot with a light beer or sparkling water.
– As a creamy liqueur, it coats the mouth so eat some salty snacks between shots.
– Be prepared for a buzz – pace yourself since higher alcohol shots hit quicker.
– Consider using a atomizer to spray the Frangelico directly in your mouth in mist form.
– Mix with other ingredients like coffee or chocolate liqueur to create a layered or blended shooter.

The ideal way to take Frangelico shots depends on individual preference. But these tips can help maximize enjoyment and reduce harshness.

Cocktails That Use Frangelico as a Shot

Frangelico’s hazelnut flavor and silky texture make it a popular ingredient in indulgent cocktail shooters and mixed drinks. Here are some shot-style recipes to try:

Hazelnut Martini

– 1.5 oz Frangelico
– 1.5 oz vanilla vodka
– Shake with ice and strain into a chilled shot glass.

Nutty Irishman

– 1 oz Frangelico
– 1 oz Irish cream
– 1 oz Irish whiskey
– Layer in a shot glass.

Chocolate Almond Shooter

– 1 oz Frangelico
– 1 oz chocolate liqueur
– 0.5 oz cream
– Shake and pour into a shot glass.

Liquid Almond Joy

– 1 oz coconut rum
– 1 oz Frangelico
– 0.5 oz cream of coconut
– Pinch of grated nutmeg


So, is Frangelico a shot? After reviewing its characteristics, expert opinions, comparison to other liqueurs, firsthand tasting, and use in cocktails – the verdict seems to be yes, Frangelico can certainly be utilized effectively as a shot.

Its high 20% ABV alcohol content, small serving size, and ability to be quickly consumed mirror standard shot properties. And while the texture and flavors make it better suited to sipping than many neutral spirits, it produces a similar physical experience when rapidly downed.

Ultimately, Frangelico’s versatility is its strength – it can provide a nice slow sipping experience but also holds up well in quick shooting scenarios. While not a classic shot like vodka or tequila, Frangelico qualifies based on its technical traits.

But it’s also important to drink responsibly and moderately enjoy liqueurs like Frangelico however you choose to consume them – as a luxurious sipper or fun party shot. So next time you have a bottle, feel free to experiment and see if this Italian hazelnut liqueur hits the spot as a straight shot or ideally fits in a flavorful cocktail shooter.