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Amarula is a popular South African cream liqueur made from the fruits of the marula tree, also known as the Elephant tree. Amarula is one of the most beloved drinks worldwide and ranks 2nd in sales, right after the Irish cream liqueur Baileys.

But before we talk about the liqueur let's first find out more about the tree all thanks to which we can taste this remarkable drink. Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) is a real African treasure. This dioecious tree thrives only in equatorial Africa and can reach heights of up to 59 ft (18 m).

The plant is a favorite among male elephants, who scratch themselves against it during mating season. Marula gives round fruits, similar to plums, colored light green to yellowish. They have a juicy and appetizing flesh, similar in taste to citrus fruits or nuts.

In just one year, marula can yield up to half a ton of fruits. Their marvelous taste makes them a preferred food for many. Elephants, boars, monkeys and rhinos are just some of the animals that love eating them. The African peoples also give these fruits their due attention. They are considered the food of kings and are used in numerous rituals. The fruits are used to make a drink that is offered to the spirits of important persons or given as a gift to honored chieftains.

Marula is a tree shrouded in mystery, with numerous qualities assigned to it. It is a crucial participant in many African legends. According to one local tribe, it is known as a wedding tree, which is also why wedding ceremonies have been held in its shade for centuries. The fruits of the tree are considered to have healing properties and are taken for sexual impotence in men, as well as infertility in women. According to some beliefs, the bark of the dioecious tree can help parents choose the sex of a baby before it's born. Those who want a girl need to drink a concoction from a female tree, while those who want a boy need to drink a concoction from a male marula.

History of Amarula


The astonishing African liqueur Amarula has been on the market for a relatively short time. It was 1st presented to consumers during the 80s of the last century. Original Amarula was 1st produced by Southern Liqueur Co. Even though it was quite obscure in the beginning, the drink rapidly grew in popularity. Today it is available in more than 100 countries. It is known as the Spirit of Africa.

Characteristics of Amarula

Amarula's sugar content comes out to 20%, while the alcohol by volume is 17%. It can be compared to Baileys without a problem. But still, the liqueur is distinguished by one specific ingredient - the juice of marula fruits. They are responsible for the unique caramel taste and aroma of the beverage. Fruity nuances are also discernible. Amarula is characterized by extraordinary sweetness, which has become the reason for the differing opinions regarding it. This quality of the drink does not suit everyone's taste.

Production of Amarula

The production of marula is a crucial process, of which the quality of the resulting drink depends. The fruits are picked carefully, peeled and washed, then left to ferment. Next comes distillation. The distillate is mixed with a concentrated extract of marula fruits. The mixture is then left to age for 2 years in special oak vats. Finally, the material is mixed with fresh cream until it gets the desired appearance. The resulting Amarula is bottled in dark bottles.

Choosing and Storing Amarula

This type of alcoholic beverage can generally be found in specialized stores and is similar in price to Baileys. The liqueur is sold in dark glass bottles, the label portraying an elephant.

The animal is a symbol of the drink, due to its love of the marula tree and its fruits. When buying an alcohol, always check the expiration date and name of the manufacturer. This information needs to be present on the bottle label.


Regarding storage of the cream liqueur, it is recommended to keep the bottles in a dark, cool area at temperatures between 40°F (5 °C) and 70°F (20 °C). After opening the bottle, the alcohol can be consumed within 6-7 months.

Cooking with Amarula

Amarula is suitable for mixing sweet cocktails and combining with various cream liqueurs, whiskey, Amaretto and others.

Its unique taste allows it to be used in recipes for creams, puddings, ice creams, mousses, cakes, pies, biscuits, rolls, muffins, tartlets, cheesecakes and all kinds of sweets, no matter if they contain fruits or nuts.

Either way the end result will be an aromatic, sweet dessert that melts in your mouth.

Serving Amarula

Amarula is poured into liqueur glasses that are crafted from glass and have a slim stem. Their shape can vary. Amarula can be served with several ice cubes if desired. It makes for an excellent combination with warm drinks such as coffee and cappuccino.


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