Apple Liqueur (Schnapps): 14 Things You Should Know [The Ultimate Guide]

1. What is Apple Liqueur?

Apple liqueur, or schnapps, is a diverse spirit with rich apple flavor and aroma. Its base typically comprises distilled alcohol like vodka or brandy, infused with natural or artificial apple flavors. The color of apple liqueurs varies from clear and golden to red and green hues, reflecting their composition. Similarly, the flavor notes can range tart Granny Smith to sweet Red Delicious. They are available in several forms, such as pure apple, spiced, or blended with other fruit essences.

The liqueur is versatile in cocktails like the Apple Martini and enhances culinary dishes. Popular brands include Berentzen and DeKuyper, with prices ranging from $15 to $50. It has a history rooted in regions famous for apple cultivation. Its alcohol by volume (ABV) generally ranges from 15% to 30%.

What is Apple Liqueur Called?

Apple liqueur, alternatively known as apple schnapps or apple cordial, is a flavored spirit celebrated for its versatility and delightful apple-centric taste. Different brands and regions may have unique names, but the essence remains centered around the apple flavor.

Calvados is not a liqueur but a brandy from Normandy in France, made from apples and/or pears.

2. Factsheet for Apple Liqueur

  • Flavor: Sweet, crisp apple, varying from tart Granny Smith to sweet Red Delicious notes.
    • Aroma: Fresh, fruity, reminiscent of apple orchards.
    • Color: Ranges from clear and golden amber to red and green.
  • Production Process: Infusion of apple flavors into a base alcohol like vodka or brandy.
    • Base Alcohol: Commonly vodka, brandy, or neutral grain spirits.
    • Ingredients: Apple flavors (natural or artificial), sometimes with added spices or other fruits.
  • Types: Pure apple, spiced, blended with other fruit flavors.
    • Top Brands: Berentzen, DeKuyper.
    • Price Range: $15 – $50.
  • Serving Suggestions: Neat, over ice, in cocktails.
    • Cocktail Examples: Apple Martini, Apple Sour.
    • Cuisine Uses: Desserts, glazes, flavoring for baked goods.
  • Shelf Life: 1-2 years after opening.
    • Storage: Cool, dark place after opening.
  • History/Origins: Rooted in apple-growing regions, historical mentions date back centuries.
    • Popularity: Widely popular in North America and Europe.
  • ABV: 15% – 30%.
    • Sugar Content: Varies, generally medium to high.

3. What Does Apple Liqueur Taste Like?

  • Flavor Profile: Apple liqueur (schnapps) offers a balance of sweetness and tartness, mimicking the complexity of fresh apples with a smooth finish.
  • Aroma: The nose is predominantly apple, ranging from fresh green apple to cooked apple aromas, often accompanied by hints of spice and caramel.
  • Color: Its appearance can vary from crystal clear in pure forms to a rich golden hue in aged or spiced varieties. Some apple liqueurs can also be red or green as a result of added colorings.

4. How is it Made?

  • Ingredients: The core ingredient is apple flavor, derived from natural apple extracts or artificial flavorings, blended with a base alcohol such as vodka or brandy.
  • Production Process: The process involves infusing the base alcohol with apple flavors, followed by aging for flavored varieties. Some traditional methods may include macerating real apples in the alcohol.

5. Types of Apple Liqueur


Calvados is not a liqueur, but an apple brandy originating from French Normandy. Brands like Boulard and Père Magloire offer authentic Calvados experiences.

Apple liqueur, or schnapps, is known for its sweeter, more intense flavor, and comes in various categories. DeKuyper and Berentzen are notable brands. DeKuyper Pucker Sour Apple Schnapps Liqueur has a bright green color with a strong tart taste of apple candy. DeKuyper Red Apple Schnapps Liqueur is red and tastes like sweet Granny Smith apples. In contrast, Berentzen Apple Schnapps offers a golden hue and more balanced apple flavor.

Key Differences

The main variations in apple liqueurs arise from production methods and apple varieties. Calvados, traditionally made with specific apple types, undergoes a process similar to wine-making, followed by distillation and aging, imparting a deep, complex flavor, with an oaky depth.

In contrast, apple schnapps often use a base of grain alcohol with added flavors, resulting in a sweeter, more straightforward taste. Flavored liqueurs like Sour Apple Pucker focus on delivering a bold, fruity punch, often used in mixed drinks.

6. Brands of Apple Liqueur

Top Brands

1. Berentzen Apple Schnapps: Known for its versatility in cocktails, it offers a crisp apple flavor with a smooth, sweet finish.

2. DeKuyper Red Apple Schnapps Liqueur: Provides a bright, intense flavor and color of red apples.

3. DeKuyper Pucker Sour Apple Schnapps Liqueur: Ideal for those seeking a tart, vibrant taste and green color in their cocktails.

4. Père Magloire Calvados: A traditional Calvados brand with rich, oaky, and mature apple profile.

5. Boulard Calvados: A premium Calvados choice, known for its sophisticated blend of several apple varieties.

Brand Comparison

Boulard and Père Magloire, both Calvados brands, differ in their aging process and apple varieties, affecting the flavor complexity. Berentzen and DeKuyper, leading in the apple schnapps category, vary in sweetness, apple flavor and intensity. Sour Apple Pucker stands apart for its unique, tart flavor, making it a favorite for specific cocktails.

7. Buying Guide for Apple Liqueur

Price Range

Apple liqueurs vary in price from:

  1. Budget: $10-$20
  2. Moderate: $20-$50
  3. Premium: $50 and above

Best Buys

  1. Budget: DeKuyper Apple Schnapps – a great mix for cocktails, offering value for money.
  2. Moderate: Père Magloire – a balanced choice for those exploring Calvados.
  3. Premium: Boulard Calvados – an exquisite option for connoisseurs seeking complexity.

Buying Tips

When selecting apple liqueur, consider the type (Calvados, flavored liqueur), taste preference (sweet, tart, rich, complex), and the intended use (sipping, mixing). Quality indicators include the brand’s reputation, ingredients, and production method. Value assessment hinges on how well these factors align with your preferences and use case.

Premium – Worth it?

Premium apple liqueurs and brandy justify their price through meticulous production methods, aging processes, and distinct apple varieties. They offer a depth of flavor and complexity that elevates them from mere ingredients to sipping experiences.

8. How to Drink Apple Liqueur?

Serving Guide

Apple liqueur, a versatile spirit, is best enjoyed in varied forms. Neat, over ice, or in cocktails, this liqueur adapts to your preference. Glassware choice can enhance the experience: a snifter for neat sips, or a rocks glass for an iced serve. Ideal serving temperature? Chilled, between 8-12°C (46-54°F), to accentuate its crisp apple flavor.

Tasting & Appreciation

Tasting apple liqueur requires attention to its unique characteristics. Observe its color, inhale its apple-infused aroma, then sip slowly. Evaluate the balance of sweetness, apple intensity, and alcohol smoothness. This approach deepens your appreciation and helps discern quality.

9. How to Use it in Cocktails?

  • Cocktails

Popular cocktails with apple liqueur (schnapps) include the Apple Martini, Apple Sour, Apple Old Fashioned, Apple Sangria. Its sweet-tart profile complements various spirits, making it a mixologist’s favorite.

  • Brands

Selecting the right apple liqueur brand can elevate your cocktail. Match the liqueur type with your cocktail’s flavor profile. For a less sweet and more complex touch to cocktails, use apple brandy like Calvados instead of an apple liqueur.

  • Tips

In cocktail mixing, balance is key. Pair apple liqueur with complementary flavors like citrus or spice. Experiment with ratios to find the perfect blend for your palate.

  • Substitutes

Cider or non-alcoholic substitutes like apple juice or syrup can mimic the flavor of an apple liqueur in cocktails. For an alcoholic alternative, pear liqueur or peach schnapps offer similar fruity notes.

10. How to Use it in the Kitchen?

  • Culinary Applications

Beyond cocktails, apple liqueur (schnapps) enhances cooking and baking. Its apple essence can enrich desserts like apple pies and tarts, or add a twist to savory sauces and glazes.

  • Food Pairings

Pair apple liqueur (schnapps) with foods that complement its sweet and tart profile. Cheese platters, particularly with cheddar or gouda, and spiced desserts like cinnamon rolls or gingerbread, harmonize beautifully with its flavors.

11. How to Store Apple Liqueur?


The storage of apple liqueur (schnapps) is crucial for maintaining its quality. Before opening, store it in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. After opening, it is best kept in a refrigerator to preserve its flavors. While freezing apple liqueur is not recommended, as it can alter its texture and taste, most apple liqueurs will not freeze due to their alcohol content.


Unopened apple liqueur can last for years, as the alcohol acts as a preservative. However, once opened, its quality gradually diminishes. It’s best consumed within 6 to 12 months after opening. The liqueur’s clarity, aroma, and flavor are indicators of its freshness.

12. History & Popularity


Apple liqueur’s history traces back to Europe, where fruits were often distilled into spirits. The exact origin is unclear, but it likely emerged in the 18th or 19th century, around the same time as other fruit liqueurs. Traditionally, it was crafted in regions known for apple cultivation.

Cultural Significance

Apple liqueur holds cultural significance in various regions, often associated with harvest celebrations and local customs. It’s seen as a representation of the local produce and culinary traditions.


This liqueur enjoys popularity globally, thanks to its versatile nature. It can be used in cocktails, cooking, or enjoyed on its own. Its sweet, fruity flavor appeals to a wide audience, making it a staple in many bars and homes.

13. Making Apple Liqueur (Schnapps) at Home

  • Ingredients:

You’ll need ripe apples, vodka or neutral spirit, sugar, and optional spices like cinnamon or vanilla.

  • Tools & Equipment:

A large jar, fine strainer, and bottles for storage are essential.

  • Preparation Steps:

Chop the apples and combine them with the alcohol in the jar. Let it infuse for about 2-4 weeks, then strain and add sugar syrup to taste. Age the liqueur for additional smoothness.

14. Nutrition in Apple Liqueur

  • ABV Content: Apple liqueur (schnapps) typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) content ranging from 15% to 30%, depending on the brand and recipe.
  • Sugar Content: It is relatively high in sugars and carbohydrates due to the added sugars and natural fructose from apples.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Most apple liqueurs are gluten-free, but it’s not universally vegan due to potential processing agents. Always check the label for specific allergens.


It’s important to consume apple liqueur responsibly. The information provided is for general purposes; please research and make informed decisions regarding dietary restrictions and alcohol consumption.

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