Hazelnut Liqueur (Noisette, Nocciole): 14 Things You Should Know [The Ultimate Guide]

1. What is Hazelnut Liqueur (Noisette, Nocciole)?

Hazelnut liqueur, noisette or nocciole, is a rich and aromatic spirit with a distinct nutty flavor profile complemented by sweet and smooth undertones. Its appearance ranges from clear to deep amber, influenced by its base alcohol, typically a blend of vodka or brandy, and the infusion of real hazelnuts, with optional added ingredients.

The production process involves maceration or distillation, often incorporating additional flavorings like vanilla or cocoa. Varieties include pure hazelnut essences and creamy blends. Brands like Frangelico and Nocello exemplify this category, with prices spanning from $10 to $40.

Serving suggestions include neat sipping, over ice, or as a versatile cocktail ingredient, enhancing classics like the Hazelnut Martini. In cuisine, it adds depth to desserts and sauces. Its alcohol by volume (ABV) typically ranges from 15-30%.

Hazelnut liqueur is also known as “noisette” in French, “nocciole” in Italian, and in some regions, it may be labeled as hazelnut schnapps or hazelnut flavored spirit.

2. Hazelnut Liqueur Factsheet

  • Names: Hazelnut Liqueur, Noisette, Nocciole, Hazelnut Schnapps
  • Flavor Profile: Nutty, sweet, hints of vanilla and cocoa
    • Aroma: Rich hazelnut, with subtle sweet and roasted notes
    • Appearance: Clear to deep amber
  • Production Process: Maceration or distillation, flavor infusion
    • Base Alcohol: Vodka or brandy
    • Ingredients: Hazelnuts, sometimes vanilla or cocoa
  • Types: Pure, creamy, blended
    • Top Brands: Frangelico, Nocello, DeKuyper
    • Price Range: $10 – $40 (USD)
  • Serving Suggestions: Neat, over ice, in cocktails
    • Cocktail Examples: Hazelnut Martini, Nutty Irishman, Hazelnut Old Fashioned
    • Cuisine Use: Desserts, sauces
  • Shelf Life: 2-3 years after opening
    • Storage: Cool, dark place
  • History: Originated in Europe
    • Popularity: Widely enjoyed globally
  • ABV: 15-30%
    • Sugar Content: Varies, generally medium to high

3. What Does it Taste Like?

  • Flavor Profile/Palate:

Hazelnut liqueur offers a balanced profile of sweet and nutty flavors. The palate experiences a smooth, almost creamy taste with a complexity that unfolds revealing hints of vanilla, chocolate, and a subtle spicy finish.

  • Aroma/Nose:

The aroma is predominantly of rich hazelnuts, complemented by sweet, sometimes roasted nuances, creating a welcoming and indulgent olfactory experience.

  • Appearance/Color:

The liqueur’s color varies from crystal clear in pure varieties to a deeper amber hue in blends, reflecting its richness and depth of flavor. The transparent liqueur becomes opaque with the addition of cream.

4. How is it Made?


The primary ingredient is hazelnuts, often alongside a neutral spirit like vodka or a rich brandy. Additional flavorings, such as vanilla or cocoa, may be included to enhance the liqueur’s complexity. Sometimes, cream is added for an even more decadent texture and flavor.

Production Process

The general process involves either macerating hazelnuts in the base alcohol or distilling them together. Some producers adhere to traditional methods, while others may incorporate modern techniques to extract a purer hazelnut essence. The liqueur is then sweetened, and sometimes aged, to develop its characteristic flavor profile.

5. Types


Hazelnut liqueur, a sweet, nutty alcoholic beverage, varies in flavor intensity, texture, and alcohol content. Major categories include:

1. Cream-Based Hazelnut Liqueurs: Rich, creamy texture, often lower in alcohol content. One of regional examples is Dolce Cilento Nocciole Italian Cream Liquour.

2. Pure Hazelnut Liqueurs: Stronger hazelnut flavor, higher alcohol percentage. The classic Frangelico, arguably the most popular hazelnut liqueur, belongs into this category.

3. Blended Hazelnut Liqueurs: Mixed with other flavors like chocolate or coffee. For example, Nocello by Toschi combines hazelnuts with walnuts, and Kahlua Hazelnut mixes hazelnuts with coffee.

Cream-based noisette liqueurs are smoother and milder, pure hazelnut has a more intense nut flavor, and blended varieties offer a complex taste profile with additional flavors.

6. Brands of Hazelnut Liqueur

Top Brands

  1. Frangelico: Classic, pure hazelnut liqueur, known for its rich hazelnut flavor and hint of vanilla and dark chocolate.
  2. Nocello by Toschi: A blend of hazelnuts and walnuts, known for its balanced nutty flavor.
  3. DeKuyper Hazelnut Liqueur: Offers a sweet, straightforward hazelnut flavor, known for its availability, affordability and versatility in cocktails and cooking.
  4. Dolce Cilento Nocciole Italian Cream Liquour: Creamy hazelnut liqueur from Italy.

Brand Comparison

  • Frangelico vs. DeKuyper: Frangelico offers a richer, more refined hazelnut taste, while DeKuyper is more versatile for casual mixed drinks.
  • Frangelico vs. Nocello: Frangelico is renowned for its singular focus on pure hazelnut flavor, offering a sweet, slightly spicy profile, ideal for those who prefer a classic hazelnut taste. Nocello stands out with its unique hazelnut and walnut blend, providing a more complex, layered nutty flavor that appeals to those seeking a diverse taste experience.
  • Dolce Cilento Nocciole: This liqueur offers a luxurious texture and mouthfeel because of the addition of cream into the nocciole.

7. Buying Guide

Prices & Best Buys

The price range for a hazelnut liqueur is approximately US$10-40. Premium hazelnut liqueurs offer a more complex flavor profile, often with superior ingredients and meticulous production processes. They’re worth it for connoisseurs or special occasions.

  • Budget: $10-$20
    • Best Buy: DeKuyper Hazelnut Liqueur
  • Mid-Range: $20-$30
    • Best Buy: Frangelico
  • Premium: $30+
    • Best Buy: Nocello by Toschi

Buying Tips

When selecting hazelnut liqueur, consider:

  1. Taste: Preference for pure hazelnut or blended flavors.
  2. Ingredients: Quality of hazelnuts, alcohol base.
  3. Production: Methods used in distillation and flavor infusion.
  4. Use Case: For sipping, cooking, or cocktails.
  5. Brand Reputation: Established brands usually offer consistency.
  6. Price: Aligns with your budget and intended use.

8. How to Drink it?

Serving Guide

Hazelnut liqueur offers versatility in serving options. Ideal for sipping neat or over ice, its rich, nutty flavor also enhances cocktails. For a refined experience, serve it in a snifter at room temperature (18-22°C/64-72°F) to fully appreciate its aroma and flavor. Creamy versions are best served chilled or over ice.

Tasting & Appreciation

To properly taste hazelnut liqueur, observe its color, inhale its aroma, and then sip slowly. Quality is marked by a balance of sweetness and the authentic flavor of hazelnuts. Look for a smooth, lingering finish.

9. How to Use it in Cocktails?

  • Cocktails

Hazelnut liqueur is a star in cocktails like the Hazelnut Martini, Nutty Irishman and Hazelnut Old Fashioned. Its sweet, nutty profile complements both creamy and coffee-flavored drinks.

  • Mixers

Hazelnut liqueur mixes well with vodka, whisk(e)y, and other liqueurs with creamy, nutty, chocolate or coffee flavors. For a non-alcoholic version, blend with coffee, soda or cream-based mixers.

  • Brands

Some cocktails pair better with specific brands. Frangelico, known for its balanced hazelnut flavor, is great for lighter cocktails, while stronger brands suit bolder mixes.

  • Substitutes

Liqueurs and syrups with nutty flavors can substitute hazelnut liqueur in cocktails, offering a similar nutty sweetness. Try amaretto liqueur, hazelnut or almond syrup.

  • Tips

For cocktail mixing, balance hazelnut liqueur’s sweetness with acidic or bitter components. Shake well to integrate its viscous texture.

10. How to Use it in the Kitchen?

  • Culinary Applications

Beyond cocktails, hazelnut liqueur enhances desserts and savory dishes. Drizzle over ice cream, blend into cake batters, or add a splash to sauces for a nutty twist.

  • Food Pairings

Pair hazelnut liqueur with foods that complement its sweetness and nuttiness. Chocolate desserts, cheese platters, and fruit-based dishes are excellent choices.

11. How to Store it?


Hazelnut liqueur’s storage method impacts its flavor and shelf life. Before and after opening, it’s best kept in a cool, dark place like a cabinet. Refrigeration is optional but recommended, especially after opening to preserve freshness. Freezing is not advised as it can alter the texture and flavor profile, though hazelnut liqueur generally does not freeze due to its alcohol content.


Unopened hazelnut liqueur can last for years, retaining its quality. Once opened, its optimal flavor lasts about six months. Quality diminishes gradually, so it’s advisable to consume within a year of opening for the best taste experience.

12. History & Popularity

  • Origins

Hazelnut liqueur has roots in European culinary traditions, dating back centuries. Originating from regions known for hazelnut cultivation, its creation is often attributed to Italian and French artisans. Developed by infusing hazelnuts in alcohol, it combines local ingredients and traditional distilling methods.

  • Cultural Significance

This liqueur holds cultural significance in regions known for hazelnut production, often featured in local celebrations and culinary traditions. Its versatility in cocktails and cooking makes it a staple in many cultures.

  • Popularity

Hazelnut liqueur enjoys worldwide popularity for its rich, nutty flavor. It’s versatile in mixology, used in cocktails, coffee drinks, and desserts. Its unique taste appeals to a wide audience, making it a popular choice in bars and homes globally.

13. Making it at Home

Recipe for

Hazelnut Liqueur

  1. Ingredients: To make hazelnut liqueur, you’ll need raw hazelnuts, vodka or a neutral spirit, sugar, and vanilla extract.
  2. Tools & Equipment: A jar for infusing, a strainer, and a bottle for storage are essential.
  3. Preparation Steps: Roast hazelnuts, then infuse them in alcohol for several weeks. Strain the nuts, add a sugar syrup, and allow the mixture to settle before bottling.

14. Nutrition

  • ABV Content

Hazelnut liqueur typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) content ranging from 15-30%, making it a moderately strong spirit.

  • Sugar Content

This liqueur contains carbohydrates and sugars, derived primarily from the sugar syrup used in its preparation. Exact amounts can vary depending on the recipe.

  • Dietary Restrictions

Most hazelnut liqueurs are gluten-free and suitable for a vegan diet. However, individuals with nut allergies should avoid it. As with all dietary choices, it’s essential for consumers to research and make informed decisions.


It’s crucial to consume hazelnut liqueur responsibly and in moderation. Drinkers should be aware of their dietary restrictions and consult health professionals if necessary. Responsibility for consumption lies with the individual.

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