Lychee Liqueur: 14 Things You Should Know [The Ultimate Guide]

1. What is Lychee Liqueur?

Lychee liqueur, a sweet, fragrant alcoholic beverage, is celebrated for its distinctive flavor, resembling the lychee fruit. Originating in Asia, this liqueur typically exhibits a clear or slightly pink hue and is crafted from a base alcohol like vodka or other neutral spirits, infused with lychee fruit.

Its flavor profile ranges from sweet to subtly tart, with a rich floral aroma. Lychee liqueur varies in types, from pure infusions to blends with other fruits or spices. Serving suggestions include sipping neat, over ice, or in cocktails like the Lychee Martini. In cuisine, it’s a popular addition to desserts and sauces.

Brands like Soho and Kwai Feh exemplify different styles. Price-wise, it’s generally affordable, ranging from $15 to $30 in the U.S. Its history, while not precisely dated, is deeply rooted in Asian culture. The versatility and popularity of lychee liqueur are evident in its growing global presence, with an Alcohol by Volume (ABV) typically around 15-25%.

Alternative Names

Lychee liqueur may also be referred to as “lychee schnapps” or “lychee cordial” in some contexts. These alternative names often indicate slight variations in the production process or flavor profile but are fundamentally rooted in the same lychee essence.

2. Factsheet

  • Flavor: Sweet, slightly tart, with a rich floral essence.
    • Aroma: Distinctly floral, reminiscent of fresh lychees.
    • Appearance: Clear to slightly pink.
  • Production: Infusion of lychee fruit in a base alcohol.
    • Base: Typically vodka or neutral spirits.
    • Ingredients: Lychee fruit, sometimes combined with other fruits or spices.
  • Types: Pure lychee infusions and blended varieties.
    • Brands: Soho, Kwai Feh.
    • Price: $15 – $30 in the U.S.
  • Serving: Neat, over ice, in cocktails (e.g., Lychee Martini).
    • Cocktails: Lychee Martini, Lychee Liqueur Spritz.
    • Cuisine: Desserts, sauces.
  • Shelf Life: Several years, best within a year after opening.
    • Storage: Cool, dark place.
  • History: Asian origins, exact dates unclear.
    • Popularity: Increasing globally.
  • ABV: 15-25%.
    • Sugar: Varies, generally high.

3. What does it taste like?

  • Flavor Profile: Lychee liqueur offers a sweet, subtly tart taste, with a complexity that includes notes of rose and other floral nuances. The balance between sweetness and tartness adds to its appeal, making it a versatile ingredient.
  • Aroma/Nose: The aroma is predominantly floral, closely mirroring the scent of fresh lychees, with hints of citrus and rose.
  • Appearance/Color: It generally presents a clear or pale pink appearance, reflecting its delicate and refined nature.

4. How is it made?

  • Ingredients: The primary ingredient is lychee fruit. Some varieties may include additional fruits or spices for complexity.
  • Production Process: The process involves infusing lychee fruit in a base alcohol, often followed by sweetening. The methods can vary, with some traditional practices steeping the fruit for extended periods, while modern techniques might involve flavor extraction methods for consistency.

5. Types


Lychee liqueur, a popular fruit liqueur, comes in various styles. Some are sweet and syrupy, while others are more subtle and aromatic. Key categories include pure lychee liqueurs, which focus solely on the lychee flavor, and blended varieties, where lychee is mixed with other flavors like coconut or citrus. Brands like Soho and Lichido offer pure lychee expressions, while others like Kwai Feh combine lychee with additional flavors.

Key Differences

The main variations lie in sweetness, alcohol content, and flavor complexity. Pure lychee liqueurs typically have a more pronounced lychee flavor and are sweeter, ideal for cocktails or sipping. Blended varieties tend to be more complex and less sweet, suitable for more sophisticated drink recipes.

6. Brands

Top Brands

  1. Soho: Known for its intense lychee aroma and balanced sweetness, Soho falls under the pure lychee category.
  2. Lichido: This brand stands out for its blend of lychee, vodka, and cognac, offering a unique twist on the traditional lychee liqueur.
  3. Kwai Feh: Offers a subtler lychee flavor with hints of other fruits, appealing to those who prefer less sweetness.

Brand Comparison

Soho is ideal for those seeking a strong lychee flavor, while Lichido caters to those looking for a sophisticated, spirit-forward option. Kwai Feh is best for cocktail enthusiasts who enjoy experimenting with different flavor profiles.

7. Buying Guide

Price Range: Prices vary from $15 to $40, depending on the brand and quality. Premium brands may cost more.

Buying Tips

  1. Taste: Look for a balance between sweetness and lychee flavor.
  2. Ingredients: Pure lychee liqueurs usually have fewer additives.
  3. Production: Distillation methods affect the purity and taste.
  4. Use Case: Consider if it’s for cocktails or sipping neat.
  5. Brand Reputation: Well-known brands often guarantee quality.
  6. Price: More expensive doesn’t always mean better; choose based on personal preference and use case.

Best Buys

  • Budget: Lychee liqueurs under $20 are great for casual use in cocktails.
  • Moderate: $20-$30 range offers good balance for regular drinkers.
  • Premium: Above $30, ideal for connoisseurs and special occasions.

Premium – worth it?

Premium lychee liqueurs often have a more refined flavor profile and smoother texture, making them worth the extra cost for enthusiasts or for special occasions.

8. How to drink it?

Serving Guide

Lychee liqueur, a sweet and aromatic spirit, is best enjoyed in a variety of ways. Serve this liqueur in a tulip glass to enhance its delicate floral aromas. Ideal serving temperature ranges between 8-12°C (46-54°F). It can be savored neat, over ice, or as a key component in cocktails and mixed drinks.

Tasting & Appreciation

To properly taste and evaluate the quality of lychee liqueur, first observe its clarity and color. Swirl gently to release aromas. Savor the scent, noting the balance between sweetness and the distinct lychee fragrance. When tasting, let the liqueur coat your palate to fully appreciate its texture and flavor profile, which should harmoniously blend sweetness with a light, fruity lychee essence.

9. How to use it in cocktails?


Lychee liqueur is a popular ingredient in a variety of cocktails. The Lychee Martini and Lychee Mojito are among the most favored. Its sweet, floral notes blend exceptionally well with spirits like vodka and rum, adding a unique twist to classic recipes.


Certain brands of lychee liqueur pair better with different cocktails. For instance, a high-quality, intensely flavored lychee liqueur is ideal for a Lychee Martini, whereas a lighter, more subtly flavored brand might be preferred in a Lychee Mojito or mixed drinks where the liqueur is not the primary focus.


When mixing lychee liqueur in cocktails, balance is key. Its sweetness can overpower other flavors, so adjust the proportions carefully. Using fresh ingredients, like lime or mint, can complement and elevate the lychee flavor.


For an alcohol-free alternative, consider lychee syrup or juice. These can mimic the fruit’s essence in mocktails. Other fruit liqueurs, like peach or raspberry, can be used as alcoholic substitutes, though they will impart a different flavor profile.

10. How to use it in the kitchen?

Culinary Applications

Beyond cocktails, lychee liqueur finds its way into culinary creations. Its sweet and floral notes can enhance desserts like sorbets, fruit salads, and pastries. It can also be a unique addition to savory dishes, offering a sweet contrast in glazes for poultry or seafood.

Food Pairings

Pair lychee liqueur with foods that complement its sweet, floral nature. It works well with Asian cuisine, especially dishes with a balance of sweet and spicy elements. In desserts, pair it with fruits like mango or coconut to accentuate its tropical flavor profile.

11. How to store it?

  • Storage: Lychee liqueur should be stored in a cool, dark place before opening. Post-opening, refrigeration is recommended, especially to preserve its delicate flavors. Freezing is not advisable as it can alter the texture and taste.
  • Shelf-life: Unopened, lychee liqueur can last several years. Once opened, its optimal quality is maintained for about 6 to 12 months. Always check for any changes in color, aroma, or flavor as indicators of spoilage.

12. History & Popularity

  • History and Origins: Lychee liqueur originated in regions where lychee is native, likely in China. Its creation was driven by the desire to infuse the distinct sweet and floral notes of lychee into a versatile drink.
  • Cultural and Social Significance: Lychee liqueur holds a special place in Asian cultures, often associated with luxury and exotic flavors. It has also gained global appeal, symbolizing a fusion of Eastern and Western tastes.
  • Popularity and Versatility: Its popularity has soared due to its versatility in cocktails and culinary uses. Lychee liqueur is a favorite in bars and homes for creating unique, refreshing drinks.

13. How to make it at home?

Homemade Recipe

To make lychee liqueur at home:

  1. Peel and deseed fresh lychees (or use canned lychees).
  2. Soak the lychees in a neutral spirit like vodka for a few weeks.
  3. Strain the mixture and add sugar syrup to taste.
  4. Allow the mixture to age for additional depth of flavor.

14. Nutrition

  • ABV content: Lychee liqueur typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) content ranging from 15% to 25%.
  • Carbohydrate and sugar content: This liqueur is high in sugars, contributing to its sweet taste. The carbohydrate content varies by brand but is generally significant due to added sugars.
  • Dietary Restrictions: Most lychee liqueurs are gluten-free and vegan, but it’s crucial to check individual brands for specific dietary compliance. Allergen information should also be reviewed.


Enjoy lychee liqueur responsibly. Moderation is key, and individuals should conduct their own research and make informed decisions about consumption.

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