There are a few liqueurs that are in common rotation behind the bar. Liqueurs like curaçao, Grand Marnier, St-Germain, amaretto and maraschino are all mainstays required to make a majority of the classic cocktail canon. However, there are literally hundreds of other liqueurs available. And while some of these sweet spirits deserve to fade into obscurity, others are worth reviving. Here, bartenders reveal their favorite forgotten liqueurs. Grab a bottle and get mixing.
Rakomelo and Mastiha
“Rakomelo is a super traditional liqueur from Greece that is made by infusing honey and cinnamon in tsipouro, or Greek grappa. It has a delicious natural sweetness and reminds me of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. It works great in bourbon and rum cocktails, and everyone who I give a taste to loves the flavor. Mastiha is indigenous to the Greek island of Chios, which is the only place in the world that produces mastic tears—nature’s first chewing gum. It’s a tree resin that dries into these waxy pebbles that you can chew. The flavor of mastiha is very mysterious and unlike anything most people have ever had. The texture is fantastic and coats your mouth with this rich herbal, refreshing zing. It works great in cocktails and it can be enjoyed neat. I always keep a bottle in the freezer to give little tastes to my bar regulars.” — Johnny Livanos, Ousia, New York, NY