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What Is Frangelico?

Take a good glance at your neighborhood bar, and you may find a bottle of Frangelico tucked in amongst the collection of spirits, liqueurs, and bitters. But what is it exactly, and what's the deal with its unusual bottle shape? We've got answers:

Fran-gel-i-what? And What's With the Oddly Shaped Bottle?

Legend has it that Fra' Angelico, an 18th century Piedmontese monk, concocted a delectable hazelnut liqueur that Frangelico takes its inspiration from. The richly nutty Italian hazelnut liqueur pays homage to Fra' Angelico both in name and bottle shape — it's meant to mimic a monk's habit, right down to the cord around the waist.

How's It Made?

Frangelico is primarily flavored with a prized variety of hazelnuts called Tonda Gentile, which are grown in Southern Piedmont. Before an alcohol base is infused with these buttery nuts, the hazelnuts are toasted and then crushed to enhance their flavor. After the hazelnuts have given up their flavor, the hazelnut distillate is combined with other flavorings including cocoa, coffee, and vanilla, according to a secret recipe. The spirit is then sweetened with sugar and cut with water until it is a sippable 20 percent alcohol.

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What's the Best Way to Drink It?

Like most liqueurs, Frangelico can be mixed into a variety of cocktails; for the simplest way to enjoy it, serve it on the rocks (lime wedges are optional, but recommended) or chilled and straight up. Or cozy up with a mug of hot chocolate spiked with a generous pour for a boozy, Nutella-esque treat.

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