At-home revival for cream liqueurs

Sales of cream liqueurs have been booming over the last 12 months, with at-home consumers embracing the comfort food equivalent of the drinks world.

According to the IWSR 2020 Australia Report, cream liqueurs account for 38% volume share of total liqueurs and grew 34.7% in 2020. This growth was driven by consumers looking for versatile, authentic and comforting drinks that can be used to create cocktails at home and elevate, or even replace, desserts.

The category is a relatively new invention in the drinks world. It was created in 1973, during a 45-minute experiment by advertising gurus David Gluckman and Hugh Reade Seymour-Davies that resulted in Baileys Irish Cream.

The pair had been tasked by the International Distillers and Vintners (IDV) with creating a new Irish-centric alcoholic product with no brief. They decided to marry Ireland’s association with whiskey and high quality dairy. After mixing together a bottle of Jamesons Irish Whiskey, a tub of single cream and a few spoonfuls of Cadbury’s Powdered Drinking Chocolate, Baileys was born.

Australia was one of the first countries to fall in love with the liqueur.

“Whereas the wine and single malt buffs in the UK and Europe still held it at arm’s length, the Aussies had few pretensions and the local managing director, after a visit to the Baileys’ plant in Dublin, pronounced it in classic Australian fashion ‘a bloody good drop’,” notes David Gluckman in his book ‘That S*it Will Never Sell’.

“He promptly ordered a full container, the contents of which flew off the shelves as soon as it landed. He ordered two more. Baileys became so popular that liquor stores carried signs which said things like ‘It’ll be here in a week. Place your orders now.’”

Australia’s heady affair with cream liqueurs is on the rise again. And what was once a single-produce category has expanded as producers innovate to attract new consumers.

A South African creation called Amarula took out the award for World’s Best Cream Liqueur in 2020 at the World Liqueur Awards. The liqueur was born in Sub-Saharan Africa and contains the wild Marula fruit, which is gathered once sun-ripened, de-stoned, crushed and pulp fermented. It’s then aged in French oak barrels for at least two years and blended with cream. 

While relatively unknown in Australia until recently, Amarula sales grew by 22.9% in 2020.

“Globally, Amarula was first launched in 1989 and has been in the Australian market for over 10 years,” a brand spokesperson explained to Drinks Digest. “We have seen increased awareness and consumption of the product, primarily through social and influencer engagement, disrupting consumers on path-to-purchase such as in-store visibility, and driving trial through increased sampling. These are channels that we will continue to focus on to increase brand awareness and educate consumers about the products versatility through food and drinks recipes.”

“Amarula can be enjoyed as a post-dinner wind down treat with friends and family or as a key ingredient in cocktails like the espresso martini. Or try the Amarula Coco, which is a refreshing signature cocktail. The mixability of Amarula combined with coconut water over ice gives consumers a new way to enjoy Amarula that’s easy to make and easy to enjoy. Amarula also works as a key ingredient to many delicious deserts.”

Amarula Coco


  • 1 shot Amarula
  • 1 shot coconut water
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice


  1. In a cocktail shaker, mix Amarula with coconut water and shake on crushed ice.
  2. Pour the refreshing mix into a martini glass and serve chilled.
  3. Serve and enjoy.

To read a fascinating 6500 word extract from David Gluckman’s book, headlined “In 1973, I invented a ‘girly drink’ called Baileys”, click here

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Categories: Lifestyle