If you’re looking for a drink that’s bound to be a conversation starter, look no further than the Pink Squirrel cocktail. Created in Milwaukee in the 1940s, this classic cocktail has a lot in common with other cream-based cocktails like the Brandy Alexander and the Grasshopper. All of them call for just three ingredients — two of which include white crème de cacao and heavy cream — and come together quickly in a cocktail shaker.
What makes the Pink Squirrel so special is the addition of crème de noyaux. This vibrant red-hued liqueur made from the pits of stone fruits (think: cherries, peaches, and apricots) is responsible for its pretty pink color. It’s also what makes this retro dessert cocktail taste just like a chocolate-covered almond. Here’s how to make this cute-yet-classy cocktail that goes down easy.
Why You’ll Love It
This retro cocktail isn’t just pretty — it also tastes like dessert (but doesn’t feel heavy).
It feels fancy, but you just need three ingredients and five minutes to make it.
Key Ingredients in a Pink Squirrel
Crème de noyaux. Gives the cocktail its pretty pink color and almond-like flavor. Tempus Fugit Spirits is a popular producer of the liqueur, but if it’s proving hard to find by you, I’ve included some swaps below.
White crème de cacao liqueur. A cocoa-flavored liqueur that adds subtle notes of chocolate and vanilla.
Heavy cream. Lends the drink its signature creaminess.
If you want to make it boozier, you can add a half-ounce of your choice of brandy (here’s a quick guide to brandy) or vodka.
For spiked milkshake vibes, you can add the ingredients (minus the heavy cream) and 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream to a blender and blend until smooth.
In place of crème de noyaux, you can substitute 3/4 ounce amaretto and 1/2 ounce cranberry juice, 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice, or 1 teaspoon maraschino cherry syrup (preferably from a jar of Luxardo cherries). It won’t be quite as pink and won’t taste as almondy, but it’ll still be tasty nonetheless.
Pink Squirrel Cocktail Recipe
A pretty pink cocktail that tastes like chocolate and almonds? Yes, please!
Prep time 5 minutes
3/4 ounce crème de noyaux, such as Tempus Fugit
3/4 ounce white crème de cacao liqueur
1 ounce cold heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
Place a 5-ounce coupe or a Nick and Nora glass in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 5 minutes.
Place 3/4 ounce crème de noyaux, 3/4 ounce white crème de cacao liqueur, and 1 ounce cold heavy cream in a cocktail shaker. Add enough ice to fill the shaker halfway full. Seal the shaker and shake until the outside of the shaker is cold and frosty, about 20 seconds.
Pour through a double strainer into the glass. Finely grate nutmeg over the surface.
Substitutions: You can substitute 3/4 ounce amaretto and 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice for the 3/4 ounce crème de noyaux.