In these days of master mixology and cocktail snobbery, cream liqueur can be a hard sell. But Bailey’s tastes like watered down chocolate milk next to the silky, complex cream that is Amarula from South Africa. Made from the famed fruit of the marula tree–you know, the one you’ve seen on the Discovery Channel that elephants travel miles upon miles to reach, then butt up against with their heads until the plum-sized bright yellow fruit falls to the ground–it’s normally enjoyed over ice with dessert. Or for dessert. And why not? It tastes of chocolate-dipped strawberries with hints of mango, vanilla and caramel. You’ll even see it as an ingredient in cakes and puddings, such as the Amarula and Dark Chocolate Fondue at South African wine bar Xai Xai in Hell’s Kitchen.
And the big guy on the bottle? He’s a real four-ton African elephant named Sebaqwe who lives on a private game reserve near South Africa’s Kruger National Park near the Mozambican border and gets his picture taken for the bottle’s label every year. He isn’t exactly tame but has managed to learn a few tricks over the years, such as letting people ride him through the bush.