8 Shots: Amarula Cream

South Africans are on to something.

What follows is a review of a liquor and the experiences the writer had while consuming an unreasonable quantity of it.

1 Shot:Amarula Cream doesn’t taste like you’d expect it to taste because you – unless you’re from Pretoria – associate creamy, khaki liqueurs with a sort of coffee-meets-toffee taste and severe hangovers. Amarula Cream tastes like fruit. This is because it is made from the Amarula fruit, which grows on the great savannas of Southern Africa. It’s not unlike a pear, if said pear spent several hours grinding on a guava.

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2 Shots: The taste stays shocking for longer than expected. This is partly because Amarula is a drink that tends to follow other drinks – which is precisely what it is doing – and partly because the alcohol itself – at 17 percent by volume – isn’t much of a distraction. Still, the stuff is filling, which is presumably why the guy across the table, who is going shot for shot, has a shit-eating grin on his face.

3 Shots: Amarula is unbelievably creamy. It has a great mouth feel, but it’s a bad choice for anyone suffering from the scourge that is lactose intolerance. The stomach growls and wails – not unlike a South African lion.

4 Shots: The alcohol is not a problem. The problem is the inappropriate quantity. Amarula is sipped at by the fanciest Cape Townians in the Winelands. They are better than this. Hell, the drink is better than this.

5 Shots: The guy across the table loves the stuff. He’s swilling it around in his mouth like it’s mother’s milk. He isn’t from South Africa, but he’s spent some time there. This is a fact worth noting. 

6 Shots: You acclimate to that taste. They say that elephants walk hundreds of miles to eat the fruit of the “Marriage Tree” and that sounds less and less unreasonable. It’s a rounded flavor – like malt – with almost no citrus burn or cloying sweetness. It has found a sort of middle path. The Amarula is a buddhist fruit.

7 Shots: The feeling is not unlike being over-inflated into some sort of fleshy balloon. It’s definitely not pleasant – even if the drink itself is. And the heating, intended to counteract a cold front, isn’t helping. Dairy is best when it and the person consuming it are cold. The guy across the table doesn’t care about such niceties. He was words for people who do. They are the sort of words that even Die Antwoord would hesitate to shout.

8 Shots: Didn’t win the race, but still crossed the finish line. There’s honor in that even if there isn’t much to be said for throwing back good booze – good booze that made the trip from Stellenbosch.

Will Amarula ever be in massive demand stateside? Probably not, but local demand has just gone up. The guy across the table says he knows where to buy a bottle. He then says a lot of other stuff that doesn’t belong in print. He’s not drunk. He’s full to the point of belligerent incoherence.