Liqueurs to Buy at Duty Free | Foolproof

By Madhura Rao August 31, 2016
Illustration: Brandon Joseph

Whether you’d like to admit it or not, as millennials collectively, our favourite pass time at an airport is walking through the aisles of the duty-free liquor shops. The sheer variety of alcohol is so exhaustive that you often cannot decide what to buy and what not to buy. The result? You end up with a bottle of whisky or vodka.

Not like there’s anything wrong with quality whisky or vodka but you’re kind of passing up an opportunity to turn your bar into the envy of the neighbourhood. How exactly, you may ask? Well, the difference between an average bar and an envy-worthy bar is liqueurs. For those of us who are a little confused over what a ‘liqueur’ is, it is any distilled spirit flavoured with herbs, fruits, nuts, and so on.

Besides having a well-stocked bar, you know what else the addition of liqueurs means? Brilliant cocktails, duh! So, we’ve made your job easier by compiling a list of must have liqueurs. Whenever you’re travelling next, all you got to do is have a quick look here!

The green fairy comes in all shapes and sizes. Image:

Bottles of Absinthe in all shapes and sizes. Image:

The green fairy, as this anise flavoured liqueur is often called, comes up in tales from your college trips. A dash of it takes your cocktail game a notch higher and it is oh-so-pretty to look at! Buy this only if you’re a super responsible adult who does not get tempted into doing absinthe shots.
Quick tip: Seriously, absinthe makes tequila look like milk. You’ve been warned!

Bailey’s Irish Cream
This one didn’t really need to be on the list because you probably already buy it whenever you happen to see it, but the list looked a little incomplete without it. Look out for the mint & chocolate, caramel, and coffee variants!
Quick tip: It’s not even called a bar if there isn’t Irish Cream in it.


An Apple Amaretto Cocktail. Image:

An extremely versatile almond flavoured liqueur of Italian origin. If you’re whisky person, you’re going to have great time shaking up some real excellent cocktails (have you googled the Godfather as a cocktail?) Besides using in cocktails, amaretto can be used in the making of various desserts or can be had with a scoop of ice cream too. Besides use in cocktails, amaretto can be used in the making of various desserts or can be had with a simple scoop of ice cream.
Quick tip: We recommend vanilla ice cream with this as a twist.

Cointreau is a French orange flavoured liqueur. It is bitter and has a very concentrated flavour hence rarely had on its own. Cointreau however, is the backbone of several popular cocktails. Having it sitting on your shelf would mean stellar margaritas and cosmopolitans!
Quick tip: This is a great weapon to have in your bar arsenal if you like bold flavours.

drambuie (2)


A scotch whisky based liqueur made using a secret formula! It has heather honey and various herbs and can be had by itself. The liqueur is spicy and makes for a good base spirit for cocktails. Although really, why mess with perfection?
Quick tip: Pour scotch and drambuie into a glass filled with ice cubes, stir well, add a lemon twist. Shake well over ice cubes in a shaker, strain into a cocktail glass.

Jagermeister . Image :

Jagermeister . Image :


I am a jagerbomb person and strongly advocate this herbaceous beauty. It is a German digestif and claims to have the extract of 56 herbs including liquorice, ginger, citrus peels, juniper berries, and ginseng. The name literally translates to ‘hunting master’. It makes for some very interesting shooters (and stories).
Quick tip: This is far cheaper at a Duty Free than in any Indian city.

Often termed as the most popular coffee liqueur in the world, the possibilities with this one are endless! Delicious desserts, spiked coffees, or a good old Kahlua on the rocks to complete a nice meal. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?
Quick tip: Makes for a great nightcap, even with just some milk.

Italy sure knows its liqueurs. Source: Pinterest

Another Italian liqueur! As the name suggests, it is a lemon flavoured spirit that can be added to shooters, cakes, cocktails or even fashioned into delicious sorbets. Limoncello is one of the few liqueurs that don’t cost a bomb. I don’t think I need to list down any more reasons, do I?
Quick tip: Ideal for anyone who favours sour flavours.

A Japanese melon flavoured drink that blends seamlessly with several fruity flavours. It isn’t very easy to find so if you do manage to get your hands on it, you can boast about your ‘rare liqueur collection’.
Quick tip: Its bright green colour makes it look as friendly as it tastes in a bright cocktail.

All the martini fans out there, all you need is a bottle of vermouth to stop buying super expensive martinis at the bar. Vermouth is a very versatile ingredient and is nothing but an aromatized (and fortified) wine. It can be had by itself as an aperitif.
Quick tip: If you want to be more like James Bond, this is a good first step.

Well, that looks like one promising shopping list, if I may say so myself. Hope you guys find these suggestions handy!