Crème de Noyaux

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Crème de Noyaux
ManufacturerBols, Hiram Walker, Tempus Fugit
Alcohol by volume20% U.S, 40% original and French
Proof (US)40 U.S., 80 original and French
ColorPink or clear

Crème de Noyaux (pronounced [kʁɛm də nwajo]) is an almond-flavored crème liqueur, although it is actually made from apricot kernels or the kernels of peach or cherry pits, which provide an almond-like flavor.[1][2] Both Bols and Hiram Walker produce artificially colored red versions of the liqueur (either of which contribute the pink hue to Pink Squirrel cocktails) while Noyau de Poissy from France is available in both clear (blanc) and barrel-aged amber (ambre) versions.

Historically, crème de noyaux would contain trace amounts of hydrogen cyanide, which is poisonous. Although the chemical was not normally present in a dangerous intensity, bottles of 19th-century Noyaux left for decades in the cellar would sometimes have all the cyanide float up to the top, with lethal results for the drinker of the first glass.[3] Dorothy Sayers used this peculiarity of the old Crème de Noyaux in her short story "Bitter Almonds" (collected in In the Teeth of the Evidence, 1939).

The name comes from the French noyau: "kernel, pit, or core". It is an ingredient in the Fairbank cocktail,[4] the Pink Squirrel cocktail[5] and in a cocktail called Old Etonian.[6]

In 2013, Tempus Fugit Spirits recreated a 19th-century-style Crème de Noyaux — distilling both apricot and cherry pits, amongst other botanicals, and coloring the liqueur with red cochineal, as was done in the past. Care was taken to remove the trace elements of hydrogen cyanide produced in the process.


  1. ^ "Best of Sicily Magazine". Amaretto. Roberta Gangi. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  2. ^ Rowley, Matthew (6 November 2008). "If I Had a Hammer: Ratafia aux Noyau Just in Time for Christmas". Rowley's Whiskey Forge. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  3. ^ Alan H. Hall; Gary E. Isom; Gary A. Rockwood (12 October 2015). Toxicology of Cyanides and Cyanogens: Experimental, Applied and Clinical Aspects. Wiley. p. xix. ISBN 978-1-118-62895-9.
  4. ^ "Vintage Cocktail Project: Fairbank Cocktail". Our Libatious Nature. 7 April 2007. Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Pink Squirrel". The Webtender. 7 May 1995. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Old Etonian Cocktail". Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2011.