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Throwback Drink of the Past: Pink Squirrel

We enjoy both ice cream and alcohol, and this pink cocktail is a delightful combination of both. Its liqueur almond flavor is extracted from apricot kernels, and when mixed with cold vanilla ice cream, it creates a delicious 1950s milkshake-style drink.

Indulge in a nostalgic cocktail that tastes like a dessert. It consists of vanilla ice cream, Crème de Cacao, and Crème de Almond, topped with whipped cream and a Maraschino cherry.

During my college years in California, I attended a dinner where I tried the pink squirrel cocktail for the first time. Unfamiliar with the drink menu, a fellow customer recommended the diner's famous pink squirrel. Upon ordering it, I immediately fell in love with the sweet and refreshing taste. As a blogger, I enjoy reviving past popular drinks and introducing retro cocktails to new audiences. The pink squirrel was a hit in the earlier days of soda shops, and it's a pleasure to share it with modern cocktail drinkers.

What’s in a Pink Squirrel?

Have you ever heard of the pink Squirrel drink? It's a light pink after-dinner drink that was invented in the 1940s at Bryant's Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee. It's made with two unique liqueurs, creme de noyaux and creme de cacao, and Vanilla Ice Cream. In the 1950s, it became a popular drink at Wisconsin supper clubs along with its cousin drinks, the Grasshopper. These supper clubs were known for serving boozy milkshake cocktails, and some versions of the pink Squirrel recipe include Heavy Cream. The classic pink Squirrel drink is made with equal parts of the three ingredients mentioned above.

What is crème de noyaux?

Are you curious about crème de noyaux? This unique ingredient is essential for making a pink Squirrel cocktail. Don't try to substitute it! Here's what you need to know about this intriguing liqueur:

Despite its name, crème de noyaux is not made from almonds but from the kernels of apricots, peaches, or cherries. This gives it an almond-like flavor and a syrupy sweet finish. It is most well-known for its use in the pink Squirrel cocktail, which requires it for a proper recipe.

What’s creme de cacao?

Crème de cacao is a sweet and syrupy liqueur with a chocolate flavor, meaning "chocolate cream" in French. It is a sweet alcoholic liqueur made from chocolate beans and is often scented with a hint of vanilla. The liqueur comes in two varieties - dark and white - and is commonly used in mocha martinis or coffee drinks. It can also be poured over desserts and ice cream for added sweetness.

Chocolate was first introduced to Europe in the 1600s as cacao beans from Mexico and South America. French monks were the first to produce documented chocolate alcohol. European monasteries experimented with tonics and wormwood wines for medicinal purposes, and one of these spirits was likely like today's crème de cacao.

Today, crème de cacao is readily available in both chocolate brown and transparent white varieties, both with the same sweet taste. This chocolate spirit grew in popularity during the 1980s and 1990s when dessert cocktails like the smooth chocolate martini and Brandy Alexander became trendy.


1 Ounce Crème de Almond (Crème de Noyaux)

1 Ounce White Crème de Cacao

2 scoops vanilla ice cream

Maraschino cherries and whipped cream for garnishing


Place the Crème de Cacao, Crème de Noyaux, and ice cream in a blender. Process just until smooth and fully mixed.

Pour into glasses. Top with whipped cream/topping, maraschino cherries, and paper straws as desired.

Handy Hints for Optimal Outcomes

  • I like the drink on the thicker side, like a milkshake, but for a thinner consistency, you can add more alcohol or even a little milk or cream.

  • Use a good quality vanilla ice cream that you like.

  • Use a blender for the quickest and easiest option, although you can mix the drink by hand if you must.

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