Just in time for the holidays, Amarula, the world-renowned maker of cream liqueurs, presents its vegan-certified plant-based innovation! An exotic taste sensation with gentle notes of caramel, vanilla and creamy coconut, finished with complex notes of Marula fruit, it’s a festive treat for those with dairy-, gluten- and nut-free dietaries. Both original and new plant-based Amarula, available at BC Liquor stores, are the perfect holiday sip; we chatted with Jaime Rendell, Amarula Canada brand manager, to learn more! —Vita Daily
Hi Jaime! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m the brand manager for some of the world’s most unique whiskeys and gins, and of course Amarula cream and now plant-based cream liqueur. What’s especially rewarding about my job is that Amarula has a long history of giving back; this charitable component is long-standing and spans so many areas, both geographically and in terms of causes, from conservation of the Marula tree to elephant stewardship, support of Black-owned businesses in South Africa as well as many important issues to Canadians, like local food banks, edible trees and the reduction of food waste.
We’re curious about Amarula—the brand, the drink and its history.
First introduced in 1983, Amarula was then sold commercially in South Africa in 1989 and then globally starting in 1994. Amarula is now sold in more than 100 countries, with a range of flavours available globally. In Canada, there are two Amarula cream liqueurs available: the original cream liqueur and, more recently, the vegan-certified plant-based option, which is also gluten-, lactose- and nut-free, made with coconut milk. All Amarula liqueurs start with the fruit from the Marula tree. Native to South Africa, they go by several names, among them: Morula, Jelly Plum, Cider, Elephant or Marriage tree. Every Amarula bottle has the image of an elephant on it and, in 2008, Amarula created the Elephant Trust. There are many nods to Amarula’s commitment to elephants, including the shape of the current bottle, which, in 2016, was designed into an elegantly tapered Jabulani bottle (named for an orphaned baby elephant who was later reintroduced into the wild). Each tassel is also hand-made by women in South Africa through a majority Black-women-owned co-op. The brand continues to innovate around the globe and is excited to offer Canadians who have food intolerances or allergies, or who are making plant-based part of their lifestyle, an indulgent liqueur to enjoy on ice or in one of the many cocktails we have on our site … including warm specialties, now that the weather is turning colder.
We’ve heard people refer to the new plant-based version of Amarula as a “game-changer” for vegans, dairy- and nut-allergic consumers. How so?
Plant-based products are often lacking in richness when it comes to mouth feel. In essence, you have to compromise. The other challenge is that other options that are plant-based also have nuts, so they are off limits for those with nut allergies. Amarula plant-based has had a wonderful response, including from folks who are not vegans and do not follow a plant-based diet. It’s truly a win-win for anyone looking for a light-yet-indulgent option, with the gentle notes of citrus and caramel that are common to Amarula liqueurs because of our signature Marula fruit. We believe as more people discover it, this new Amarula will continue to be popular in cocktails and recipes just like our traditional cream liqueur. And, with the growth in plant-based diets, the world really is your oyster. We’ve got a number of recipes on our site to inspire you year-round at amarulacanada.ca.
We’re certainly joyful that Amarula has finally landed on BC Liquor Store shelves in time for the holiday season. What’s the Canadian price point and why is it a must-have on the bar cart for Christmas?
It’s $30 and available across the province. Everyone loves cream liqueurs and more people are drinking them year-round. Our plant-based Margarita was a huge hit this summer. But, let’s face it, a coconut plant-based option in your latte makes for a wonderful new twist, in addition to the favourite pastime of Amarula in your winter-time coffee in the morning or post a brisk walk or cycle around the sea wall.
Last but not least, what’s your favourite way to serve Amarula to guests (especially at a holiday party)?
If you are having a holiday brunch, I would say Matcharula is sure to be a winner. It’s so different, healthy and something that people will enjoy as an indulgence to pair with both breakfast and lunch offerings. Amarula original with coconut water is also another really nice option to serve at brunch for those who are looking for a light dairy-based option. If you have a sweet tooth, you can skip dessert and indulge in the Hot Fudge Amarula Milkshake. Finally, given the season, you may be looking for a nightcap or a drink that keeps you going during the late-night festive scene, and for that I would say to go for a Holiday Kiss with a splash of fresh espresso, bourbon and nutmeg.You can find these recipes on our website as well as one from the renowned Vancouver-based Jeff Savage, who took part in our #NationalCookieExchange last year. Cheers.