The bottle: Passoã passion fruit liqueur, $18.99.
The back story: In these pandemic-era days when we’re frequently playing bartender at home, we need all the help we can get. That means finding a key spirit or two that can add the right zest to a simply prepared drink.
As in a passion-fruit liqueur.
At least that’s how the clever folks behind Passoã are positioning their product, which they call the “number-one passion-fruit liqueur in the world” (yes, there is more than one). The spirit is hardly new — it was by produced in France starting in 1985, created by an experienced distiller who took inspiration from his travels to Brazil, where he found the fruit. But it more recently came under the umbrella of the Dutch-based Lucas Bols company, which is known both for its genever (a style of gin) and its liqueurs. Passoã has been available since 2017 in the U.S.
The brand says that what makes Passoã special is not just its exotic flavor — passion fruit has a tartness and sweetness that’s hard to compare with other fruits — but also its aforementioned versatility in drinks. “You can mix with it anything you can find in your fridge,” says Tanya Cohn, U.S. brand manager for Passoã.
The pitch must be working. Passoã saw its sales climb by 107% from 2018 to 2019.
What we think about it: This is a spirit that brings to mind warm-weather destinations — it has a distinct floral quality paired with the fruit’s telltale sweet-tart taste (though like most liqueurs, it leans more on the sweeter side). We wouldn’t be inclined to sip this on its own, but it certainly has its place in cocktails.
How to enjoy it: Sure enough, Passoã blends with lots of things, from ginger ale to tonic water. The brand says it can be paired with rosé wine for a quick-and-easy version of sangria (add some orange slices and strawberries, too). But we find it also goes well with plain ol’ soda water for a simple, effervescent cocktail.