So I wanted a cocktail, but something brightly, distinctively different. And I have those bottles, especially the ones almost filled and shoved to the back because after I used them once or twice, I could not figure out what else to do with them. Lack of imagination.

I saw this bottle labeled Tuaca and remembered I had originally bought it because it sounded so Mexican. I did not even read the details so blatantly obvious on the label: it’s Italian, not Mexican. Uh, well, it was Italian and the recipe is still Italian but Tuaca is now made in Louisville, Kentucky. The world is strange.

Tuaca dates from the Renaissance and this liquor has a mild flavor reflecting its ingredients of brandy, orange and vanilla. Modern Tuaca was resurrected 1938 in the Tuscan seaside town of Livorno, a lovely place for any tourist seeking Tuscan cuisine with a view of endless blue sea. The Tuaca plant in Livorno closed in 2010 and all production is now in Louisville which is indeed closer to, but not part of, Mexico.

I do love the flavor of Tuaca but I was mystified about how to use it. In all such cases, what do I do? I go to:


where I can interactively search for cocktails using an amazing tool:


Here you find cocktail ideas by selecting:

  • By base spirit
  • By liqueur
  • By wine/vermouth
  • By mixer
  • By style
  • By bartender

It’s just the best site on the web by a wide margin — or by a case if you measure in liquor terms. You can find cocktail ideas here and then, if you wish as I often do, amend them.

For Tuaca, the Giffords site suggested the Sophisticated Savage created by Paul Jensen. I was immediately intrigued because it combines Tuaca with Cachaҫa. Guess where my bottle of Cachaҫa was? Right there next to the Tuaca because my Cachaҫa repertoire had, to date, consisted only of Caiprinhas. I got a two for one thanks to Diffords!

I made the recipe as suggested and found it a tad formidable. So, I’ve added a little sugar syrup to mute the flavor, and I do prefer it. I’ve also doubled the amount of lime juice — because of the sugar. And the original recipe called for ½ of an egg white. I like foam. I used the entire egg white. As I said, you can use Giffords and follow the recipes religiously, or you can be inspired, creative and playful.

This is a lovely cocktail, sour + sweet, with plenty of oomph. It’s an ideal match for appetizers with their own zip, say shrimp with cocktail sauce.

Sophisticated Savage Ala Brian

Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 2 shots Tuaca
  • 2 shots Cachaҫa
  • 1 shot lime juice
  • 1 shot simple syrup
  • 1 egg white


Place all the ingredients in a cocktails shaker filled with ice. Shake very, very vigorously to ensure the egg white foams. Pour into a chilled champagne flute and sip to your pleasure.

Source: Diffordsguide.com