What is Advocaat?

Niki Foster
Niki Foster

Advocaat is a creamy European liqueur made of eggs or egg yolks, brandy, and sugar. Ingredients can also include honey, vanilla, and cream or evaporated milk. It has a custard-like flavor and a smooth consistency, and it ranges from 14 to 20 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). The drink is similar to eggnog, the Mexican drink rompope, and the Polish beverage ajerkoniak. Advocaat is traditionally enjoyed during Easter in the Netherlands.

A can of evaporated milk, which is used in making advocaat.
A can of evaporated milk, which is used in making advocaat.

According to legend, the name for advocaat is derived from the Dutch word for avocado. Supposedly, the first version of the bverage was made with avocados, by Dutch settlers living in Suriname and Recife in South America, and since no avocados were available back in the Netherlands, they simulated the drink with eggs. This story is likely nothing more than folk etymology, however. Advocaat is also dutch for "laywer," and the drink may be so called because it was once considered a lawyer's beverage of choice.

Advocaat includes cognac or another brandy.
Advocaat includes cognac or another brandy.

Advocaat is enjoyed on its own as an aperitif before meals or a digestif after meals, often in a wide glass topped with cocoa powder and whipped cream. It may also be poured over waffles, cakes, pastries, ice cream, and other sweets. It commonly serves as the centerpiece of cocktails. In Italy, especially in ski resorts, it is mixed with hot coffee, brandy, and rum or whiskey to make a Bombardino. Another popular advocaat cocktail is the Snowball, which adds sparkling lemonade to the liqueur.

The name for advocaat reportedly owes its name to the Dutch word for avocado.
The name for advocaat reportedly owes its name to the Dutch word for avocado.

Advocaat can be purchased in bottles or made fresh. The bottled variety is often much thinner and does not contain egg whites. In continental Europe, the liqueur is often served very thick and eaten with a spoon, like a pudding.

Advocaat is traditionally enjoyed during Easter in the Netherlands.
Advocaat is traditionally enjoyed during Easter in the Netherlands.

To make your own advocaat, beat ten egg yolks with half a teaspoon of salt and one and one third cups of sugar, while slowly pouring one and one half cups of brandy or cognac into the mixture. Warm the mixture in a saucepan over low heat while continually whisking. Be careful not to bring it to a boil, or the alcohol will begin to evaporate.

When the liquid coats the back of a spoon, it is ready to come off the heat. Whisk in two tablespoons of vanilla extract, and the liqueur is complete. It can be served warm or chilled. Top with whipped cream and cocoa powder and serve in a large glass with a spoon.

In Italian ski resorts, Advocaat liqueur is mixed with whiskey to make a Bombardino.
In Italian ski resorts, Advocaat liqueur is mixed with whiskey to make a Bombardino.
Niki Foster
Niki Foster

In addition to her role as a wiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

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