We all have that dust-covered bottle of mystery booze lingering at the back of a cabinet – the one with the kooky animal shape perhaps, or syrupy day-glo fluid. Most of us tend to dismiss such curiosities out of hand as mere gimmicks (may we suggest a sip of Cinnabon vodka?). Yet there's a big wonderful, or at the very least interesting, world beyond the usual and safe vodka-gin-whiskey-tequila club most of us cling to. Here are a dozen of the most intriguing or exotic concoctions we've seen from across the globe that you can actually buy and try yourself.
This creamy liqueur is made using the fruit of the African Marula tree – better known among Zulus as the marriage tree, as it is believed that its fruit confers fertility in women. Its sweet, caramel flavor has hints of nuttiness, perhaps due to Marula being in the same family as the cashew and pistachio. On its own or over ice it's great, but works well mixed just as you would with Baileys or Kahlua. [$21 for 750ml; amarula.com]