Liqueur: What To Know

Liqueurs are distilled spirits with flavourings like fruits, herbs, and spices. These sweet alcoholic beverages can be used to make cocktails or served on their own as aperitifs or digestifs.

What Is Liqueur?

Liqueurs are sweet, heavy drinks with complex flavours. At a distillery, liqueurs are made by adding fruits, sugar, cream, spices, herbs, nuts, and flavourings to a neutral spirit base. The sweetness of liqueurs is their most common feature, though their sugar content can vary greatly. Orange liqueurs, herbal liqueurs, and coffee liqueurs are all popular types of liqueurs.

15 Types of Liqueurs

There is a wide range of liqueurs, from cream-based to proprietary recipes. Some of the most popular types of liqueurs include:

  • Amaretto: Amaretto is an Italian liqueur made from apricot kernels, which impart a distinct bitter almond flavour to the spirits. It gets its name from the Italian word for “bitter,” amaro. Brown sugar’s sweeter notes balance out the bitterness of the apricot pits. Amaretto contains 21 to 28% alcohol by volume (ABV) and can be sipped alone or mixed into cocktails.
  • Amaro: Amaro is a general term for a variety of regional Italian bitters. This bitter liqueur is a staple in the Italian lifestyle, made from either a neutral spirit or brandy. Each amaro has a distinct flavour due to a carefully curated blend of botanical ingredients, which typically includes herbs, spices, and flowers, as well as barks and roots such as gentian root, cinchona, and wormwood. Popular amaro liqueur brands include Campari, Cynar, Fernet Branca, and Aperol.
  • Anise liqueurs: Anice, the primary flavouring agent in black licorice, is a popular ingredient in many countries and cultures, including Ouzo in Greece, Sambuca and Galliano in Italy, Pernod Absinthe in France, and Raki in Turkey.
  • Chambord: Chambord is a well-known raspberry-flavoured liqueur. Red and black raspberries, honey, vanilla, and cognac are among the ingredients. Chambord works well in Raspberry Mojitos and Raspberry Margaritas.
  • Cream liqueurs: These thick, sweet liqueurs are made with milk or a milk substitute, as well as sweetener, to give the drink a creamy sweetness. Cream liqueurs include Baileys Irish Cream liqueur and Amarula.
  • Creme liqueurs: Creme liqueurs are syrup-like, thick beverages. Creme liqueurs, unlike cream liqueurs, do not contain dairy. Instead, added sugar thickens the mixture. This category includes flavours such as crème de cassis (made from blackcurrants), crème de cacao (a chocolate liqueur), and crème de menthe.
  • Coffee liqueurs: These liqueurs contain caffeine and have a strong coffee flavour. Coffee liqueurs, such as Mexico’s Kahlua or Ireland’s Sheridan, are typically served with cream and sugar.
  • Elderflower liqueurs: Add a light floral note to cocktail recipes with these herbal liqueurs. St. Germain is a well-known elderflower liqueur.
  • Limoncello: Limoncello is a lemon-flavored liqueur. Limoncello is a strong, sweet, and vibrant yellow liquor.
  • Medicinal: Some liqueurs, such as Chartreuse and Benedictine, were originally used as medicines. These liqueurs are floral and complex, with an ingredient list that is kept under wraps.
  • Orange liqueurs: These liqueurs have a strong orange flavour and are commonly known as curaçao or Triple Sec. Cointreau and Grand Marnier are two well-known brands.
  • Schnapps: Some schnapps are not liqueurs, but those with added sweetness and flavouring agents, such as peach schnapps and peppermint schnapps, are.
  • Drambuie: This Scottish liqueur is made with Scotch whisky as the base spirit and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices.
  • Frangelico: This Italian liqueur is flavoured with roasted hazelnuts and comes in a bottle shaped like a Christian monk, complete with a rope belt.
  • Strega: Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur with the same name as the Italian word for witch. Saffron provides the liqueur with its distinctive yellow colour and flavour.

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