A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage , complimented by notes of Fruit, Cream, Herbs, Spices, Flowers or Nuts with the addition of sugar or other sweeteners. Liqueurs are generally very sweet, of thicker consistency and are typically not stored or aged in barrels.
They can however undergo rest periods during the production so that the flavors can develop better.
History of the liqueur
Liqueurs are the historic descendants of herbal medicines and have existed in Italy since the 13th century.
The liqueur recipes themselves were found in Egyptian tombs and ancient Greek scrolls but it was above all the Italian monks that saw the herbs as a way to develop the liqueur for medical purposes.
One of the most famous liqueurs of the monks is the Chartreuse green, which was developed by the monks in the Alps of France. The spirit of this liqueur contains over 130 herbs and spices, some of which are very rare.
Only three monks know the full extent of the recipe and know which herbs cause the unique, natural coloring. The name liqueur comes from a Latin word via France meaning “to liquefy”.
Huge selection of herbs for liqueurs
Once the trade routes were opened a variety of spices and other ingredients such as ginger, orange and chocolate were introduced into the liqueurs. At that time many households had their own distillery and recipes.© lifeline.de
Some were used for their anesthetic qualities especially by the women during childbirth and others have been used as a digestive aid.© baileys.com | Bailey's Chocolat Deluxe
Today there are countless spirits all over the world. Fruit liqueurs are very popular and are based on different types of berries such as strawberries, blackberries or currants. The fruit used in liqueurs vary depending on the country and its culture.
How is liquor made?
High-quality liqueurs are either produced by the distillation of the fermented flavoring substances or where the flavoring is infused. Spices are wonderful companions to all liquors: cinnamon, anise, vanilla, cardamom and juniper join a long list of spices that are used in combination with fruits and nuts in many well-known liqueurs as well as alone.
Many liqueurs use finished spirits such as cognac, rum or whisky as a base. Creams (crème de Menthe, crème de cacao, etc.) are liqueurs with a primary taste, while cream liqueurs produced cream and alcohol in a homogenized, storage stable mixture.
Some liqueurs are determined by the infusion of certain wood, fruits, flowers, water or alcohol and the addition of sugar. Anise liqueurs have the interesting property that when adding water the transparent look becomes cloudy or milky.
Countries like Holland have been distilling great liqueurs since 1575, specifically the distillery of Bols that started off with an Anisette liqueur.© jackdaniels.com
Liqueur as a spirit with a low alcohol content
Most liqueurs have a lower alcohol content of 15 to 35% alcohol - some have up to 72%.
All liqueurs are flavored in some form, including those with a primary taste. A hint of vanilla and chocolate is added to crème de cacao. Lime flavors sharpen the presence of anise.
Herbal liqueurs contain dozens of different flavor elements to achieve the desired taste profile.
How to drink liqueur best?
Nowadays liqueurs are produced around the world and can be served differently: on ice, in coffee, with cream or other mixers. Liqueurs mixed in long drinks have also become very popular. Layered shooters are also a lot of fun.
After a meal a liqueur is also quite attractive in place of a dessert or in a dessert. Some liqueurs are also successfully used in cooking and baking.
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