Liqueurs are delicious drinks, having endless flavors and aromas satisfying anybody’s palate. Due to their sweet and soft flavor, they are the ideal complement for desserts, and the appropriate drink after dinner. They are also good aperitifs and excellent ingredients for cocktails. Here, we show you the main liqueurs so that you get familiar with their components and can choose the best ones. Buying liqueurs will allow you to have an exquisite drink to enjoy with your family, friends and guests at any time.
Chocolate liqueurs are really exquisite drinks, very used when making desserts. It is one of the most drunk liqueurs. Its quality directly depends on the quality of the chocolate acting as base. In some cases, the liqueur is made soaking roasted cacao husks in alcohol and adding syrup and, in some other cases, it is made dissolving chocolate over low heat with water and sugar and mixing it with alcohol. Many liqueurs are called for its brand name, while others have generic names.
Some of the most well-known liqueurs are:
This liqueur is made with Godiva chocolate, a Belgian brand name worldwide known for its high quality products. There are white and plain chocolate liqueurs. Other well-known liqueur brand names of this kind are Truffles, Hagen Daz y Mozart, also based on delicious chocolates.
It is another famous chocolate liqueur. Its chocolate flavor is enjoyed by people all around the world.
It is a chocolate liqueur mixed with mint. Vandermint is a famous Dutch brand name that makes chocolate and mint liqueur.
Cream liqueur and crème liqueur.
The main feature of cream liqueurs is their thickness: they are sweet creams with different flavors, really soft to the palate. Some of the most drunk liqueurs of this kind are:
This liqueur is recent. In 1989 it began to be sold in South Africa. It is made with the fruit of a tree native to the region, Amarula, what gives the name to the drink (also called elephant or marriage tree). This liqueur is caramel and fruit-flavored.
Baileys Irish Cream
Baileys is an Irish cream liqueur, based on the mixture of whiskey and cream, created in 1974 by Bailey & Co. from Dublin. It is one of the liqueurs most sold around the world. It is a soft and sweet liqueur, having a degree of alcohol of 17º, what makes it very popular. It is made mixing Irish whiskey, cream, coffee and cocoa. Besides, it has almond and walnut flavorings.
Caribbean Punch is a cream liqueur created by Ángel J. Léañez at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a soft and sweet liqueur obtained through the mixture of rum, eggs, vanilla, milk and a secret compound of herbs and spices. Its main feature is that it is a thick and delicate drink.
This tasty liqueur is made with natural bananas or essences and it is characterized by its sweet flavour and yellow color. The degree of alcohol ranges between 17º and 25º. This liqueur is usually used in cocktails, although it is also an ideal drink for a dessert after meals, especially if it is served over crushed ice. It is many times used when making desserts to provide them with a unique flavor.
Mint cream liqueur is a sweet drink made with mint leaves or extract. There are different ways of making it. The traditional recipe implies soaking dry mint leaves in alcohol during several weeks, then filtering the preparation and adding sugar. In this case, the drink naturally acquires a green color, coming off the leaves. Another way of preparing this liqueur is mixing mint extract and coloring with water, alcohol and sugar. Some mint liqueurs are transparent because they are made with extract and without colorings. This drink is usually used in several cocktails and recipes and it is also drunk alone after meals.
Other famous cream liqueurs are cocoa, redcurrant, rose and violet liqueurs.
This type of liqueur is one of the most drunk ones, because it tastes high quality coffee. It is drunk alone, in cocktails or with coffee, and it is very used when making desserts, specially those combined with creams. Those fond of good coffee and spirits find in coffee liqueur a real elixir. The most well-known brand names are:
Kahlua is a worldwide famous coffee liqueur made in the United States. It is based on high quality Mexican coffee and that is why it is dark brown and it has a strong and unique flavor. Its sweet taste makes it irresistible. Its degree of alcohol is 20º, although there are special Kahlua editions with higher alcohol content. An example of this is the so-called Special Kahlua, prepared with Arabian coffee beans and small amount of sugar, having 35º as degree of alcohol.
Tia Maria is another world wide famous coffee liqueur. As well as Kahlua, it is produced by the important company called Pernod Ricard. It is made in Jamaica with Jamaican coffee beans. A famous dessert where Tia Maria is used is the cake having the same name, made with cookies, cream and this coffee liqueur. Two of the unmissable traditional cocktails including Tia Maria are the so-called “Jamaican coffee” (coffee liqueur and rum) and “terry” (coffee liqueur and orange juice liqueur).
Fruit liqueurs are also very popular due to the excellent combination of fruit flavor and alcohol. They are made with different types of fruits, specially citrus, and they are prepared through soaking. Besides being drunk alone and in cocktails, they usually also work as digestive.
Cointreau is a well-known orange liqueur made in Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou, in Angers, France. It is generally made with oranges from Spain and Haiti, besides oranges from other parts of the world. Its degree of alcohol is 40º, what makes it one of the strongest liqueurs. Having this alcohol content, it is a special triple dry (orange liqueurs are called triple dry), since this kind of liqueur usually has only 20º. The Cointreau is drunk not only as aperitif but also as digestive.
Curaçao is a liqueur made with bitter oranges coming from the island the liqueur is called for. These oranges are called Larahas and they are a special kind of oranges coming from the ones Spanish conquerors brought from Valencia. Unlike Valencian oranges, the main feature of Larahas is their bitter flavor, resulting from the arid ground and weather on the island.
This delicious liqueur is made with orange peels; before being soaked, they must be cut and dried so that their aromas and flavors are enhanced. Then, the peels are placed in a closed recipient with alcohol during certain days. Finally, the soaked liquid is filtered and different spices are added. The amount of syrup included depends on the more or less bitter taste to obtain. There are very sweet variants and some others are very dry.
Although it is transparent, striking color colorings are usually added to this liqueur, such as blue, red, green or orange; blue being the most frequent one. This occurs because curaçao is very used in cocktails and in this way, really attractive drinks are achieved. Besides, this liqueur is sometimes made with orange synthetic extracts.
It is also a famous orange liqueur created at the end of the nineteenth century in France. It is made through the mixture of orange essence and different cognacs. It is also a special triple dry having a degree of alcohol of 40º. It is usually drunk alone or in cocktails.
The limoncello may be one of the fruit liqueurs more drunk all around the world. As its name suggests, it is a lemon liqueur. It is a drink typical from Southern Italy, specially Naples, Capri and Sicily. It is made with lemon peels soaked in alcohol during several days. Syrup is added to the soaked liquid and it is then packed. Limoncello is a sweet and soft liqueur, pleasant to all palates.
Midori is a melon liqueur made in Mexico, although its origin is Japan. It is made with soaked melon, afterwards syrup is added to that liquid and it is packed, although it may also be made mixing water, alcohol, sugar and essence from that fruit. Its degree of alcohol is 21º. It is rarely drunk alone, since it has a very particular taste. It is usually used in cocktails, providing them with an exotic touch. It is usually mixed with lemonade, lemon, orange, lime or pineapple juice.
Cherry and raspberry liqueur
These liqueurs are a special group within fruit liqueurs since they are made with different cherry and raspberry variants. They are sophisticated liqueurs, ideal to surprise with a tasty drink. Many times, it is hard to get the different types of these liqueurs. They are usually used when making delicious desserts. The most famous cherry liqueur is maraschino:
The special feature of this liqueur is that it is made with Marasca cherries, grown in Northern Italy and certain parts of Eastern Europe (Slovenia and Croatia). It is a special liqueur because it is made through distillation, which is rare in liqueurs, usually made through soaking, infusion or mixture. Besides, this drink has long history, for it is made since Middle Ages.
Maraschino is obtained through distillation of Marasca cherries, fermented together with the seeds, giving this liqueur a special almond flavor. The liquid obtained through distillation is placed in casks of a special wood, not staining the drink throughout time. This liquid is aged during two years; afterwards, sugar, honey and water are added to dilute it. It is generally packed in bottles covered with Hessian. The result is a clear-colored liqueur, between sweet and bitter.
liqueurs of this kind are: Chambord (raspberries), Prunelle (plum), Sloe gin (sloes), Razzmatazz (raspberries) and Cherry Heering (cherries).
There is a wide variety of herb liqueurs, made with recipes where multiple aromas and flavors are uniquely combined. It is usually hard to get to know the actual recipes of these liqueurs, since their producers save them as precious secrets. Most of these drinks are made with lot of different herbs. Herb liqueurs, besides being drunk as aperitifs, are recommended for their digestive power. Here, we show you the features of the most well-known ones.
This is an anise liqueur made in Italy and specially famous in Spain and France. It is different from other aniseed-flavor liqueurs because it has less alcohol content (25º, while they usually have 40º) and because it is sweeter. Due to these particular features, it has a soft and nice flavor, making it a very valued drink.
This is the most famous and antique herb liqueur. Its origin is in France, actually in Normandy, at the Benedictine Abbey in Fecamp. There, history states that Benedictine monks began to prepare this delicious drink, and it took the name from them. The Benedictines made this liqueur between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, since from middle nineteenth century onwards, a private company began to produce it. The company was Alexandre Le Grand, still making this liqueur nowadays. Since the end of the nineteenth century, this liqueur is distilled in the impressive palace of Fecamp.
Benedictine liqueur is made with a secret combination of twenty-seven herbs and different species plus cognac. The production process implies different distillation and mixture stages. The degree of alcohol of this liqueur is 43º. Benedictine bottles bear an inscription dedicated to God (D.O.M, “Deum Optimum Maximum”).
There are variants of Benedictine, such as B & B (Benedictine and Brandy), having more brandy and thus a drier flavor; or Benedictine Coffee, the mixture of coffee liqueur with this classic herb liqueur.
This herb liqueur native to Czechoslovakia is made since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Its creator was called Josef Becher, a pharmacist who began to sell this drink prepared through a particular herb combination. Then, his son decided to sell the product in great amounts, converting the small family company into a big company, whose managing position was in charge of the family until the end of the Second World War, when the company was nationalized. Nowadays, the company is part of the international company Pernod Ricard, specialized in liqueurs.
Becherovka liqueur is made with anise, cinnamon and many other herbs, together with alcohol, sugar and water from Karlovy Vary (Czechoslovakia). Its degree of alcohol is 38º. It is drunk alone, cold and it also works as an excellent digestive. There is a Becherovka variant, called Red Becherovka, having more alcohol content and a more bitter taste.
herb liqueurs to take into account are Krupnik, made with fifty different herbs and honey, Jägermeister, made with more than fifty herbs and Paan, made with saffron, sandalwood and cardamom. They are less famous but really exquisite liqueurs.
Almond liqueurs are a particular type of spirit, due to their typical flavor. They are made not only with almonds but also with pits from different fruits. Besides being drunk alone and in cocktails, they are very used in cuisine. Here we show you the most famous liqueur within this type:
This liqueur having Italian origin is made since the sixteenth century. It is made with almonds and pits from peaches, apricots, cherries and other fruits. This liqueur is characterized by its strong, sweet and distinguishing flavor. It is really unmistakable, even if it is part of a recipe or cocktail.
There are liqueurs that cannot be included within any of the previous categories, due to their ingredients. Two of the most well-known ones are:
Advocaat is a Dutch liqueur whose origin goes back to the presence of Dutch colonists in South America. In this American region, the liqueur began to be prepared with advocado pulps, an American fruit. When this recipe began to be made in Holland, the advocado needed to be replaced by egg yolks. The drink name refers to the Dutch word used to call advocado.
Advocaat is a cream liqueur thanks to its ingredients: egg yolk, vanilla, sugar, brandy and other spirits. Its texture is really soft and its flavor is very pleasant to the palate. Its degree of alcohol is 15º. The advocaat drunk in Holland is thicker, since it includes the egg white, besides the yolk. This variant is specially used when making desserts and pastries, although it is also drunk as aperitif and digestive. It is generally served with cream and cocoa powder. The advocaat internationally sold is lighter because it is only made with yolks. This type of liqueur is usually drunk in cocktails.
This liqueur was created by Gaspare Campari, in Italy, in the middle of the nineteenth century. This Italian creator invented the secret recipe currently used for the famous Campari. Since 1904, Campari began to be exported and it is nowadays sold all around the world.
Although its recipe is secret, the main ingredients of this delicious liqueur are known: rhubarb, quinine, ginseng, aromatic herbs, orange peel, water and alcohol. It is made through herb infusion. Campari is used in the well-known cocktail “negroni”, mixed with gin. In Italy, this liqueur is also sold mixed with soda, under the name of Campari Soda.
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