Originally, the liqueur called Curaçao was made from the dried peels of Larahas orange grown on the island of Curaçao, with perhaps lemon added as well as spices such as cardamom, mace flowers, and cloves (as examples). The standard base of the liqueur is primarily made from either apricot pits or almonds or both. There are also cream liqueurs, like Baileys Irish Cream, and crème liqueurs, which are much sweeter and likened to a potent syrup, like crème de cacao. They may be made by extraction, distillation, infusion, or smoke methods. Absinthe, flavoured distilled liquor, yellowish green in colour, turning to cloudy, opalescent white when mixed with water. “I usually start with a neutral grai… Peggy Trowbridge Filippone is a writer who develops approachable recipes for home cooks. However, many liquors are available in flavored forms, which just adds to the confusion. O Cha, with the flavour of green tea, and Midori, with the flavour of melon, are from Japan. Note: the exact recipes of many herbal liqueurs (which may contain 50 or more different herbs) are often closely guarded trade secrets. When liqueurs and other mixers are added to these popular party drinks, they are technically considered a shooter. The distillation method uses plants, seeds, roots, or herbs as flavouring material. Van der Hum is a spicy and aromatic product made in South Africa. Amaretto is a liqueur with an almond flavor, but surprisingly, it may or may not contain almonds. Though a few others fall into this category, it's generally accepted that six types of distilled spirits are liquors: brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey. Brandy, rum, tequila, and vodka are generally 40 percent ABV, while whiskey usually ranges from 40 percent to 55 percent ABV. Most can also be enjoyed neat, chilled, or on the rocks. Plant liqueurs are frequently coloured with vegetable colourings. The word liqueur is derived from the Latin liquefacere, meaning “to make liquid.” Liqueurs were probably first produced commercially by medieval monks and alchemists. Corrections? They can range from a low 15 percent ABV (30 proof) to a strong 55 percent ABV (110 proof), so potency is not a distinguishing factor. The distillation process, which occurs after fermenting, separates the water from the alcohol. Proprietary brands, usually prepared from secret formulas, are made by individual producers, who market their products under registered brand names. The primary herbal ingredients are listed where known. Omissions? Premium Membership is now 50% off! The alcohol content of liqueurs tends to be lower than liquors because of the additives, but this is not always the case. Other well-known liqueurs are amaretto, Chambord, Cointreau, crème de cassis, crème de menthe, Irish cream, Kahlua, and the variety of flavorful schnapps, to name just a few. Technically, liqueurs are liquor because they are distilled spirits. The regulations that cover the various styles of whiskey often state that when any additive—flavoring or sweetener—is added to a whiskey, the whiskey must be classified as a liqueur. Italian liqueurs include Liquore Galliano and Strega, both with spicy flavours. Although both are distilled spirits that contain alcohol and are crucial ingredients when mixing cocktails, the liquids are not the same and the terms are not interchangeable. The original version was made in Saronno, Italy. “Each one will pull out different [flavor and/or aroma] compounds,” says Kennedy. Gin can range from 37 1/2 percent to 50 percent ABV. The drink like many other alcohols may contain any number of added spices and flavorings. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). This liqueur is made by steeping the dried laraha peels in a still, along with other spices and some sugar. Creating great tasting cocktails at home is easy once you have some recipes. It is an ingredient in classic cocktails such as the whiskey daisy and makes a flavorful addition to many recipes. British brands include Drambuie, with Scotch whisky as a base and flavoured with honey, made from a French formula taken to Scotland in 1745; and Irish Mist, a spicy liqueur made with Irish whiskey and honey. Black Friday Sale! Grand Marnier is a delicious example of an orange liqueur. At least four methods for making liqueurs exist, says Alan Kennedy, creator and co-owner of Adelaide liqueur. Liqueurs are generally made with neutral grain spirits. Liqueurs may be aged or bottled immediately. Plant liqueurs, naturally colourless, are produced by either percolation or distillation. Liqueurs manufactured in the United States include Forbidden Fruit, made with brandy and grapefruit; and Crème Yvette, with violet flavour and colour. They may be served straight, poured over ice, or mixed in an endless variety of combinations that may include liquors, brandies, and cream. In the past, liqueurs were referred to as cordials, and many have a history that stretches back centuries because they were often used medicinally. After a set steeping period, the liqueur is allowed to settle to remove sediment, and then bottled. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Generic liqueurs, marketed under accepted common names, frequently vary according to brand because of formula differences. Though a few others fall into this category, it's generally accepted that six types of distilled spirits are liquors: brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Liqueurs have a wide range of flavors, from coffee to almond to orange. Leaves or herbs are placed in the top section, and the base spirit in the bottom section is pumped up over the flavouring material, extracting and carrying down the flavour constituents. They include apricot liqueur; crème d’ananas, flavoured with pineapple; crème de cacao, flavoured with cocoa and vanilla beans; crème de framboises, made from raspberries; crème de menthe, mint-flavoured; crème de noyaux, with bitter-almond flavour derived from fruit stones; crème de violette, also called parfait amour, with oils from both violets and vanilla beans; Curaçao, with flavour from the dried peel of the green oranges of the island of Curaçao; Danziger Goldwasser, spicy and containing tiny gold specks; kümmel, flavoured with caraway seed; prunelle, with plum flavour; sloe gin, flavoured with the fruit of the blackthorn bush; and Triple Sec, a colourless Curaçao. Liqueurs are also used as flavourings in various dessert dishes. “Our job in making liqueur is to pull out the ones we want and minimize the ones we don’t.” To start, you must first choose a base liquor. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. They have been called balms, crèmes, elixirs, and oils and have been used over the centuries as medicines and tonics, love potions, and aphrodisiacs. You will often see "whiskey liqueur" in fine print on cherry bourbons, apple whiskeys, and the like. Amaretto is Italian for \"a little bitter.\" The flavor is usually added after distilling through a steeping process, much like how vinegar and oils are infused. Curaçao Liqueur can be made at home using vodka. The term “neutral” refers to the flavor being neutral, as the spirit has not been “finished.” This means that steps have been taken to remove as many flavor characteristics as possible so as to end up with a spirit that has a clean and nonspecific taste. Cherry Heering is a cherry liqueur produced in Denmark. After the base spirit is completely flavoured, it is sweetened and filtered. Some are brand names and use exclusive recipes, while others are made in a style with a signature flavor that are produced by different companies. Liquors are the base of cocktails and mixed drinks and are also very often drunk on the rocks and neat. They are the ingredients that usually make the drink extra special. French proprietary brands include Bénédictine, a plant liqueur first produced in 1510 from one of the most closely guarded of all formulas; Chartreuse, made from a formula developed in 1607, including yellow and green plant liqueurs, both with spicy and aromatic flavour; Cointreau, a proprietary brand of Triple Sec; Grand Marnier, produced in the Cognac region, an orange Curaçao; and Vieille Cure, a plant liqueur made in Bordeaux.