Liqueurs

Liqueurs are historical descendants of herbal medicines; they were made in Italy as early as the 13th century and were often prepared by monks (e.g. Chartreuse). Nowadays, liqueurs are made worldwide and are served in many ways such as by themselves, poured over ice, with coffee, mixed with cream or other mixers to create cocktails, etc. They ar...

Liqueurs are historical descendants of herbal medicines; they were made in Italy as early as the 13th century and were often prepared by monks (e.g. Chartreuse). Nowadays, liqueurs are made worldwide and are served in many ways such as by themselves, poured over ice, with coffee, mixed with cream or other mixers to create cocktails, etc. They are often served with or after a dessert. Liqueurs are also used in cooking. Some liqueurs are prepared by infusing certain woods, fruits, or flowers in either water or alcohol and adding sugar or other items.

Others are distilled from aromatic or flavouring agents. Anise and Raki liqueurs have the interesting property of turning from transparent to cloudy when added to water: the oil of anise remains in solution in the presence of a high concentration of alcohol, but crystallizes when the alcohol concentration is reduced; this is known as the ouzo effect.

So by adding flavourings to a base spirit, and you have a liqueur. Usually sweetened, too. Grape spirit, brandy, neutral grain spirit, whisk(e)y, rum, whatever, can be used as the base. The flavourings can be herbs, flowers, barks, roots, nuts, fruits, or even entirely artificial. Often regarded as the spirits for casual drinkers to drink, they offer a lot of variety. Many traditional liqueurs started life as medicines.

Gins are not liqueurs, since the flavouring isn't added to the final liquor. Flavoured vodkas and akvavits are liqueurs at least by the definition above, but are not usually considered as such so they're in the vodka category. Some common types of liqueurs are: Cream liqueurs: Liqueurs with cream, thick and usually mild and very easy drinking. Drink straight or mix with milk. Won't keep too long, especially after being opened. Keep in the fridge. Creme liqueurs: Liqueurs with enough sugar to become thick and creamy in texture. No cream in these. Triple sec: Sweet orange liqueur. Curaçao is triple sec. Cointreau is widely regarded as one of the best brand.

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