The sweet all-rounders.
In cocktails and long drinks, neat and in the kitchen: The possible uses for liqueurs are as varied as their flavours.
Liqueurs cater to a seemingly endless range of tastes. To be counted as a liqueur, a distilled drink must contain more than 70 grammes of sugar per litre in the case of cherry liqueurs, and 80 grammes per litre in the case of gentian liqueurs or similar herb-based liqueurs made from a single plant. 100 g of sugar per litre is the minimum amount required in the case of all other liqueurs. In all liqueurs, the alcohol content must be at least 15 % vol.
The character of a liqueur is defined by its ingredients and the production technique. Only natural or identical to natural aromatic substances and aroma extracts may be used to make a liqueur. A distinction is made between fruit liqueurs and herb liqueurs, for example. In the case of some herb and fruit liqueurs too, only natural aromatic substances and aroma extracts may be added. Besides the sweetening products that can be added and that further characterise the essence of the liqueur, examples of possible additives include milk, cream or wine and fruit.
Monks were making liqueurs in their monasteries as far back as the Middle Ages. However, liqueurs didn't achieve their breakthrough until larger quantities of sugar became available after the discovery of America. The monks and also many physicians used the sugar to make their healing elixirs more palatable.
Today, liqueurs are an essential luxury and are consumed both neat and mixed with spirits and juices. Throughout the world they are regarded as an indispensible colouring and flavouring agent in cocktails and long drinks. In the kitchen too they are used to add the finishing touch to fine dishes.