A liqueur (US: //; UK: //; French: [likœʁ]) is an alcoholic drink composed of distilled spirits and additional flavorings such as sugar, fruits, herbs, and spices. Often served with or after dessert, they are typically heavily sweetened and un-aged beyond a resting period during production, when necessary, for their flavors to mingle.
Liqueurs are historical descendants of herbal medicines. They were made in Italy as early as the 13th century, often prepared by monks (for example, Chartreuse). Today they are produced the world over, commonly served neat, over ice, with coffee, in cocktails, and used in cooking.
In some parts of the United States and Canada, liqueurs may be referred to as cordials, or schnapps. This can cause confusion as in the United Kingdom a cordial would refer to a non-alcoholic concentrated fruit syrup, typically diluted to taste and consumed as a non-carbonated soft drink. Schnapps, on the other hand, can refer to any distilled beverage in Germany and aquavit in Scandinavian countries.
In the United States and Canada, where spirits are often called "liquor" (//), there is often confusion discerning between liqueurs and liquors, due to the many different types of flavored spirits that are available today (e.g., flavored vodka). Liqueurs generally contain a lower alcohol content (15–30% ABV) than spirits and it has sweetener mixed, while some can have an ABV as high as 55%.
Under the Food and Drug Regulations (C.R.C., c. 870), liqueurs are produced from mixing alcohol with plant materials. These materials include juices or extracts from fruits, flowers, leaves or other plant materials. The extracts are obtained by soaking, filtering or softening the plant substances. A sweetening agent should be added in an amount that is at least 2.5 percent of the finished liqueur. The alcohol percentage shall be at least 23%. It may also contain natural or artificial flavoring and color.
The European Union directive on spirit drinks provides guidelines applicable to all liqueurs. As such, a liqueur must
- contain a minimum of 15% alcohol by volume,
- contain at least 100 grams of inverted sugar per liter,
- be created using neutral grain alcohol and/or distillate(s) of agricultural origin,
- be flavored with natural, or nature-identical, flavorings, and
- be labeled with the alcohol content and a list of any food colorings.
Anise and Rakı liqueurs have the 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 coalesces when the alcohol concentration is reduced; this is known as the ouzo effect.
Liqueurs are sometimes mixed into cocktails to provide flavor.
Layered drinks are made by floating different-colored liqueurs in separate layers. Each liqueur is poured slowly into a glass over the back of a spoon or down a glass rod, so that the liquids of different densities remain unmixed, creating a striped effect.
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- New Oxford American Dictionary (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. 2010. p. 385. ISBN 978-0-19-539288-3. cordial: "another term for liqueur"
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- Branch, Legislative Services (23 June 2021). "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Food and Drug Regulations". laws.justice.gc.ca.
- "Directive 110". 15 January 2008.
on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89, §32
- "27 CFR 5.22 – The standards of identity". Retrieved 6 July 2018.
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O/W and W/O nano-emulsions can also be formed without a surfactant by self-emulsification, using the so-called Ouzo effect. The major components of Ouzo (a Greek drink) are trans-anethole, ethanol, and water. Anethole is almost insoluble ...
- Meehan, Jim (12 June 2012). "Embellish Like Bartenders". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- "Know the Density of Your Liquor To Make the Best Layered Drinks". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
- The Liqueur Compounder's Handbook of Recipes for the Manufacture of Liqueurs, Alcoholic Cordials and Compounded Spirits. Bush, W.J. and Co. 1910.
- Kaustinen, E.M. (1985). Production and stability of cream liqueurs made with whey protein concentrate. University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liqueurs.|
- Liqueurs at The Cook's Thesaurus.