Lesson 8 - Liqueurs (revised)

Lesson 8
From apothecaries potions to the
famous liqueurs of the bar
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
Lesson Overview
History and background
Ingredients and production of liqueurs
Categories of liqueurs
Worlds most famous liqueurs
Conclusion / Summary
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
Aims and Learning Outcomes of the Lesson
On completion of this lesson the learner will be
expected to be able to;
Explain the origins, ingredients involved and production process
of liqueurs.
Act on the recreational, culinary and medicinal uses for liqueurs.
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
8.1 Introduction
Distinctively shaped, different colours and bottle sizes, containing a vast array of
flavours, some are steeped with a rich cultural heritage.
For some people they are a symbol of their national identity, the basis of some of the
world’s most famous mixed drinks and cocktails.
Liqueurs antecedents were the apothecaries potions and medicines of the middle
ages, and because they tended to taste unpleasant, herb, plant, seeds, spices, nuts,
roots, flowers and fruit essences came to be added to mask the unappealing flavour of
the impurities that had not been rectified out of the base spirit and to endow the
resulting drink with medicinal value.
This lesson introduces the learner to liqueurs, focusing on their history, varied
ingredients, production process and the main categories of liqueurs.
We will also explore some of world’s most famous liqueur brands, and examine the
tasting and service traditions of these famous beverages.
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
8.2 History and Background
Schumann (1995) defines liqueurs as sweetened liquors that are flavoured and scented by the addition of
spices, herbs, flowers and so on. Liqueurs produced today are also flavoured with ingredients like fruits,
roots, plants, barks, and sometimes cream.
Origin of the word: the word liqueur comes from the Latin word liquifacere which means ‘to dissolve.’ In
some parts of the world people use the words cordial and liqueur interchangeably, especially in the USA.
Nearly all liqueurs are quite sweet, with a highly concentrated, dessert-like flavor.
First documented liqueur: liqueurs were considered for their medicinal purposes and most of their
ingredients were chose for their healing properties. The first documented liqueur utilized the caraway
seed to produce the World famous Kummel, which was distilled first in 1575 by Lucas Bols of Amsterdam,
Holland, caraways digestive properties had been known for centuries before. Benedictine the famous
French liqueur is documented as far back as 1510 but unfortunately was not available for sale. Liqueurs
date back centuries and are historical descendants of herbal medicines, often those prepared by monks, as
Chartreuse or Bénédictine.
Religious research: the monks developed liqueurs primarily as medicines (elixirs) for example
Benedictine liqueur was used for treating malaria, access to physicians for most people was impossible
and only reserved for the rich so many people depended on the monks for remedies or maladies.
Monks maladies: some the most famous maladies that the monks developed cures for were the aperitif:
which was given to help aid appetite, the digestive: which was given to aid digestive problems for example
when surfeited or stuffed by food or for the old, and the corrective: which was given out for being unwell,
sick or as we commonly know it today the hangover cure. It’s amazing when you think that we referring to
remedies used hundreds of years ago which are still used today, but on a commercial basis of course and
drank for leisure rather than necessity.
The mystical line: liqueur recipe makers follow a mystical line insofar as only 2 to 3 trusted personnel
actually know the liqueurs recipe and they would usually never travel together.
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
8.3 Ingredients, Production Process and
Manufacture for Liqueurs
the main manufactured liqueurs are fruit, plant, grain liqueurs
liqueurs alcoholic content: range between 15 to 55% alcohol by volume
the main producing countries are: France, Italy, Holland, Germany, Hungary, Japan, England, Russia, Ireland, U.S., and
Some liqueurs are prepared by infusing certain woods, fruits, or flowers, in either water or alcohol, and adding sugar or other
Composition of liqueurs
the spirit base: neutral spirit, brandy (Cognac, Rum, and whiskey).
the sweetener: sugar, sugar syrup or honey, the amount of sugar is used as follows: for Liqueur de (200 grams per litre), for
Crème de (400 to 520 grams per litre).
the flavoring agent: fruits: lemon, orange, banana and apricot; flowers: violet, lavender, rose, orange and blossom; herbs:
peppermint, vervain, lime and blossom; barks: cinnamon, angostura; roots: angelica, liquorice root, and gentian; seeds:
coriander, juniper berries, almonds, vanilla, caraway, clove, cocoa and camomile.
Production methods
The spirit base can be Brandy, Rum, Whiskey or other spirit and may be flavored in five ways;
percolation (hot extraction, infusion - short period): the alcohol is dripped through the flavouring agents to extract their essences,
the beans are put into a bin where alcoholic wash is then sprayed over the bin; the remains are left for 2 to 3 days time period.
maceration (cold extraction, long period): the flavouring agents are steeped directly in the alcohol base; this process takes a few
weeks where all the ingredients are soaked and stirred in alcohol, for a bitter taste (use a low alcohol soak), for a less bitter taste
(use a high alcohol soak), these soak strengths depend on personnel preferences.
distillation: alcohol and flavoring agents are blended before being distilled
infusion: flavorings are steeped in hot water, which is then mixed with the alcohol base
a combination of these procedures.
The sweetening or edulcoration is done: after the maceration operation, for the fruit liqueurs, and after distillation operation, for
the grain or plant liqueurs.
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
8.4 Categories of Liqueurs
Proprietary liqueurs: (i.e. Benedictine, Galliano and Southern Comfort) are made exclusively by
specific liqueur houses with secret formulas, some of which have been closely guarded for centuries .
Generic liqueurs: (i.e. Amaretto, Crème de Cacao) are made by various producers using fairly standard recipes.
Quality brands: are typically flavored with the finest ingredients, essential oils and extracts; less expensive
examples often use artificial flavorings.
Categories of liqueurs: main categories include: fruit liqueurs (which include berry flavoured liqueurs), citrus
liqueurs, mixed and single herbal liqueurs (which include aniseed flavoured liqueurs), bean and kernal liqueurs
(which include chocolate, coffee, nut and vanilla flavoured liqueurs), cream liqueur and crème liqueurs.
Berry Liqueurs.
Citrus Liqueurs.
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
Categories of Liqueurs
[ Liqueur Brandies ]
The three main types are cherry, apricot and peach brandy.
These drinks are sweetened coloured liqueurs based on simple grape
brandy that has been flavoured with the relevant fruits as distinct from
being primary distillates of those fruits themselves.
Production: the pressed juice and stones of the respective fruits are
generally mixed with a neutral grape spirit (more rarely a grain spirit),
sweetened with sugar and macerated until take-up of flavour is complete.
If the fruit juice itself has fairly high natural sweetness, correspondingly less
syrup will be added. In some cases, the liqueurs may be treated to a period
of cask-ageing, followed by adjustment of the colour with vegetable
Service: fruit based desserts that use the same fruits hot soufflés tarts and
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
Worlds Most Famous Liqueurs
Fruit liqueurs: Bajtra (prickly pear): Crème de Banane, Hpnotiq (tropical fruit), Kruškovac (pear), Lichido (lychee), Manzana verde (apple),
Midori (melon), Pore William (pear), Pisang Ambon (banana), Pucker (apple), Southern Comfort (neutral grain spirits, peach, and
spices), Prunelle (plum).
Berry liqueurs: Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant), Cherry Heering (cherry), Blueberry, Buckthorn, Crème de Cerise, Guavaberry
(guavaberry), Lillehammer (lingonberry), Whidbeys (loganberry), Polar Cranberry, Chambord (raspberry) , Lakka or Lakkalikööri
(Cloudberry), Hideous (berry and citrus), Maraschino (cherry), Sloe Gin (sloe berries).
Citrus Liqueurs: Aurum (brandy & orange peel), Cointreau (orange), Curaçao (bitter orange), Grand Marnier (Cognac & orange),
Limoncello (lemon), Mandarine Napoleon (tangerine skins & Brandies), Tuaca (brandy, vanilla, and citrus), Sabra (dark chocolate and Sabra
oranges), Van Der Hum (Mister what’s his name, South Africa), X-Rated Fusion Liqueur (blood orange, mango and passion fruit), Yukon Jack
(Canadian whiskey and oranges).
Mixed and Single Herb Liqueurs: Aftershock (several varieties from Cinnamon to citrus), Amaro (disgestif), Bénédictine DOM (herbal) Beirão
(seeds and herbs), Chartreuse (130 herbal extracts), Crème de Menthe (sweet, mint), Danzig Goldwasser (herbs), Drambuie (honey, herbs &
scotch), Fior D’Alpi (Alpine flowers, wild herbs), Glayva (Scotch, anise, clove, herbs, heather honey, tangerine, other citrus fruits, and almonds) ,
Goldschläger (cinnamon schnapps), Irish Mist (Irish whiskey, heather and clover honey, herbs), Izarra (yellow- Izarra 32 herbs, green Izarra 48
herbs), Krupnik (vodka, honey 7 herbs), Kümmel (caraway seed, cumin, and fennel), Strega (70 herbs, mint , fennel), Rumpleminze (peppermint).
Modern Generic Liqueurs
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
8.5 Worlds Most Famous Liqueurs
Bean and Kernal Liqueurs: Chocolate: Afrikoko (coconut and chocolate), Ashanti Gold, Godiva (Chocolate), Mozart Gold (chocolate),
Amadé ChocOrange (dark chocolate with blood-orange distillate), Coffee: Crème de Cacao (cocoa & vanilla bean), Kahlúa (coffee), Kamora
(coffee), Tia Maria (Blue Mountain Coffee, 5 year old Jamaican rum, vanilla). Nuts: Amaretto (almonds, apricot kernel & seeds, steeped
in brandy) , Batida De Coco (coconut), Kahana Royale (macadamia nut), Crème de Noisettes (hazelnuts), Crème de Noy
(almond-flavored pink in color), Frangelico (hazelnut and herbs), Malibu (white rum, coconut milk), Nocello (walnuts & hazelnut),
Nocino (green walnuts steeped in spirit), Ratafia (peach or cherry kernels, bitter almonds, or other fruits).
Cream Liqueurs: Amarula (cream, fruit of the African Marula tree), Baileys Irish Cream (cream, whiskey, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and
sugar), Carolans (cream, Irish whiskey, and hone), Dooley's (cream, toffee and vodka), Ponche Crema (milk, eggs, sugar, rum, vanilla,
nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon rind), Kēkē Beach Key Lime.
Crème liqueurs: A complete range of liqueurs use the prefix ‘crème de’, these liqueurs have nothing to do with cream liqueurs, they always
consist of one dominant flavour indicated in the name (i.e ; Crème de Banana (banana), Crème de Cacao (cocao, vanilla), Crème de Fraise
(strawberry), Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant), Crème de Menthe (mint), Crème de Framboise (raspberry), Crème de Rose, Crème de Violette
(violet flower), Crème Noisette (hazelnut), Crème de Noix (walnut), Advocaat almonds, egg yolks, aromatic spirits, sugar or honey, brandy,
vanilla), Bärenjäger (honey & vodka), Parfait Amour (citrus fruits, cloves and other spices).
Cream Liqueurs.
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
Conclusion / Summary
Liqueurs were originally used (and some still are) as a digestive.
They are now usually served after dinner but also play an important role in
many famous cocktails.
Liqueurs are also favoured in the kitchen for their natural sweetness, which
flavour and enhance the meal experience for example Grand Marnier (duck
l’orange and soufflé) and particularly for desserts.
Today liqueurs are made worldwide and are served in many ways: poured
straight, over cubed or crushed ice (Frappe), with coffee (speciality coffees),
mixed with cream or as other mixers to create long drinks .
A good well sourced, reasonably priced liqueur selection appropriate to your
market, actively promoted to your customers can help your bar distinguish
Customers are constantly looking for new social, cultural and recreational
experiences in their food and drinks offerings, liqueurs can help your bar
introduce or re-introduce them to the flavours of the world, which will satisfy
not only their gastronomic expectations but also their medicinal requirements.
Lesson 8: Liqueurs
Brown, G. (1995) Classic Spirits of the World, Prion Books: London.
Murphy, J. (2008) ‘Liqueurs – The Gastronomic Resource of the Bar’,
January Issue, Licensing World, Jemma Publications Ltd: Dublin.
Murphy, J. (2013) Principles and Practices of Bar and Beverage
Management, Goodfellow Publishing Ltd, Oxford: England.
Herbst, S.T. (2001) Food Lover’s Companion, 3rd edn, Barrons Educational
Series, Inc: New York.
Schuman, C. (1995) American Bar: The Artistry of Mixing Drinks, Abbeville
Press Publishers: New York, USA.
Web resources
Luxardo Maraschino.
Grand Marnier.