Liqueur is simply a distilled spirit which is flavored with some variation in the form of cream, fruit, flowers, nuts, spices or herbs and finished with sweeteners like sugar or corn syrup. Liqueur in most cases is rather sweet, while some other types can be dry or tart. Moreover, most Liqueurs are rarely aged but a few do receive a resting time which allows them gain flavor profiles.
Liqueur VS Liquor
It was easier to separate Liqueurs from liquor in the past. While Baileys, Benedictine, Kahlua, Chartreuse & Schnapps were all Liqueurs, Rum, Whisky, Fin & Vodka are liquors. However nowadays since many traditional spirits like Vodka are being flavored, it has therefore become difficult to distinguish between Liqueur & liquor. Nevertheless, the thumb rule separating the two is that Liqueurs are sweet & syrupy in comparison with liquors which are not. Additionally, Liqueurs usually with a few exceptions have much lower alcohol content typically ranging between 15 to 30 percent by volume.
Versatility is the biggest benefit of Liqueur. Liqueur, like several other spirits can be ideally used for mixing drinks and may also be served neat, over ice and may also be added to coffee and other non-alcoholic drinks like cream or milk. Liqueurs are also used for cooking or baking and some types of this spirit have also become major highlight of several desserts. Layering Liqueurs for creating neat striped drinks has also become very popular. This is achieved by slowly floating a variety of Liqueurs over the back of spoon & ensuring that they do not mix. Cocktails like these can be a great idea for your next casual party or event.
Liqueurs in United States & Canada
Liqueurs in parts of United States & Canada are also called Cordials or Schnapps. However, in some parts of Commonwealth nations Cordial means concentrated non-alcoholic fruit syrup which is usually diluted according to taste and consumed as non-carbonated soft drinks. Schnapps in Germany & Scandinavian countries mean a type of Brandy or Aquavit.