You know how we love our spirited holidays here at Spec’s. Tuesday October 16th is National Liqueur Day. In order to properly celebrate, we’d like to teach you a little about liqueurs first. Many people confuse liqueurs with liquors; however, there is a very distinct difference.
Many consider liqueurs to be living in the shadows of their older, and more sophisticated, parents: liquor. The truth is that without liqueurs we wouldn’t have some of the most famous cocktails that everyone knows and loves.
What’s the difference between liquor and a liqueur?
Technically speaking, liqueurs are liquor because they are both distilled spirits. The difference lies in that liqueurs are sweetened spirits with various added flavors, oils, and extracts. Rum, whiskey, brandy, and other liquors can serve as a base for liqueurs.
Common Types of Liqueur
Amaretto: This Italian, almond-flavored liqueur is one of the most recognizable and popular liqueurs available. Amaretto is made from bitter almonds or apricot pits. This liqueur is mixed in a range of drinks—anything from coffee to an Alabama Slammer.
Kahlua: Arguably the most famous coffee flavored liqueur, Kahlua is a staple to the White Russian cocktail.
Vermouth: Vermouth comes in dry and sweet varieties. Vermouth is an aromatized wine that is infused with a range of herbs and botanicals. It’s used in a lot of classic cocktails like a martini or a Manhattan.
Cointreau: Essentially Cointreau is an orange flavored liqueur that is a premium version of triple sec.
What to do with a Liqueur?
The great thing about liqueurs is that they are versatile; you can use them to mix up a simple cocktail like amaretto and coke, or mix them into a dessert recipe. The possibilities are so very vast! You can serve a liqueur neat, over ice, with coffee, milk, soda or even tea.
Simple Liqueur Cocktail Examples
Mixing a liqueur up into a cocktail is seemingly the obvious choice. Because we are fans of the uncommon, here are a few liqueur-based cocktails that you may not have heard of before: a Bailey’s Eggnog, a Cointreau Berry Margarita, or a Bella Donna Daiquiri made with dark rum, amaretto, lemon juice and sugar.
Cooking with Liqueurs
Liqueurs can be used in a number of ways in the kitchen, especially when used as a dessert topping. One example is to gently simmer butter, brown sugar, raw sugar, nuts, and amaretto and use it to drizzle over a pineapple rum cake.
The world of liqueurs is a wonderful place, there are just far too many for us to name them all. If you are looking for that perfect liqueur to add to your next cocktail or recipe then ask for a recommendation from the experts at your nearest Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods.