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Liqueur is an alcoholic drink flavoured and composed of various types of herbs, fruits, sugar and spices. It is often combined with distilled spirits (liquor) and served with or after dessert. Typically, liqueur is heavily sweetened and un-aged beyond a resting period during production, and when necessary for their flavours to mingle. 

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What kind of alcohol is liqueur?

The word liqueur comes from the Latin word “liquifacere”, which means “to dissolve or melt”. Distilled spirits and liqueurs have been sweetened with sugar or syrup. It is the addition of sugar that turns the spirit into a liqueur.   Historically, liqueurs were created as a type of herbal medication or concoction by monks. You will find that liqueurs were made as early as the 13th century in Italy. References are also made towards liqueurs in Egyptian tombs and ancient Greek scrolls. Nowadays, liqueurs are produced all over the world and can be used in cooking, served neat, on the rocks, with coffee or mixed in cocktails.  Unlike other types of alcohol, liqueurs do not have any specific ageing period. However, some liqueurs do take some time so that the flavours can merge and mingle to produce the best-tasting bottle possible. This type of alcoholic drink is referred to as ‘cordials’ or ‘schnapps’ in the United States and Canada. In these countries, there is often confusion between liquor and liqueurs. 

Difference between Liquor and Liqueur 

Liquor and liqueur are both distilled spirits that contain alcohol. However, they are not the same and you should not use the terms interchangeably.  Basically, liquors are a basis of a drink, particularly cocktails, whereas liqueurs are used mainly as flavouring agents when mixed into drinks yet also can be enjoyed on their own. This is the main difference. Liqueurs are sweetened spirits laced with different flavours, oils and extracts. Liquor on the other hand is not sweet and can serve as a base spirit for liqueurs. The alcohol content in liqueurs is generally lower than in liquors as there are additives. However, this is not always the case. Liqueur content ranges from 15 percent ABV (30 proof) and can go up to 55 percent ABV (110 proof). 

Liqueur varieties 

There are many well known types of liqueurs such as Chambord, Cointreau, Irish cream, Kahlua Coffee Liqueur and more.  Liqueurs come in an extensive range of flavours. You can find varieties ranging from butterscotch to coffee to chocolate and almond. 

Popular types of liqueurs

The following types of liqueurs are generally a favourite among the public due to their depth of flavour. 


Kahlua has intense coffee flavours with a mix of vanilla and caramel thrown in. You can drink it neat or on the rocks. Some love it when it is mixed with vodka, creating the Black Russian cocktail.


Bitter and sweet with hints of warm spices, Cointreau is orange flavoured and fragrant. This favourite liqueur is very handy when mixing Cosmopolitans or Sidecars. 


Meaning ‘little bitter’ in Italian, the Amaretto is rich in almond flavours with notes of vanilla but has a bitter finish. It is delicious, served neat, on ice or added to coffee or cocoa. 

Peach Schnapps

The intense peach flavours of Peach Schnapps make mixing it into a cocktail like Fuzzy Navel or the famous Sex on the Beach taste amazing. 


Spiced honey notes of anise, oak and orange peels make up the Drambuie. Mixed with a Scotch whisky, the cocktail Rusty Nail is created. You can also enjoy it straight.

How should liqueur be served? 

Mixed in a cocktail, poured solo, as an aperitif or digestif - liqueurs can be enjoyed in so many ways that you are spoiled for choice!  Most commonly, liqueurs are used and blended in cocktails for maximum enjoyment as it usually brings out the flavours of the cocktails.

Liqueur cocktails

There are a variety of liqueur cocktail options in the market. New and exciting blends are always available as liqueurs bring a sweetness to a cocktail and add a depth of flavour to the drink.  Liqueurs are usually used in classic cocktails such as the Cosmopolitan, Margarita and Sidecar.

Cooking with Liqueurs

Offering a syrupiness depth to many recipes, liqueurs are used in cooking many types of dishes. For example, it is used in blood orange chocolate truffles or in sweet sticky sloe gin sauce for lamb.  A wide variety of liqueurs can be bought at Whisky.my. Buy now with our express delivery today!