Liqueurs are spirituous beverages with a sugar content of minimum 100g/l (0.1 fl oz/oz). They have an alcohol content between 15 and 40 % vol. Liqueurs are used to sweeten and flavor mixed drinks, apart of adding alcohol.
A bottle of Disaronno, a famous amaretto brand
Amaretto is an Italian liqueur made from almonds and apricot kernels. It has around 25% vol. of alcohol.
Amaretto is frequently served as a dessert accompanied by coffee. The most famous cocktail is Amaretto Sour.
A bottle of Kahl˙a, a popular coffee liqueur
Coffee liqueur is very sweet and tastes of coffee. Because of its high sugar content, coffee liqueur is mainly used for mixed drinks. Most people don┤t like drinking it pure.
The two biggest brands, the Mexican Kahl˙a and the Jamaican Tia Maria, use rum, coffee and vanilla for their liqueur.
Black and white Russian are the most popular drinks with coffee liqueur. There are more mixtures, most of them contain also vodka.
A bottle of Blue Curašao from Bols
Curašao is a sweet orange liqueur which is used for lots of cocktails.
The name comes from the so called island next to Venezuela. In comparison with triple sec, it has a lower alcohol content of about 20-30 % vol.
Dried orange peels and further spices are pickled in high proof alcohol to dissolve their aromas.
Especially for cocktails a wide range of colorized types are available, like e.g. blue or green curašao. The color is generated by adding food colorant and doesn't affect the taste.
Curašao has a wide use for cocktails, especially attractive drinks can be mixed with the colorized ones.
A bottle of melon Bols, a popular melon liqueur
Melon liqueur has a very typical taste of melons and is usually dyed with green food coloring. A good alternative to melon syrup.
It's a liqueur almost exclusively produced for mixed drinks. For most people is it too sweet to be drunken pure.
Because of it's remarkable color, you can mix very good looking cocktails with melon liqueur, but its only part of an extended bar stock.
A bottle of peach liqueur
Traditionally peach liqueur is produce by maceration of peaches. In many commercial products you notice that they are using artificial flavoring. A sweet liqueur which tastes of peaches.
Most product are dyed in orange or yellow, or sold transparent like e.g. Bols Peach.
There are some recipes with peach liqueur, but it's not an important part of a bar at home. We believe fresh peaches taste so much better that liqueur or syrup, that we prefer fresh fruits or fruit juice for cocktails.
Production process of liqueurs
Conventionally liqueurs are produced by the method of maceration (dissolve out flavoring agents by insertion in high proof alcohol) followed by another distillation. With adding sugar or honey afterwards the sugar content of minimum 100g per liter is reached, which is regulated.
Apart of maceration there are some new procedures in liqueur production, up to simply mix fruit syrup, aromas and alcohol. Most liqueurs are colorized with food color.
A bottle of strawberry Bols, a popular strawberry liqueur.
Logically, strawberry liqueur tastes of strawberries and it's quiet sweet. The red color develops naturally by inserting strawberries into high proof alcohol. Commercially available products are at least beautified with red food coloring or completely dyed, because the liqueur is distilled again or it's based on artificial flavoring.
Apart of cocktails, strawberry liqueur is used for all kind of deserts. Recipes with strawberry liqueur, like e.g. Strawberry Margarita or Strawberry Punch are delicious, but it's a liqueur that belongs only to the extended stock of a bar at home.
A bottle of white vermouth from Martini
Vermouth is flavored vine with vermouth, alcohol, sweetener and other herbs and spices. It has an alcohol content of about 15-18% vol. There is white (bianco) and red (rosso) vermouth, which taste quite different.
Vermouth is mainly used for mixed drinks, lots of recipes are available.