23 Apr 4 things you should know about liqueurs
Liqueurs are an essential part of a bar, whether it’s a professional one or a home bar. However, it is such a huge category that it can sometimes get a little confusing.
Here is a brief lowdown on liqueurs, from what they are and how to store them, to what is the difference between a cream liqueur and a crème liqueur.
1) What is a liqueur?
Simply put, a liqueur is a spirit with a high sugar content. It is usually made by adding a high volume of sugar content into a distilled spirit. They can be flavoured with fruits, herbs, spices, and other ingredients.
There are so many different types of liqueurs in the market – some may be hugely commercial, while others are made by small producers in their own backyard. Some of the best-known types of liqueurs include fruit liqueurs, crème liqueurs, cream liqueurs, coffee liqueurs, chocolate liqueurs, herbal liqueurs … the list goes on. Even triple secs are also considered liqueurs.
3) What’s the difference between a crème liqueur and a cream liqueur?
A crème liqueur is a liqueur that has so much sugar that it has an almost syrupy consistency to it. Crème liqueurs do not contain cream – ‘Crème’ refers to that syrupy consistency. More popular spirits in this category include crème de cassis (black currant), crème de menthe (mint), and crème de cacao (chocolate).
Cream liqueurs, on the other hand, are liqueurs that have dairy cream in the ingredients, like Bailey’s Irish Cream and Amarula. And yes, they actually are creamy.
3) How do you drink liqueurs?
It really depends on what kind of liqueur it is. The Italians drink aperitivo liqueurs like Aperritivo Rinomato as pre-meal aperitifs, usually neat, or with cocktails such as Americanos or negronis. The beauty of liqueurs is there are so many ways one can use the spirit, depending on what sort of liqueur it is – whether it’s drunk neat, with a soda, or in a cocktail.
Liqueurs are a prominent ingredient in many classic cocktails. For instance, Italian aperitivos like Rinomato are important in the making of the Negroni and Americano; while Chartreuse, a bright green French herbal liqueur made by the Carthusian Monks since 1737, is an essential ingredient in the classic Last Word cocktail.
Orange-flavoured triple sec liqueurs are obviously essential ingredients in classics like the Margarita and Cosmopolitan, while crème de cacao liqueurs like the Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Cacao go great in classics like the Brandy Alexander.
4) How do you store liqueurs?
The general rule of thumb when it comes to storing liqueur is, the more alcohol it has, the longer it can last. Some liqueurs, like Chartreuse or Becherovka have a high ABV, and can be stored at room temperature. However, cream-based liqueurs are best stored chilled, and consumed within a year of purchase.
Wholly Spirits Retail currently has an Easter promotion until April 25, which includes a 10% discount on the exceptional Tempus Fugit range of liqueurs, as well as rums like the Diplomatico Ambassador, Diplomatico Single Vintage 2004, and the Plantation Nicaragua 2003 .
Here is a brief description of the Tempus Fugitrange.
Tempus Fugit Creme De Noyaux
A classic 19th-century French liqueur made with distilled apricot and cherry pit kernels, combined with bitter almonds and other botanicals. The garnet-red color comes from the addition of cochineal, as directed by the original formula. (30% ABV)
Tempus Fugit Liqueur De Violettes
A violet floral liqueur based on a mid-19th-century French recipe and made only in micro-batches by Swiss distiller Oliver Matter for Tempus Fugit Spirits, using the finest French violets, traditionally hand-harvested in the sunny and historic Côte d’Azur, along the Mediterranean Sea. (22% ABV)
Tempus Fugit Crème De Menthe Glaciale
Fully distilled from botanicals, which is unique in its category. After cross-referencing manuals in three languages, it was discovered that a true historic crème de menthe is quite a complex spirit, and cannot be made correctly with mint alone. After finding a few recipes that remained faithful in these different languages, the necessary plant ingredients were assembled and numerous test distillations conducted. The botanicals are macerated and then fully distilled; the finished distillate is reduced with spring water and cane sugar. It is a costly process with a small yied, but produces the best results and the most authentic product. (28% ABV)
Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
Tempus Fugit Spirits Crème de Cacao is based on a 19th-century recipe, cross-referenced in English and French. Terroir is important for ingredients, and the original source of cacao for the best Crème de Cacao was cacao from Venezuela while the best source of vanilla was from Mexico, so it was important that these two ingredients be specifically sourced to reproduce the best quality of Crème de Cacao. The raw cacao is distilled and the distillate is then macerated with additional cacao and crushed whole vanilla bean. The process not only gives a depth of character, but also naturally colors the Crème de Cacao a medium brown. (24% ABV)