Originally made to mask the poor quality of early spirits, liqueurs are a sweet and versatile drink for all sorts of occasions
While liqueurs were always traditionally seen as a drink to have with (or over) a dessert, the last century has seen liqueurs playing an essential role in cocktail recipes, and more recently has found a place in some innovative cuisine .
When spirits were first distilled for drinking purposes it is likely there was a harshness and roughness to these early spirits especially given that long maturation was either unheard of or so expensive that very few did it. To solve this, fruits, herbs and honey were added to override the worst of a spirit's nature and create a pleasant, sweet drink with a bit of a kick. Furthermore, it was an excellent way of preserving the natural seasonal bounty of local fruits so they could be enjoyed all year round.
Eventually, as refining methods became more efficient, cheaper and easier, people began to mix ingredients with the spirits that would allow the flavours to blend together rather than suppress each other. Cream was also introduced to create a thicker liqueur that simply allowed spirits like whisky to shine with its own flavours. These developments made amazing drinks that worked well by themselves or simply over ice.
Currently, the law requires 100 grams of sugar per litre, but the lack of any other restrictions has allowed drinks companies to make their own branded liqueurs, balancing their spirits with ingredients to make signature flavours, and has allowed liqueurs to develop into a fantastic style in their own right.
A small batch orange liqueur created for cocktails, Fortunella has lovely delicate fruity notes, with hints of Jaffa Cakes.
Ginger root and spices, mascerated with wine. Originally produced by James Hutchison in 1750 this is apparently the only ginger wine made in Scotland, so Paul Aston (the owner) is keeping a very Scott ...
This liqueur named after Haitian revolutionary hero Toussaint L’Ouverture recalls the history of this small country by blending oak aged Caribbean rum and premium Arabica coffee, two resources that ...