If you thought liquor and liqueur were the same, you're not alone - even their spellings are quite similar. People often use these two words interchangeably to refer to alcoholic beverages. But if you're seeking to know your drinks better, you need to avoid common mistakes like this one. Both liquor and liqueurs contain alcohol. They are both used as ingredients in many cocktails and handcrafted drinks today. A helpful mantra to remember is: while all liqueurs can be considered as liquor, not all liquor can be called liqueur. Still confused? Don't worry. Here's a step-by-step guide to the differences between liquor and liqueur:
How is liquor produced?
Liquor is produced by distilling fermented natural ingredients like grains, fruits or sugar. For instance, rum can be made from sugarcane molasses, vodka from cereals or potatoes and Goan feni from cashew apples or toddy. Liquor is, importantly, an unsweetened beverage.
How is liqueur produced?
The base for liqueurs is liquor itself. In order to make a liqueur, alcohol is flavoured with fruits, nuts, spices, herbs, etc. Some types even use coffee or chocolate! These infusions lend them a distinctive taste - they are often sweet or fruity in a way hard liquor never could be.
How much alcohol does liquor have?
Liquor tends to have higher alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage than liqueurs. Liquor is a distilled liquid and generally has an ABV of more than 35%.
How much alcohol does liqueur have?
Liqueurs tend to have an alcohol content of approximately 15-30% ABV. The flavours added to the base alcoholic ingredient tend to reduce the ABV of liqueurs.
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How is liquor best enjoyed?
Liquor can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or mixed in the form of a cocktail. They are a beverage in their own right and people have spent decades, if not centuries, developing the perfect way to enjoy their preferred liquor.
How is liqueur drunk?
Liqueurs are usually mixed in small quantities with hard liquor to produce flavoursome cocktails and other drinks. Historically, liqueurs were called cordials and were lauded for their medicinal properties. People consumed them as cures for certain medical ailments. Today, however, most liqueurs are a delicious addition to a favourite cocktail, and sometimes their hallmark ingredient. For instance, a Kir Royal derives its appeal from Creme de Cassis, a famous blackcurrant liqueur. Similarly, an Espresso martini is often considered incomplete without Kahlua, a Mexican liqueur. You might be wondering if liqueurs can be drunk on their own. Some types can be consumed in this way, but it is not common to do so.
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Different Types of liquor and liqueurs:
What are the most common types of liquor?
Most of us recognize liquor in the form of rum, brandy, vodka, tequila, gin, or whiskey. Within each subcategory, you will find innumerable variations based on ageing and production processes, base ingredients, additives and so on.
What are the most common types of liqueurs?
Liqueurs are generally classified according to the type of flavour added - Fruit liqueurs like Chambord and Cointreau, Nut liqueurs like Frangelico and Disaronno, Licorice liqueurs like Anisette and Pastis, Herb & spice liqueurs like Chartreuse and Drambuie, and many more!
About Toshita SahniToshita is fuelled by wordplay, wanderlust, wonderment and Alliteration. When she is not blissfully contemplating her next meal, she enjoys reading novels and roaming around the city.