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A liqueur is an alcoholic drink flavored variously by fruits, herbs, spices, flowers, nuts or cream combined with distilled spirits. Often served with or after dessert, they are typically heavily sweetened and un-aged beyond a resting period during production, when necessary, for their flavors to mingle.
Liqueurs are historical descendants of herbal medicines. They were made in Italy as early as the 13th century, often prepared by monks, (as in Chartreuse). Today they are produced the world over, commonly served straight, over ice, with coffee, in cocktails, and used in cooking.
In some areas of the United States and Canada, liqueurs are also referred to as cordials or schnapps, though the terms refer to different beverages elsewhere.
Every country in the world has its own regulations for the definition of a liqueur, but generally speaking, it would simply be: a distilled alcohol base with additional flavours, sugars and sometimes, colouring (with a minimum of 2.5% of the total volume being these added ingredients).