Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Whether pure, on ice, with water or in a cocktail. Liqueur is not only an indispensable component of every bar. Liqueur is also more versatile than one might first assume. In desserts, for baking, with friends, after a meal, as a gift - there are countless uses.

But few people know what distinguishes a liqueur from other sugary spirits, or what to look for when buying a high-quality liqueur. In the following, we will take a closer look at this unjustly little-noticed drink.




The most important facts

  • A good liqueur does not always have to be expensive. A lot of money can be saved if you do not attach importance to brand names.
  • It doesn't take much to make liqueur yourself. With tools that everyone has at home, a delicious liqueur can be conjured up with ease.
  • Not everything that tastes like a liqueur is a liqueur. The type and content of the alcohol are decisive.

The Best Liqueur: Our Picks

Not all liqueurs are the same. Sometimes there are serious differences in quality. Reason enough to take a closer look. So let's dive into the world of liqueurs:

Buying and evaluation criteria for liqueurs

We have tested the quality of liqueurs on the basis of these criteria:

The points mentioned are not exhaustive, but they cover the most important criteria needed to evaluate liqueurs. Now let us explain them in detail:

Taste

Not surprisingly, taste plays the most central role. Even if the liqueur is convincing in all other respects, if it is not tastefully appealing, none of this helps.

Liqueur is often a component of many cocktails and long drinks (Image source: HOerwin56 / pixabay)

Of course, tastes differ, and this is no different with liqueurs. What we pay special attention to is the balance and spectrum of taste. A good liqueur should not be too penetrating and should still taste good after the second glass.

Appearance

When it comes to appearance, the main focus is on the colour. But the interplay of colour and bottle design is also taken into account. It is not necessarily true that the more eye-catching, the better.

Glitter particles and bright colours may immediately catch the eye, but they can also be inappropriate. The decisive factor is that the look also fits the respective type of liqueur. This means that an Amaretto with a floating, colourful layer of glitter is not necessarily preferable to a plain, rich wood-coloured one.

Alcohol

As we will see below, not every sweet alcoholic drink is automatically a liqueur. It needs a certain alcohol content for us to speak of a liqueur. The extent to which non-alcoholic liqueur is a healthier alternative is also discussed here.

The alcoholic basis of the liqueur is also analysed. That is, whether the liqueur was made on the basis of rum, vodka, schnapps, etc.. And in particular: were high-quality spirits used, or do they try to conceal the fusel taste with sugar and aroma?

Consumption options

Liqueurs also differ in the ways they can be used. While some round off baked goods and desserts, others are more suitable for pure consumption.

Still other liqueurs are so unique in their taste that they can basically only be consumed in one way. Which one that is will be discussed later on.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about liqueur answered in detail

Most of the questions we receive on the subject of liqueur can be grouped into four categories.

Which liqueur goes with which occasion?

One question that comes up again and again in connection with liqueur is that of the appropriate occasion. The basic rule is: taste comes before occasion. Just because tradition says that orange liqueur is drunk at Christmas doesn't mean you have to go for it.

When consuming liqueur, one should follow one's own preferences and not adhere too rigidly to traditions and customs. On the other hand, it is of course questionable whether liqueur with Christmas spices on ice is a great treat in summer.

Can I also make liqueur myself?

Whether you can also make liqueur yourself is a question that does not arise in this way. Because it is so simple, the question should rather be: How can I make liqueur myself? This is where opinions differ. Those who advocate making it with the help of kitchen utensils tend to take the short route. In other words, all the ingredients are mixed together and that's it.

On the other hand, there are those who want to give the liqueur time to develop and mature. It can also happen that herbs steep in a spirit for weeks until they have released their colour and aroma.

What types of liqueur are there?

Basically, three types of liqueur can be distinguished: fruity, heavy and herbal liqueur. The fruity liqueur is light and best suited for the preparation of cocktails. The heavy liqueur is known in the form of nutty and creamy varieties. Amaretto falls under this category, as does chocolate or hazelnut liqueur.

Herbal liqueurs are currently experiencing a renaissance in all their forms. Herbal blends and pure mint are particularly popular. A special form is the alcohol-free liqueur. It is controversial to what extent it should be counted as a liqueur.

Is it worthwhile to buy brand-name liqueurs?

The price range within a product type can be enormous when it comes to liqueurs. Brand-name products that are more than three times as expensive as the cheaper versions are not uncommon. But how justified is this?

After in-depth tests and analyses, the editorial team comes to the conclusion that the differences are so marginal that reaching for the branded product is not worthwhile from a price-performance point of view. Of course, certain brands also convey a certain attitude to life, which explains the comparatively low consumption of cheap versions.

Conclusion

Liqueur has more to offer than one might generally expect. It is not only the wide variety of uses that make liqueur the ideal alcoholic drink, but also the wide range of different varieties. This ranges from fruity and light, to ethereal and minty, to heavy and creamy varieties.

As we have seen, a good liqueur does not necessarily have to be expensive either. As a rule, inexpensive products and own brands can easily convince in terms of taste. As we have shown, a tasty liqueur can also be prepared in no time at all with household resources. Trying it out is worthwhile - there are no limits to creativity.

Image source: LicorBeirao/ Pixabay

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