Liqueurs may be drunk on their own but are mostly used in cocktails.
Liqueurs may be described as alcoholic beverages that use added sugar and are flavoured with different ingredients like fruits, nuts or herbs. Different countries around the world produce different types of liqueurs, each with a unique flavour. They may be drunk on their own but are mostly used in cocktails. Here are five liqueurs from around the world:
Mezcal is the traditional term for distilled agave spirits in Mexico. Different regions in Mexico produce different varieties of mezcal, the most well-known of which is tequila, made with blue agave. After tequila started being mass produced and became famous worldwide, the word ‘mezcal’ was used to describe the varieties made in southern Mexico (in places like Oaxaca) and typically using non-industrial processes. Tequila is made by cooking the heart of the agave plant, and mezcal by slow-roasting it in an underground fire pit. This results in a liqueur with a smoky flavor. Recently, mezcal has gained popularity outside of Mexico and begun to be used in cocktails.
Curaçao is a colourless liqueur flavoured with Laraha oranges. Its creation can be traced back to the 16th century, when Spanish colonisers brought Valencian oranges to Curaçao, a Caribbean island. After the fruit failed to adapt to the local climate, locals began to use the peel to produce liqueurs. Blue curaçao uses artificial colours to give the liqueur its bright blue hue and has a distinct orange flavour. Several companies produce blue curaçao, and some don’t use Laraha oranges. Blue curaçao is used to flavour cocktails, giving them an attractive blue colour.
Creme de cassis
Originating from Burgundy in France, creme de cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur that was first commercially produced in the 1800s. It is made by macerating blackcurrants in a neutral spirit. Creme de cassis has a characteristic dark purple colour, and a balanced flavour profile with sweetness and slight tartness. It is used to make cocktails like Kir. Despite its French origins, the liqueur is also made in England, Alberta, Quebec and Tasmania. In 1979, Germany tried to restrict the import of creme de cassis because its alcohol content was low. In 2015, ‘Creme de Cassis de Bourgogne’ was awarded Protected Geographical Indication.
The term ‘coconut rum’ is used to describe coconut-flavoured liqueurs with rum as the base. The rum used is usually white or gold, and the coconut flavouring may be natural or artificial. Their alcohol content is mostly low. While coconut rum is produced around the world, its main and most proud producer remains the Caribbean Islands. Coconut rum is light and fragrant, and used in making many cocktails. Malibu is a popular coconut rum brand, which is used in popular cocktails like pina coladas and mojitos and also drunk with Coca Cola.
It is hotly debated whether the country of origin of pisco is Chile or Peru. Both countries consider the pisco sour their national drink. Chile and Peru import pisco from each other, but don’t allow it to be labelled so. Pisco is essentially a brandy distilled from wine. Some Chilean piscos are aged in wood while all Peruvian ones are kept in neutral vessels made of material like glass or stainless steel. Also, Peruvian pisco can be distilled only once and must not be diluted by water or other mixers. The resulting spirit is clear. Recently, pisco cocktails have become trendy with bars across the world dedicating themselves exclusively to pisco.