Liqueur and Cordial are great for sipping and wallowing in unique tastes and aromas… the perfect after-dinner drink, sweet and with just enough alcohol to give a pleasant mild kick mellowed with classy flavours and fragrances. This refined spirit is relished as an accompaniment to dessert, or even as a sweet to replace it. Often called ‘sweet alcohol’, they are available in different flavours. Liqueurs and cordials have been around right from the Middle Ages, first developed by the Christian monks to help the sick. The monks added secret combinations of honey, seeds, herbs, spices, roots, and bark to distilled-base spirits and offered them as remedies. To minimise the harsh taste they were sweetened with dates, figs, or honey. Over time and with the advent of cane sugar, these spirits became popular only for their taste and the medicinal tag was dropped. Though cane sugar is the predominant sweetener, many fine liqueurs still use honey and other ingredients for sweetening and character. Liqueurs are usually flavoured with herbs and cordials are generally prepared with fruit pulp or juices. They can be made from herbs, spices, fruit, vegetables, twigs, roots, berries, nuts, beans, seeds, and just about any botanical product you can imagine. They can have added dairy, such as milk or cream, for what is called a Cream Liqueur (like Bailey’s Irish Cream). Liqueurs are sometimes called schnapps in the US. In India, some examples of liqueurs are the orange-based cordial, Cointreau, and less expensive Triple Sec, Peach Schnapps, Kalhua (Mexican Coffee Liqueur) Irish Baileys and others. There are various ways to serve liqueurs; either in a quality cocktail or enjoy it on its own.
Off late, liqueur coffee is fast gaining popularity as the perfect end to a meal – a cup of coffee spiked with a shot of liquor (usually restricted to 30-60 ml), topped with crème and served as the after-dinner drink either hot or cold. Many up-scale hotels serve liqueurs in their coffee shops. Try some Liqueur if you head out this evening & let us know if you like it.