Liqueurs, also known as cordials, are flavored spirits containing no less than 2.5% sugar by weight and prepared by mixing or redistilling any type of spirit with fruit, plants, or other natural substances. All liqueurs require the same four steps in production: base spirit selection, flavor source, extraction method, and sweetener. Origin: Liqueurs have been available for centuries dating back to the Middle Ages. Produced mainly with a spirit base of brandy, they were primarily flavored with plants, herbs and spices for use as a digestive aid. In the early 19th century, certain countries became famous for their liqueur styles: Holland for orange-flavored liqueurs, Germany for its herbal products, and Scotland for liqueurs made from whisky.
Fruit liqueurs get their dominant flavor from the pulp, skin, peel, or pit of a fruit.
Herbal liqueurs include flavors derived from flowers, herbs, roots, and spices. Many herbal liqueurs include multiple spices and herbs in their recipe.
A relatively new style, cream liqueurs have advanced by better shelf life research on creams. The use of cream in a liqueur is mainly for a textural, mellowing component and a wide variety of flavors exist.
These liqueurs use whisky as the base and often derive much of the attributes from the whisky. Other flavorings are used, but the aroma and taste of the base spirit overrides the flavoring element.