Liqueurs may be defined as sweetened and flavored spirits. Liqueurs were known in ancient Roman times but developed in the Middle Ages through experiments with distillation of herbs, flowers and grape juice. The ancient cordials were used as medicines, and the recipes guarded with immense secrecy. To this day, the ingredients of some famous liqueurs remain secrets off monasteries after which they are named.
A liqueur basically consists a spirit base that has flavorings added to it, and is sweetened. The flavorings used include fruits, flowers, roots, leaves, herbs, spices, and the suchlike. 1
Liqueurs are made by two basic means:
Heat or infusion method - Best when herbs, peels or roots are used as heat can extract the oils, flavors and aromas. A pot still is used here.
Cold or maceration method - Best when soft fruits and flowers are used, as heat would kill the aromas. The flavoring are steeped in the spirit in large oak casks.
Liqueurs are thought to assist digestion, and are hence popularly consumed after the meal.
SERVICE OF LIQUEURS
Liqueurs are usually served straight up in a liqueur glass. As they are normally served alongside coffee, the liqueur glass is placed at the right of the coffee cup, but not near the edge of the table. Liqueurs may also be served frapped, and in this case, they may be served in a variety of glasses, including champagne saucer and cocktail glass.
Service varies a little when there is liqueur trolley present, and in this case, the trolley is rolled to the guest and the chosen liqueur served at the guests table in the glass and served.
FAMOUS LIQUEURS OF THE WORLD
France, Spain, Italy, Holland Aquavit
Herbs, mainly caraway seeds
Potato or grain distillate
Palm sap distillate
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