A liqueur (US: //, UK: //) is an alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit flavored with either fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers or nuts, and is bottled with added sugars and other sweeteners, (such as high-fructose corn syrup). Liqueurs are typically sweet. Liqueurs are not aged for a large amount of time once the ingredients are mixed. A resting period during the production process allows the flavors to mingle. In some areas of the United States and Canada liqueurs are also referred to as cordials or schnapps, though the terms refer to different beverages elsewhere.
Nowadays, liqueurs are made worldwide and are served in many ways: by themselves, poured over ice, with coffee, mixed with cream or other mixers to create cocktails, etc. They are often served with or after a dessert. Liqueurs are also used in cooking.
Some liqueurs are prepared by infusing certain woods, fruits, or flowers in either water or alcohol and adding sugar or other items. Others are distilled from aromatic or flavoring agents. Anise and Rakı liqueurs have the interesting property of turning from transparent to cloudy when added to water: the oil of anise remains in solution in the presence of a high concentration of alcohol, but crystallizes when the alcohol concentration is reduced; this is known as the ouzo effect.
Bottles of homemade strawberry liqueur
Liqueurs are sometimes mixed into cocktails to provide flavor.
Layered drinks are made by floating different-colored liqueurs in separate layers. Each liqueur is poured slowly into a glass over the back of a spoon or down a glass rod, so that the liquids of different densities remain unmixed, creating a striped effect.
In the United States and Canada, where spirits are often called "liquor" (//), there is often confusion discerning between liqueurs and liquors, due to the many different types of flavored spirits that are available today (e.g. flavored vodka). Liqueurs generally contain a lower alcohol content (15–30% ABV) than spirits and it has sweetener mixed, while some can have an ABV as high as 55%.
Under the Food and Drug Regulations (C.R.C., c. 870), liqueurs are produced from mixing alcohol with plant materials. These materials include juices or extracts from fruits, flowers, leaves or other plant materials. The extracts are obtained by soaking, filtering or softening the plant substances. A sweetening agent should be added in an amount that is at least 2.5 percent of the finished liqueur. The alcohol percentage shall be at least 23%. It may also contain natural or artificial flavouring and color.
In some parts of the United States and Canada, liqueurs may be referred to as cordials, or schnapps. This can cause confusion as in the United Kingdom a cordial would refer to a non-alcoholic concentrated fruit syrup, that is diluted to taste, and consumed as a non-carbonated soft drink. Schnapps, on the other hand, can refer to any distilled beverage in Germany and aquavit in Scandinavian countries.
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O/W and W/O nano-emulsions can also be formed without a surfactant by self-emulsification, using the so-called Ouzo effect. The major components of Ouzo (a Greek drink) are trans-anethole, ethanol, and water. Anethole is almost insoluble ...
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- Liqueurs at The Cook's Thesaurus.