AskDefine | Define liqueur

Dictionary Definition

liqueur n : strong highly flavored sweet liquor usually drunk after a meal [syn: cordial]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A flavored alcoholic beverage usually highly sweetened and containing a high amount of alcohol. Cordials are a type of liqueur manufactured using the infusion process as opposed to the essence and distillation processes.

Related terms


a flavored alcoholic beverage
  • Bulgarian: ликьор (likjór)
  • Chinese: 利口酒 (lì kǒu jiǔ)
  • Croatian: liker
  • Estonian: liköör
  • Finnish: likööri
  • French: liqueur
  • German: Likör
  • Greek: ηδύποτο (iðípoto) , λικέρ (licér)
  • Hungarian: likőr
  • Japanese: リキュール
  • Polish: likier
  • Russian: ликёр
  • Spanish: licor
  • Swedish: likör

Extensive Definition

A liqueur is a sweet alcoholic beverage, often flavored with fruits, herbs, spices, flowers, seeds, roots, plants, barks, and sometimes cream. The word liqueur comes from the Latin word liquifacere which means "to dissolve." This refers to the dissolving of the flavorings used to make the liqueur. Liqueurs are not usually aged for long periods, but may have resting periods during their production to allow flavors to marry.
In some parts of the world people use the words cordial and liqueur interchangeably. Though in these places the two expressions both describe liqueurs made by redistilling spirits with aromatic flavorings and are usually highly sweetened, there are some differences. While liqueurs are usually flavored with herbs, cordials are generally prepared with fruit pulp or juices. Most liqueurs are noticeably sweet.
Liqueurs date back centuries and are historical descendants of herbal medicines, often those prepared by monks, as Chartreuse or Bénédictine. Liqueurs were made in Italy as early as the 13th century and their consumption was later required at all treaty signings during the Middle Ages.
Today, 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. The distinction between liqueur and spirits (sometimes liquors) is not simple, especially since many spirits are available in a flavored form today. Flavored spirits, however, are not prepared by infusion. Alcohol content is not a distinctive feature. At 15-30%, most liqueurs have a lower alcohol content than spirits, but some liqueurs have an alcohol content as high as 55%. Dessert wine, on the other hand, may taste like a liqueur, but contains no additional flavoring.
There are many categories of liqueurs including: fruit liqueur, cream liqueur, coffee liqueur, chocolate liqueur, schnapps liqueur, brandy liqueur, anise liqueur, nut-flavoured liqueur, and herbal liqueur.
Anise 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 out when the alcohol concentration is reduced.
Layered drinks made by floating different-coloured liqueurs in separate layers are attractive. 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.


liqueur in Bosnian: Liker
liqueur in Catalan: Licor
liqueur in Czech: Likér
liqueur in Danish: Likør
liqueur in German: Likör
liqueur in Estonian: Liköör
liqueur in Spanish: Licor
liqueur in Esperanto: Likvoro
liqueur in French: Liqueur
liqueur in Galician: Licor
liqueur in Croatian: Liker
liqueur in Ido: Liquoro
liqueur in Italian: Liquore
liqueur in Hebrew: ליקר
liqueur in Latin: Anisatum
liqueur in Lithuanian: Likeris
liqueur in Dutch: Likeur
liqueur in Japanese: リキュール
liqueur in Norwegian: Likør
liqueur in Polish: Likier
liqueur in Portuguese: Licor
liqueur in Russian: Ликёр
liqueur in Sicilian: Licori
liqueur in Simple English: Liqueur
liqueur in Finnish: Likööri
liqueur in Swedish: Likör
liqueur in Turkish: Likör
liqueur in Ukrainian: Лікер
liqueur in Chinese: 利口酒
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