Liqueurs are wonderfully flavorful alcoholic concoctions that pair a liquor base with other ingredients ranging from herbs and spices to fruits and nuts. The resulting product retains the strong flavor of the key ingredient while masking the liquor. They’re used for making everything from mixed drinks to food recipes and are often consumed on their own.
Here’s our little guide to making the more prevalent among them. Links bring you to our recipes for that particular liqueur type.
Abisante – Pale green anise-flavored liqueur. Turns opalescent when dripped slowly over ice. Replaces the outlawed absinthe.
Absinthe – An anise-flavored liqueur that was originally 136 proof and was outlawed for years in most countries. Abisante, Pernod and Herbsaint can be used to replace Absinthe in cocktail recipes.
Advocaat – A liqueur from Holland made of egg yolks, brandy, sugar and vanilla that is often enjoyed straight or on the rocks.
Amaretto – An almond flavored liqueur made with apricot pits. This liqueur is commonly paired with a coffee liqueur in drinks like a Toasted Almond or used as a smooth liqueur in shooters like the Alabama Slammer.
Aperol – An Italian aperitif produced from a recipe developed in 1919. Its primary flavor is orange but also includes rhubarb, chinchona, genziana along with other “secret” herbs. Used in many cocktails including Rimbaud’s Left Hand and Rhyme & Reason.
Averna – An Italian bitter liqueur (or Amaro) still produced from the original 1868 recipe of herbs, roots and citrus rinds with natural caramel for sweetness. The liqueur is a favorite digestif in Italy and is often served on the rocks, but it also makes a great mixer for cocktails.
Barenjaeger – A honey-flavored liqueur produced in Germany whose beginnings were in medieval Europe.
Benai – An American version of Benedictine.
Benedictine – Made of herbs, roots and sugar with a Cognac base. Try Benedictine in a B&B.
Blackberry liqueur, blackberry-flavored brandy – The flavored brandy is sweeter than the liqueur and makes a wonderful blackberry sour.
Butterscotch liqueur, butterscotch schnapps – A liqueur made from a mix of butter and brown sugar that tastes like butterscotch candy. Sometimes refered to as Buttershots (brand name produced by DeKuyper).
Cacao Mit Nuss – Crème de cacao with a hazelnut flavor.
Campari – A bitter Italian apèritif made with a unique blend of herbs and spices with orange being the dominant flavor. The secret recipe was originally developed by Gaspare Campari in 1860 for his Cafè Campari in Milan. Campari is often served on the rocks either by itself or mixed with club soda and is also a key ingredient in many apèritif cocktails such as Negroni and Americano.
Chambord – A liqueur that dates back to 1685 when Louis XIV visited Château de Chambord. Chambord is produced in the Loire valley in France and is made from red and black raspberries, honey, vanilla, and cognac.
Chartreuse – An herbal liqueur produced by Carthusian monks in the French Alps. It is available as either Green or Yellow Chartreuse and as a special V.E.P. bottling of both varieties, which is aged for a longer period of time.
Cherry liqueur – A tart fruit accent made of cherries and pits. A great on the rocks sipper as well. Also see maraschino liqueur…
Coffee liqueur, Crème de Café- Coffee-flavored liqueur – The most popular coffee liqueur is the Mexican Kahlua. Others include Tia Maria from Jamaica, Expresso from dark-roasted Italian coffee, crème de café of Brazil, and Pasha from Turkey. Any of the coffee liqueurs are great served ice-cold with heavy cream floating on top.
Cointreau – An orange-flavored cousin of triple sec, curaçao and Grand Mariner.
Crème d’ Abricots, Apricot Liqueur, Apry – Cream of apricot liqueur from France. Luscious when drizzled in a Champagne flute over cracked ice.
Crème d’ Almond– A pink liqueur flavored with almonds and fruit stones. Similar to crème de noyaux.
Crème de Bananes, Banana Liqueur – Cream of banana liqueur that is usually quite sweet and is true to the fruit’s flavor. Wonderful addition for a banana daiquiri.
Crème de Cacao – Cacao (chocolate) and vanilla bean based liqueur. Available in both white and brown varieties. The white is used in a Grasshopper while the brown is used in an Alexander.
Crème de Cassis – A sweet, low-proof liqueur made from French blackcurrants.
Crème de Cerise – French name for cherry liqueur.
Crème de Framboise – A crème liqueur with a raspberry flavor.
Crème de Menthe – This sweet liqueur flavored with mint leaves and is either white (clear) or green.
Crème de Noyaux – A pink liqueur has a distinct almond flavor and is made with the stones of plums, cherries, peaches and apricots.
Curaçao – Made of the dried peels of small green oranges, spices and sometimes port wine and rum. Normally it is orange in color but can also be white, blue or green.
Damiana – A lightly-flavored herbal liqueur produced in Mexico. The primary ingredient is the damiana herb grown in Baha California, Mexico that has long been used as an aphrodisiac. Try this liqueur in a Damiana Golden.
Domaine de Canton – A ginger-flavored liqueur with an eau-de-vie and Cognac base produced in France. Read more and find cocktails…
Drambuie – The guarded formula for this liqueur includes Scotch (at least 10 years old), heather honey and herbs. The name comes from the Gaelic dram buidheach which translate to “the drink that satisfies.”
Dubonnet Blanc, Dubonnet Blond, White Dubonnet – One of the two styles of Dubonnet, a French wine based aperitif. Blanc is made by adding herbs and botanicals to fortified dry white wine.
Dubonnet Rouge, Red Dubonnet – The sweeter, richer of the two styles of Dubonnet. Rouge has a red wine base that is flavored with spices.
Ecstasy – This lemon and pomegranate flavored, clear liqueur is energized with natural stimulants including guarana, taurine and ginseng. Read more and find cocktails…
Frangelico – A hazelnut flavored liqueur made from the infusion of toasted hazelnuts into alcohol and water. It is receives additional flavors from toasted coffee, cocoa, vanilla berries and rhubarb root.
Galliano – A smooth, spicy liqueur with overtones of anise and vanilla from Livorno, Italy.
Ginger Liqueur – A ginger-flavored liqueur that is made with a variety of ginger. Herbs and honey are also often added to a brandy, rum or neutral spirit.
Gingerbread Liqueur – A gingerbread-flavored liqueur produced by Hiram Walker that is only available during the autumn and winter seasons.
Godiva – A line of chocolate liqueurs produced by the renowned Godiva Chocolatier.
Grand Marnier – A distinguished orange liqueur from France with a Cognac base.
GranGala Triple Orange – An orange liqueur with a Italian VSOP brandy base and flavored by Mediterranean oranges. A substitute for Grand Marnier.
Herbsaint – Another substitute for absinthe.
Hpnotiq – This ocean blue tropical liqueur is a nice blend of vodka, cognac and just the right fruits (a family secret) that is a great substitute for blue curaçao.
Irish Cream Liqueur – A creamy liqueur made of Irish whiskey, cream, and chocolate that is used in many cocktails and shooters.
Irish Mist – A sweet, aromatic blend of Irish whiskey, honey, herbs and other spirits made with a recipe that dates back more than 1,000 years. One cocktail that features Irish Mist is an Irish Canadian.
Jagermeister – Jagermeister is a herbal liqueur produced in Germany with a somewhat notorious reputation which is often served in shooters but can also be enjoyed in finer cocktails.
Loft Lavender Cello – Loft is a brand of certified organic liqueurs and this particular bottle is infused with lavender. It is a distilled spirit that is both sweet and herbal.
Limoncello – A sweet, lemon-flavored Italian dessert liqueur made from lemon zests.
Lychee Liqueur – Very sweet liqueurs flavored by either distilling or infusing lychee fruit into a base spirit. Lychee-flavored liqueurs are some of the most recently developed spirits that have filled a demand for an easy to make Lichtinis.
Maraschino– A clear, dry cherry-flavored liqueur made from the Marasca cherry and pits. This is a popular cocktail mixer, including many of the classics.
Midori– A light green-colored liqueur that has a sweet melon flavor. It’s a versatile liqueur for cocktails including the Grinch and Vanilla Vixen.
Navan– A liqueur with a Cognac base flavored with natural black vanilla from Madagascar. This premium spirit is produced by Grand Marnier and follows in the company’s fine tradition of flavored Cognacs.
O-Cha – A Japanese green-tea liqueur with a bitter aftertaste. Great finish for an oriental dinner.
Ouzo – A popular Greek apéritif liqueur that is usually over 90 proof. Normally mixed four parts water to one part ouzo.
PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur – A super-sweet, red liqueur infused with pomegranates. This premium spirit makes a great POM Martini and is a nice accent for a variety of food dishes.
Patron XO Cafe – A tequila-based liqueur with the flavor of coffee essence. The liqueur is drier and not as sweet as other coffee liqueurs but is stronger at a much higher 70 proof.
Peach Liqueur – Made from an infusion of whole, fresh and/or dried peaches in brandy or a neutral spirit base.
Peppermint Schnapps – Similar to crème de menthe, but uses less sugar and more alcohol.
Pernod – The distinctive flavor of Pernod is created through a combination of star anise and several aromatic herbs and plants. Replaces the outlawed absinthe.
Pimento Dram – A peppery Jamaican rum liqueur with an allspice flavor that is found in many classic cocktails. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram is one modern brand.
Pimm’s Cup – A brand of liqueurs that combines a secret recipe of fruit and spices and adds it to a variety of base liqueurs. The most common is the gin-based, Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, which is featured in a favorite mixed drink of Southern England, the Pimm’s Cup.
Pineapple liqueur, Licor de Piña – A pleasant tart fruit liqueur from the Caribbean or Hawaii.
Pumpkin Liqueur – A pumpkin-flavored liqueur that is usually produced during the autumn and winter months. Brands available include Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice and Bols Pumpkin Smash.
Raki – A high-proof liqueur with an anise flavor from Turkey.
Reishu – A melon liqueur from the Far East.
St. Germain – A French elderflower liqueur with an eau-de-vie base.
Sambuca – An Italian liqueur made from the sambuca plant. The flavor is similar to a subtle anise and is showcased in cocktails like the Licorice Stick.
Sloe gin – A red liqueur, which is not a gin at all, made from the sloe plums of the blackthorn bush. Some types will produce a creamy head when shaken with ice, this is indicated on the bottle label.
Southern Comfort – An American liqueur made from a whiskey base flavored with peaches. It is an excellent mixer and is 100 proof, adding to its comforting qualities.
Sylk Cream Liqueur – A distinctly flavored cream liqueur made by Drambuie. The secret recipe includes cream, heather honey and aged malt whiskey. Enjoy it on the rocks or in a Pumpkin Martini.
Tangerine – A liqueur made of tangerine with mild spice flavors.
Tequila Rose – A strawberry-flavored liqueur made in Mexico. It is a mix of strawberry liqueur and tequila and is used in many cocktails like the Strawberry Kiss.
Triple Sec – A colorless orange-flavored liqueur similar to Cointreau. Additional flavors of orange-flower water, orris root and other fragrances distinguishes it from similar liqueurs.
Tuaca – An Italian liqueur supposedly created by the Renaissance era ruler, Lorenzo the Magnificent. The flavors are a subtle blend of vanilla and citrus. Try it in a Hot Apple Pie.
TY KU – A pale green liqueur with sake and Asian vodka base. The flavor is a mix of over 20 all natural fruits and botanicals including pomegranate, ginseng and damiana.
X-Rated Fusion – A pink liqueur from France that infuses mango, Provence blood oranges and passion fruit in premium vodka.