liqueur

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liqueur

(lĭkûr`), strong alcoholic beverage made of almost neutral spirits, flavored with herb mixtures, fruits, or other materials, and usually sweetened. The name derives from the Latin word to melt. Liqueur can be produced by either macerating the flavoring elements in alcohol, which is then distilled or by percolation, which passes heated alcohol through the flavorings. In both processes, the flavored spirit is sweetened with sugar, syrup, or honey; coloring, if desired, can be added. The mixture is filtered, aged if preferred, and bottled. The processes and ingredients are often strictly guarded secrets. No more than three people at one time are said to know the formula for making Benedictine. The alcoholic content of liqueurs usually ranges from about 34 to 60 proof, but can reach 100 proof. Liqueurs are usually served after dinner and sipped from small glasses, a process said to aid digestion. Indeed, many famous liqueurs, notably benedictinebenedictine
, sweet liqueur originated in 1510 by Benedictine monks at Fécamp, France, and now manufactured by a secular concern on the grounds of the old abbey. Every bottle bears the initials of the Latin dedication Deo Optimo Maximo
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 and chartreusechartreuse
, liqueur made exclusively by Carthusians at their monastery, La Grande Chartreuse, France, until their expulsion in 1903. The French distillery and trademark were sold, and the order set up a new plant in Tarragona, Spain.
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, were invented by monks experimenting with herbs and other plants in the search for medicines. Other liqueurs include kirsch, kümmel, Cointreau, crème de menthe, Drambuie, and Grand Marnier. Both Cointreau and Grand Marnier are types of curaçao, a liqueur flavored with the dried peel of the green oranges from the West Indian island of CuraçaoCuraçao
, island (1989 est. pop. 146,100), 178 sq mi (461 sq km), an autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located in the Lesser Antilles off the coast of Venezuela. Curaçao is semiarid; most of the plant life is of desert character.
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. The fruit brandies known as eaux-de-vie, sometimes referred to as liqueurs, are not members of this category.

Liqueur

 

(from Latin liquor, “liquid”), a strong alcoholic beverage containing up to 35 percent sugar and 45 percent alcohol by volume. The first liqueurs in Western Europe were made in Holland (kümmel). In olden times the art of liqueur-making was practiced in many countries by monks and druggists, who used medicinal herbs, roots, flowers, and fruits in their closely guarded secret recipes. The art was developed particularly in France, where the liqueurs have long been famous. Two exemplary old French liqueurs are Benedictine, named for the monastic order, and Chartreuse, named for the Grande Chartreuse Monastery.

There are strong, dessert, and crème liqueurs. Grapes (late vintage) with a sugar content of no less than 24–26 percent are used for liqueurs; concentrated must is added to grapes with lower sugar content. Liqueurs are also made from fortified fruit and berry juices; infusions of aromatic herbs, roots, seeds, leaves, flowers, citrus fruit peels, beans (coffee, cocoa), and spices (vanilla, cinnamon, cloves); solutions of essential oils, aromatic spirits, sugar (and sometimes molasses) syrup, rectified spirits, citric acid, and softened water.

liqueur

[li′kər]
(food engineering)
An alcoholic beverage prepared by combining a spirit, usually brandy, with certain flavorings and sugar.

liqueur

a. any of several highly flavoured sweetened spirits such as kirsch or cointreau, intended to be drunk after a meal
b. (as modifier): liqueur glass
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