liqueur(redirected from Cointreau)
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(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.