Liqueurs -

The numerous beverages classed under this heading differ widely in character. Some of them are prepared direct from fruits by fermentation and distillation, but the majority may be described in a general way as highly sweetened brandy or other spirit, flavored and aromatized with one or more spices, herbs or fruits, or with a combination of all three. Their attractiveness is frequently enhanced by coloring with vegetable or harmless coal-tar EXTRACTS and putting up in bottles, etc., of fanciful design.

It is the great care exercised in their preparation that has held the best known liqueurs so high and so long in public esteem - principally among good livers who are capable of discrimination. It is, however, so easy to manufacture grossly inferior imitations which resemble the original products closely enough to deceive the inexperienced, that caution should be exercised in buying.

Compound liqueurs are made (1) by bringing the aromatic properties of the fruits, herbs, etc., in contact with vaporized, generally alcoholic, liquor; (2) by distillation of the liquor following the addition of essences or essential oils (see remarks on Natural essences in the article on EXTRACTS), or (3) by dissolving essences in strong rectified spirits of wine. Ingredients, as sugar syrup, which are not volatile, are added after distillation.

The production of liqueurs or cordials is at least as old as the records of civilization. Long before the Christian era, similar fragrant beverages were made both for human use and as offerings to heathen gods. Later, "cordials" - still of the same main characteristics, but improved by distillation and the advance of knowledge - were prominent in medical practice and graced every festival and celebration. In the Middle Ages, their use was fostered by the various orders of monks and nuns. To-day, France, Italy, Germany and the United States have large interests involved in their manufacture.

Confusion occasionally arises from the indiscriminate use of the terms Eau de ("water of") and Crème de ("cream of"). Properly applied, Eau de (as, for example, Eau de Cédrat) means that the liqueur, though sweetened, is not syrupy. Crème de (as, Crème de Cédrat) means that sufficient sugar has been added to give it syrupy consistence.

Extrait de ("extract of") and Elixir de ("elixir of"), are used in the same way as Eau de.

Baume de ("balm of") and Huile de ("oil of"), are used in the same way as Crème de.

Ratafia (which see) is a generic term often applied to simple, light liqueurs, such as Apricot Ratafia, cherry Ratafia, etc.

ROSOLIO, in addition to its specific use, is sometimes employed to signify special choiceness.

The liqueurs most popular in this country are absinthe, BéNéDICTINE, CHARTREUSE, CRèME DE MENTHE, Curaçao, KIRSCH, Kümmel, MARASCHINO and VERMOUTH. The term is also frequently applied to fine old COGNAC brandy, choice well-aged Schiedam Schnapps (gin), rich old wines such as Tokay, Vino Santo (Italian) and Rivesaltes, and very sweet rich wines such as Constancia and the Swiss Glacier, when they are used as "liqueurs" at the end of a dinner - but they are not properly in this class.

liqueurs should be served at, or a few degrees above, the temperature of the average dining room. With occasional exceptions, the small liqueur glasses should be used, as little more than a mouthful is required - the idea being, with most varieties, merely to obtain a "fillip" to digestion after a meal and to leave a pleasant flavor in the mouth.

Many liqueurs include a number of different spices, herbs, etc., in their formulas, but there is generally one principal item which supplies the distinctive character. The following supplementary list names these "character ingredients," or other special features, in lieu of more lengthy description. The full titles include in many cases one or other of the terms "Crème de," etc., previously referred to.

*See description in alphabetical position.

Arround Liqueurs in The Grocer's Encyclopedia

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Liquid Measure

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