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What is a liqueur?
- A sweetened, flavored spirit, usually brandy, rum, or whisky
- USA: min 2.5% sugar by weight (about 1/4 of EU)
- EU: min 100 g/l sugar and min 15% abv; "creme de" has min 250 g/l sugar; "creme de cassis" min 400 g/l
What is another name for liqueur?
Describe the history of liqueurs
- Origin: Medicinal
- 1575: Lucas Bols makes first commercial liqueur
- Mid 19C: sweet and flavored with peels and nuts
- Mid 1970s: cream liqueurs
Name 2 methods to add flavors to liqueurs
- Macerate: ingredients are steeped in water and highly rectified spirit in a pot still for several days before distillation; distillate comes off at 70-80% abv
- Percolate: ingredients put in a stainless steel filter in a percolation tank; heated (40-75°C) water and alcohol is pumped up and down through the filter for 2-7 days; the tincture takes on flavor and color from the ingredients. Cold (20°C) maceration can obtain the same product but up to 90 days is required.
- The liqueur: some only use the distillate while others also use a tincture.
What is a tincture?
- An alcoholic extract of plant or animal material.
- The final product of using percolation to add flavor to liqueurs.
- Steeping a material in liquid with or without a kneading action
- It is governed by temperature, contact, degree of agitation, time, and composition of the extracting liquid
When making a liqueur, why is sugar added *after* the spirit has been flavored and reduced in strength?
Sugars can be difficult to dissolve in high alcohol and can precipitate out
What sweetening agents are used to make liqueur?
- Sucrose (cane or beet)
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Concentrated, rectified grape must
What is an emulsion?
- Mixture of liquids that are normally not mixable.
- State where fats in cream do not form lumps but remain as tiny globules.
Describe homogenization of a cream liqueur
Heating mixture to 55°C at a pressure equivalent to 300 X atmospheric pressure.
Describe the process to make cream liqueurs
- Cream, sugar, and alcohol are added to a solution of sodium caseinate (an emulsifier).
- It is then homogenized twice, then cooled, colored, and flavored.
Are crème liquers the same as cream liquers?
- No: they contain no cream; it refers to its near-syrup consistency.
- Examples: crème de cacao (chocolate), menthe (mint), cassis (black currant), mûre (blackberry)
Name some examples of cream liqueur and its liquor
- Bailey's and Saint Brendan's: Irish whiskey
- Heather Cream: Scotch whisky
- Voodoo: Indian whisky
- Cruzan: Rum
- Dooley's: vodka and toffee
- Amarula: fermented marula fruit
- Voyant Chai: black tea and spices
What is the shelf life of Bailey's Irish Cream?
30 months; even if opened and not refrigerated!
How are liqueurs grouped?
- By similar predominant flavor or ingredient used to flavor them.
- Since any ingredients can be used, a product could fall into several groups.
Name 4 groups of liqueurs
- Herbal: anise, heather honey, many herbs and spices (e.g., mace, coriander, cloves, nuts, cinnamon, ginger, cubeb berries, saffron)
- Fruit: orange, lemon, peach, cherry
- Seed and Nut: caraway, bitter almond, hazelnut, walnut
- Cream: Bailey's Irish Cream was the first; Amarula uses fruit of marula tree as a spirit base.
Define "Vin de liqueur"
- EU term for wine and/or must with added alcohol to 15-22% abv; *it encompasses all fortified wines*.
- Mistelles: marc added to grape juice, e.g., Pineau des Charentes, Floc de Gascogne, Macvin du Jura
- Vin doux naturel: made by mutage to 15-18% abv, typically from Muscat (e.g., rontignan, Lunel, Meireval, St-Jean-de-Minervois, Rivesaltes, Beaumes-de-Venise) or Grenache (e.g., Banyuls, Maury, Rivesaltes, Rasteau)
Is Fruit Gin classified as a liqueur?
Yes, because it is sweetened
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