Advertisement

These sweet spirits know it's always best to be cordial.

Irish Cream and coffee
Photo by Deb C

Lower in alcohol than straight spirits, these tasty tipples are sweetened spirits infused with fruits, flowers, herbs, nuts, and/or spices--sometimes even bark, roots, and leaves.

The word "liqueur" comes from the Latin Liquefacere, which means the process of dissolving something in liquid. Cordial, on the other hand, comes from the Latin word for heart, cor. Whether you call it cordial or liqueur, both words describe the same thing: an alcoholic beverage in which spirits have been steeped, percolated, brewed, or macerated with some kind of flavor-giving substance like fruits, herbs, and flowers, and then sweetened. Some people more narrowly define a cordial as a liqueur made specifically from fruit or fruit juice.

What's the Main Ingredient?

Here are some classic liqueurs and their main flavor-infusing ingredients. Some are centuries old and made from top-secret formulas.

Amaretto: Almond

Bailey's Irish Cream: Whiskey/cream

Benedictine: Honey/citrus/herbs

Chambord: Black raspberry

Crème de Cacao: Chocolate

Crème de Cassis: Currant

Crème de Menthe: Mint

Curacao: Bitter orange

Cointreau: Sour and sweet oranges

Frangelico: Hazelnut

Jagermeister: Herbs/spices

Limoncello: Lemon

Maraschino: Cherry

Midori: Melon

Kahlua: Coffee

Ouzo: Anise

Pastis: Anise

SambuccaRomano: Elder bush

Schnapps: Peach

SouthernComfort: Peach/bourbon

Triple Sec: Bitter and sweet oranges

Cordial Cocktails

Liqueurs make delicious and beautiful cocktails. Here are some of our favorites.

Amaretto

Bailey's Irish Cream

Blue Curacao

Cointreau

Crème de Cacao

Crème de Cassis

Crème de Menthe

Chambord

Frangelico

Grand Marnier

Jagermeister

Kahlua

Midori

Peach Schnapps

Southern Comfort

Triple Sec