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Learn Your Liqueurs - O-Z Liqueurs


Bottles of Liquor

Bottles of liquor

mattjeacock / E+ / Getty Images
Tuaca Vanilla Citrus Liqueur

Tuaca Vanilla Citrus Liqueur

Photo Courtesy: © Tuaca Liqueur Co
Zwack Herbal Liqueur
Photo Courtesy: © House of Zwack

As you explore the index of cocktail recipes you will find many of them use liqueurs, or cordials, that you are probably not familiar with. Names like Drambuie, Cointreau and Benedictine appear often and then the there is the crème liqueurs. What are all of these, what flavors do they add to cocktails and can one be substituted for another? These are all questions that are answered in the descriptions of the many of the common liqueurs below.

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  • Ouzo- A popular Greek apéritif liqueur flavored with anise that is usually over 90 proof. Normally mixed four parts water to one part ouzo. Used in cocktails such as the Mussaka and Zorbatini.
  • PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur- A super-sweet, red liqueur infused with pomegranates. This premium spirit makes a great POM Martini and is a nice accent for a variety of food dishes.
    Read more and find cocktails...
  • Patron Citronge- An orange liqueur produced by Patron Spirits, making it ideal for tequila cocktails. Use it as a substitute for other orange liqueurs as well.
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  • Patron XO Cafe- A tequila-based liqueur with the flavor of coffee essence. The liqueur is drier and not as sweet as other coffee liqueurs but is stronger at a much higher 70 proof.
    Find coffee cocktails...
  • Peach Liqueur- Made from an infusion of whole, fresh and/or dried peaches in brandy or a neutral spirit base.
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  • Peppermint Schnapps- Similar to crème de menthe, but uses less sugar and more alcohol. This mint-flavored liqueur has a strong, snappy mint and is often used in winter cocktails.
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  • Pimento Dram- A peppery Jamaican rum liqueur with an allspice flavor that is found in tiki and classic cocktails. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram is one modern brand.
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  • Pimm's Cup- A brand of liqueurs that combines a secret recipe of fruit and spices and adds it to a variety of base liqueurs. The most common is the gin-based, Pimm's No. 1 Cup, which is featured in a favorite mixed drink of Southern England, the Pimm's Cup.
  • Pineapple liqueur, Licor de Piña- A pleasant tart fruit liqueur from the Caribbean or Hawaii.
    Find pineapple cocktails...
  • Pumpkin Liqueur- A pumpkin-flavored liqueur that is usually produced during the autumn and winter months only. Brands available include Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice and Bols Pumpkin Smash.
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  • Raki- A high-proof liqueur with an anise flavor from Turkey.
  • RumChata- A cream liqueur made with Caribbean rum and Wisconsin dairy cream with cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, and other ingredients.
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  • St. Germain- A French elderflower liqueur with an eau-de-vie base.
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  • Sambuca- An Italian liqueur made from the sambuca plant. The flavor is similar to a subtle anise (black licorice) and is showcased in cocktails like the Licorice Stick and the Sammy Jager shooter.
  • Schnapps- Not typically a liqueur by strict definition, but a distilled spirit that is produced usually with fruits in the fermentation. Schnapps come in many flavors, with apple, cinnamon, and peppermint being favorites.

    Read more about schnapps...
  • Sloe gin- A red liqueur, which is not a gin at all, made from the sloe plums of the blackthorn bush. Some types will produce a creamy head when shaken with ice, this is indicated on the bottle label. Used in cocktails such as the Sloe Gin Fizz and Sloe Screw.
  • Southern Comfort- An American liqueur made from a whiskey base flavored with peaches. It is an excellent mixer and is 100 proof, adding to its comforting qualities. Two popular cocktails are the Scarlet O'Hara and Rhett Butler.
    Southern Comfort website...
  • Strega- An Italian liqueur made of 70 herbs and spices including mint, cinnamon, juniper, saffron, fennel, and iris. It has a distinct yellow color and is the Italian name for 'witch.'
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  • Tangerine- A liqueur made of tangerine with mild spice flavors. It is not a widely used liqueur and few brands are available, though some include Lluvia de Estrellas and Russo Mandarino.
  • Tequila Rose- A strawberry-flavored liqueur made in Mexico. It is a mix of strawberry liqueur and tequila and is used in many cocktails like the Strawberry Kiss and Black Rose shooter.
    Tequila Rose website...
  • Triple Sec- An often colorless orange-flavored liqueur that is often used as a generic name for orange liqueurs and called for in many cocktail recipes. Cointreau and Combier are premium brands of triple sec.
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  • Tuaca- An Italian liqueur supposedly created for the Renaissance era ruler, Lorenzo the Magnificent. The flavors are a subtle blend of vanilla and citrus.
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  • Tuaca Cinnaster- A cinnamon-flavored liqueur produced by Tuaca.
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  • TY KU- A pale green liqueur with sake and Asian vodka base. The flavor is a mix of over 20 all natural fruits and botanicals including pomegranate, ginseng and damiana.
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  • Unicum- A herbal digestif produced in Hungary using a secret recipe of 40 herbs and spices dating that was originally created in 1790. It is a bitter liqueur and the base formula for Unicum Plum and Zwack (see below).
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  • VeeV Açai Spirit- A unique distilled spirit (technically a liquor rather than a liqueur) made from the açai fruit, which has been a popular "superfruit" as of late.
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  • X-Rated Fusion- A pink liqueur from France that infuses mango, Provence blood oranges and passion fruit in premium vodka.
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  • Yukon Jack- A popular Canadian whisky based honey liqueur that is commonly mistaken as a straight Canadian whisky, though it has a distinct sweetened taste. It is used in drinks like Northern Lights and the Snake Bite shooter. The brand also produces a peppermint schnapps called Permafrost.
  • Zen- A green-colored, green tea-flavored liqueur produced by the Japanese company, Suntory. It is made with Kyoto green tea, lemongrass, and a variety of herbs with a neutral grain spirit base. Used in a variety of cocktails including Dreaming of Zen, Zen Latte, and Zen Milk Bath.
    Zen website...
  • Zwack- A herbal digestif liqueur that is less bitter and has more citrus notes than Unicum (see above), on which it is based. This liqueur is popular in the United States as an alternative to Jagermeister.
    Read more and find cocktails...

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