We owe the invention of liqueurs to Medieval Monks, who were the best educated of all and the fact that they had the time and facilities to experiment. At first liqueurs were concoctions to cure indigestions and other ailments.
Alcohol’s medicinal properties were well known by monks. To that knowledge, pharmacological information available was added to create elixirs that could cure illnesses.
They grew herbs in monastery gardens and were familiar with their medicinal properties.
In the 13th century, Arnaude de Vilanova in Catalonia and his student Raimondo Lulio were the first to write about the combination of alcohol and herbs to create healing beverages.
Then Catherine de Medici brought a few liqueur recipes to France when she married Louis XIV. France, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are well known for their varietal and unique liqueurs.
Varietal liqueurs are based on one main flavouring ingredient i.e fruits, herbs, nuts, flowers, while unique recipes remain secret, even within the producing company. Only a few trusted people or family members know all the ingredients and the members of such families never travel together.
Liqueur production is based on following techniques:
sport the brightest colours and most imaginative bottle shapes, and their imaginative use can play a key role in stylish cocktails and even in the kitchen.
You can use liqueurs for flaming, baking, desserts of all sorts including fruit salads.
are available in a staggering variety – Grand Marnier, Drambuie, Frangelico, Chambord, Galliano, Tia Maria, Rumona, Kahlua, Lochan Ora, Benedictine, Chartreuse, Escorial, Sabra, Midori and many more.
In addition to those, there are literally hundreds of varietal from Crème de Menthe, to chocolate, to rose petals, to tea, to vanilla, and many more.
Irish Cream was invented out of necessity some 40 years ago. Ireland had a surplus of cream and whiskey, and distillery managers had to cerate a product to reduce both.
Versatile liqueurs can also move comfortably from bar to kitchen and beyond. Simmered down to sticky sweetness, they are a natural for glazing all kinds of meat, poultry and fish. Drizzled over a roast, a liqueur can turn gravy into a sublime flavouring liquid.
Of course liqueurs will shine in their traditional role as after dinner treats.
Next time you make a fruit salad, add a few tablespoons of Grand Marnier, or Cointreau or triple sec, and taste the difference.
If you want to enhance your after dinner coffee, add tow tablespoons of Tia Maria or Kahlua.
Drambuie, a blend of Scotch whisky and herbs, Frangelico bursting with hazelnuts, and Rumona rum and tropical fruits and herbs can be enjoyed on their own after an extended meal or in cocktails.
The versatility of liqueurs cannot be stressed enough. Unique liqueurs tend to be expensive, but last a long time sine you need very small quantities to change dish to an epicurean fest.
When buying varietal liqueurs, choose producers of integrity and fame for quality, and consistency like Marie Brizard (France), Bols and De Kuypers (The Netherlands).
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.