In the ‘90s, neon colored, sticky-sweet cocktails served in V-shaped glasses like the Appletini came into power. While this helped boost liqueur sales, it also inspired some producers to pump out cheap, sugary, artificial products. These, in turn, gave liqueurs an unfavorable reputation in the craft bartending community, and for a while, liqueurs were rarely seen behind any respectable bar.
Today, though, there is a glimmer of hope, and liqueurs are making a comeback. Brands are turning out high-end products made with fresh, natural ingredients, which mixologists are proud to keep behind, rather than under, the bar. New, quality liqueurs—produced by brands like Combier, Rothman & Winter, Giffard and Leopold Bros.—have provided bartenders a world of flavors to experiment with. Historically, liqueurs were thought of as after-dinner drinks and nightcaps, but as cocktail culture shifts and grows, they’re showing up more and more in mixed drinks.
How Are Liqueurs Made
Although there are thousands of different recipes, all liqueurs have a similar formula. They are defined by the United States Tax and Trade Bureau as flavored spirits containing at least 1.5 percent by weight sugar or dextrose, made by redistilling a spirit with fruits, plants, flowers or pure juices or extracts from those ingredients.