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From healing qualities to luxury beverages: Liqueur looks back on a long history

Liqueur was presumably originally created for medicinal purposes. Back in the 13th century, monasteries began distilling healing herbal and plant-based remedies with alcohol in order to concentrate their active ingredients. To make the strong and extremely bitter distillates more palatable, they were sweetened with honey. It was not until many years later that "herbal bitters" became a luxury beverage - and not until sugar transitioned from its luxury product status to a mass product did distilleries began producing liqueurs in the variety of flavours available today.

The demand for high quality and innovation in the production of liqueurs has long been just as high as for any other classic spirit. Distilleries such as Jack Daniel's or Wild Turkey have also long been making spirits sweetened and aromatic just like liqueur products. You will find many of these high quality spirits at Heinemann; be inspired by the select range of products!


Fruit, herbs and spices - a variety of liqueur flavours 

The classic liqueur production process is based on what is referred to as maceration, during which herbs, fruits or spices are steeped in an alcohol-water mix for some time, allowing the natural aromas to be transferred to the mash. The subsequent distillation concentrates the aromas, and adding sugar provides for a round, aromatic flavour. Today, we enjoy a wide assortment of liqueurs which are not all produced in the traditional manner: 

  • Cream liqueurs such as Dooleys or Verpoorten Eierlikör (Egg Liqueur) are sweet and creamy, making them perfect for desserts or decadent cocktails.
  • Fruit liqueurs such as Cointreau or limoncello are served as a light digestif, but are also used for cooking or as a cocktail ingredient.
  • Liqueurs as an aperitif are often a combination of fruit and herbal notes such as Aperol, Campari or Ramazotti.
  • Herbal liqueurs like Jägermeister are the classic liqueurs and are usually produced in the traditional manner - they are a popular digestif.

Decisive for categorising a spirit as a liqueur are its alcohol volume and sugar content. Both values vary depending on the product and the manufacturer, but generally liqueur has a volume of between 11% and 40% alcohol and a sugar content of at least 100g per litre.


Enjoying classic and modern liqueurs from the Heinemann shop

Just as varied as the liqueurs that are available in the Heinemann shop are the many options you have to enjoy them: A shot of Bols Advocaat on your dessert, an ice-cold sip of Berliner Luft to set the tone for a fun evening or a Spanish Licor 43 to round off a good meal. You can order the fine liqueurs and other high quality spirits online at Heinemann and benefit from our Home Delivery Service.