Liquor vs. liqueur? – This is the question
Although they sound the same and have a lot in common, these two types of alcoholic beverages are quite different. An easy mistake to make but worth knowing the difference so next time you are at the bar, in a store or discussing drinks with your friends, you can order your favourite drink or cocktail with confidence. And perhaps earn a free drink if one of your friends doesn’t want to believe in your drink expertise and is stubborn enough to bet against you.
What is Liqueur?
Liqueur (pronounced “Lick-kewr” or “Lick-Oor”) is not the same thing as a Liquor. While liquor has a strong flavour to it that is anything but sweet, liqueurs, by definition, are by nature sweet.
Liqueurs are used in some of the most amazing cocktails ever created due to their ability to provide complexity and extra-depth to the mix. They are the ingredients that usually elevate the drink to something exquisite in terms of flavour. Like liquor, most can also be enjoyed pure, chilled, or with ice.
What is Liquor?
A Liquor (pronounced like “Licker”), and sometimes referred to as “spirits” or “hard-alcohol” is a beverage containing a certain percentage of alcohol (obviously) that is made through a process of fermentation of grains or other plants.
The distillation that happens after fermenting divides the water from the alcohol, increasing the alcohol content. Liquors are relatively high proof; most are over 20% ABV at a minimum, and a maximum can reach up to 55% ABV.
Liquors are used in cocktails and other mixed drinks but can also be drunk pure or with ice. Think Gin and Tonic, Vodka Martini (shaken not stirred), Rum and Coke, as well as classic cocktails like the Manhattan, or an Old-Fashioned.
We can include in the liquor category brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and of- course whiskey.
Brandy – Its origins are in France, in the wine-growing regions, after all, it is produced by distilling wine. It is a perfect after-dinner drink just like our own fantastic Coole Swan. Many people tell us their favourite addition to Coole Swan is a neat shot of brandy.
Gin – Gin is one of the broadest categories of spirits, it gets origins and flavour profiles, typically but not exclusively with juniper as a common ingredient. Gin is a perfect compliment to Coole Swan – like Fred and Ginger, they are made to be together.
Tequila – Tequila made from the Blue Agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila in the central-western Mexican state of Jalisco. Its Mexican heat and fiery nature is the perfect partner to the smooth, clean, refreshing palate that is Coole Swan.
Vodka – It is composed of water and Ethanol. Originating in Poland and Russia traditionally it is made by distilling fermented cereal grains. In more recent times potatoes have been used instead of grains. You can see why Coole Swan and vodka pair so well together.
Rum – Rum is made through the process of fermentation and posterior distilling of sugarcane molasses or sugarcane juice. The resulting distillate is then aged in oak barrels. Thinking of rum is thinking of pirates and the Caribbeans. Check out a classic Coole Swan and Rum cocktail – www.cooleswan.com/the-black-pearl
Whiskey – Our beloved Whiskey is produced from fermented grain mash (that can typically include grains like barley, corn, rye and wheat). Grains vary depending on the variety of whiskey.
Aged in wooden casks generally made of charred white oak, whiskey is an art, and every Master Distiller brings his or her own unique touch. The liquor at the heart of Coole Swan is Single Malt Irish Whiskey.
Poitin – Poitín is a traditional Irish white spirit. An Irish “Moonshine”. It has been celebrated throughout Irish history in countless stories, songs, prose and poetry.
Associated with bootlegging and fantastic nights of song, music and craic. It will bring out the Irish in anyone – including Coole Swan.
And if by any chance you are still wondering where Coole Swan fits into these two types of alcohol, just remember, Coole Swan is a Premium Irish Cream LIQUEUR. Whereas the Single Malt Irish Whiskey that gives Coole Swan its distinct and unmistakable finish is a LIQUOR.