As the home cocktailing movement has taken a sophisticated turn, there has been a spike in the demand for original ingredients. It turns out, liqueurs are seeing new life in the cocktail category, as new flavors and brands have shifted the perception of the sweet spirit to something that is more full-bodied and flavorful.
“Liqueurs are the most underestimated and underrated spirits out there, especially right now. They have so much to offer and you can make beautiful cocktails with just one type of liqueur,” said Ute Londrigan, founder of traditional-style liqueur producer Heimat New York, based in Mamaroneck, NY.
One of the reasons that liqueurs are back in vogue, explained Londrigan, is because of their versatility. She said that consumers can purchase one type of liqueur and use it with a variety of spirit bases, from vodka and tequila to heavier brown liquors like bourbon.
But, said Londrigan, liqueurs can be intimidating for someone who hasn’t dabbled in them before. Many come with a preconceived notion of what a liqueur is, so she recommends those that stock the goods taste-test the product, sample them for customers and take steps to properly educate themselves on how to create an elegant cocktail from the ground up.
“Start with it neat or on the rocks, just to get the flavor,” she advised, and then move into mixing the flavor-enhanced spirit with sparkling wine and Champagne. Once the preferred flavoring is nailed down, then the home bartender can try their hand at more complex cocktails like a bramble or a specialty margarita.
“There are so many possibilities, especially for someone who loves to make cocktails at home,” Londrigan said.
Another reason for the continued growth of liqueurs? The ongoing hard seltzer boom that has hit imbibers hard during the last two years.
“Everyone is drinking hard seltzer these days, but why have something artificial when you can make it yourself,” she said. “Just a bit of sparkling water and your choice of liqueur and you have an even more delicious hard seltzer than something out of a can. Use one or two ounces, depending on how sweet you want it and then top it with the sparkling water. It’s easy, delicious and simple.”
And if all else fails, Londrigan said that pouring a touch of your favorite liqueur over the ice cream of your choice is the perfect way to end the day. “Take some vanilla ice cream, put it in a bowl and just pour a little of the liqueur on top for a great dessert,” she said.