By Audrey Coleman :: Photography by Jamison Mosley
iqueur. It sounds sophisticated—even mysterious.
Although its list of flavors is as wide-ranging as its brands, each liqueur does share one commonality with all the others-sweetness.
“Liqueurs usually start out with base spirits such as vodka,” said Veo Tyson, bartender at So Restaurant in Little Rock. Flavors and sweeteners are then added to the base spirit through one of four methods: infusion; distillation; smoking or extraction. The flavors range from the expected, such as fruit, berries and chocolate, to the unexpected, like artichoke hearts.
You likely have a bottle of at least one liqueur in your cabinet or bar. Keep looking. It’s probably way in the back. Look for that enrobed monk-shaped bottle of Frangelico with its screw-top head shielding that sweet, hazelnut-infused liquid. Or what about that royal purple globe mimicking a crown—that distilled raspberry nectar labeled “Chambord?” And remember last summer when you wowed your guests with those refreshing, melon cocktails you made with Midori at the cookout? Yep—that’s also a liqueur.
There’s a handy versatility associated with liqueurs. Tyson said liqueurs can be served in cocktails. They’re great in coffee. They make a great after-dinner drink when served neat. And bonus: Tyson said that they can even settle your stomach!
Liqueurs also make the perfect Valentine’s Day aperitif to begin your evening, or after-dinner cocktail to wind down the night. Tyson recommends a chocolate martini. His recipe is simple, and if you follow his instructions, the taster will be quite impressed.
Veo Tyson’s Chocolate Martini
2 oz. vanilla vodka
1 oz. Godiva Chocolate liqueur
1 oz. Milk Chocolate Godiva liqueur
Shake and serve chilled in a chocolate drizzled martini glass
Or, try one of these chocolaty liqueur cocktails for the perfect ending to your Valentine’s Day. There’s even a hot one even if it’s chilly outside.
1 oz. coffee-flavored liqueur
1 oz. crème de cacao
1 oz. Irish cream liqueur
Vodka-just a splash
This recipe has eye appeal. Layer the coffee liqueur, followed by the crème de cacao and then the Irish cream in a chilled shooter glass. Top with just a splash of vodka.
Spiked Mexican Mocha
½ oz. crème de cacao
½ oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. espresso
2 T cocoa powder
2 t chili pepper (ancho or chipotle if you like a smoky flavor)
2 t cayenne pepper (or less depending on heat preference)
Dash of black pepper
Combine the espresso and peppers in a mug. Top with the liqueurs and the cocoa powder. Add hot milk or cream to taste. Stir with the cinnamon stick.
White Chocolate Heart
1 oz. hazelnut liqueur
1 oz. white crème de cacao
½ oz. coffee liqueur
3 oz. cream (or half and half if you prefer)
Maraschino cherry for garnish
In a tall glass, pour the hazelnut and coffee liqueurs over ice and add the cherry. Gently pour the cream into the mixture down one side of the glass. Stir very lightly and serve.