Arguably, liqueurs are the most diverse spirits category, since it includes everything from ouzo and amaretto to sloe gin and rock and rye. The commonality between all of these historic and seemingly disparate products is that they’re sweetened and flavored. Thanks to the category’s few rules, distillers have a lot of freedom to come up with a range of creative liqueurs that incorporate all kinds of fruit and spices.
While some liqueurs are sipped neat, many are beloved by bartenders, since they add both a touch of sweetness as well as complex flavor to a cocktail. Liqueurs are used in mixed drinks like the Cadillac Margarita, the Grasshopper and the Kir Royale.
While liqueurs doesn’t get the press of say Irish whiskey, it’s a huge category. In 2021, Americans bought more than 260 million bottles of liqueur.