Liquor vs. liqueur? – This is the question.
Many people usually use the word liquor and spirit interchangeably. Liquor is an essential alcoholic beverage. Others refer to it as distilled or – in other words – spirited beverage.
The word distilled refers to the distillation process used to produce mainly alcoholic drinks. In other countries, for instance, in India or North America, the locals use the term hard liquor to differentiate undistilled from the distilled alcoholic drinks. Some people also use the word spirit to refer to alcohol (distilled) and liquor is reserved for some of the drinkable hooch.
On the other hand, the term liqueur is used to refer to the sweetened distilled alcoholic drinks, for instance, Amari, Triple sec, Benedictine and Chartreuse among others. In the United States of America, the word liqueur is often used as a synonym of the word cordial.
However, the word cordial is commonly used to refer to sweet, dessert-like products, for example, cream, chocolate, liqueur flavored with a bit of coffee and many other delicacies.
What is the main difference between liquor and liqueur?
The main difference between liquor and liqueur is the amount of sugar in them. That means anything with higher concentration of sugar is liqueur, for example, Schnapps and Kahlua. Liquor shouldn’t have anything added.
Therefore, it is what you are more likely to see in the primary drink section. In short, liquor is any of your to-go alcoholic beverages. That is rum, vodka, gin and tequila among others.
Also, most liquors are usually 35% alcohol per volume whereas liqueur is less than 35%. Well, this idea makes perfect sense if you remember the sugar rule. Now, with that in mind, you now understand why Crown Russe tastes more or less like nail polish remover. Whereas when you sip a drink like a grasshopper, you are likely to feel more of the sweet flavor rather than the alcohol content.
Another significant difference between the two is how people drink them. Let’s say you walk into a bar and you want shots, you are likely to take shots of liquor. As much as they have a gross taste since they have no added sugar, they will get you drunk quickly. For instance, if you decide to take rum and Coke, the main ingredient in that is going to be rum with a bit of Coke. But if you feel fancy and would like to sip your alcohol slow, then you are likely to go for a triple sec based cocktails, which are traditionally Margaritas.
That means, as much as shots of Baileys might sound sweet, but it is super thick and soft. To top it all up, you won’t get drunk that fast. The best idea is you try them all for research and find what suits you the best.
Whats next? Read the article about the difference and similarities between Gin and Palinka.