Trying to recreate your favorite cocktail from your local bar with no success can be pretty disappointing. The failure is probably due to a missing ingredient: liqueur.

“It is usually made from a distilled spirit as the base which is infused with fruits, herbs, spices, flowers, nuts or [other ingredients],” mixologist, Nelson Lemus, told 21Ninety.

The mixologist mentioned that liqueurs are used to elevate the flavor in your drink.

“From complicated recipes, to the most simple ones, like a Chismosa that’s made with Chinola Passion Fruit Liqueur and sparkling wine, adding just a little bit of liqueur to your drink is a game changer,” Lemus explained.

Since each liqueur usually has its own unique flavor, you can also enjoy some liqueurs by themselves over ice or chilled. 

What’s the Difference Between Liqueur and Liquor?

Technically, liquors and liqueurs both go through a distilling process. So, they are both alcoholic liquids made from a complex heating and cooling process.

“Liqueurs are a type of liquor, usually fermented with sugar, and flavored with fruits, herbs, spices, nuts, or other botanicals,” Lemus explained.

On the flip side, straight liquor is made of fermented grains, or other plants. And, liquor tends to have a much higher alcohol content than liqueur. 

Best Bitter Liqueur

Campari Aperitivo Liqueur

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Campari’s Aperitivo Liqueur is a classic liqueur that’s most famous for being a key ingredient in a Negroni cocktail. While its exact recipe is a family secret, this 24 percent ABV liqueur is bitter with a hint of citrus flavor. 

Best Citrus Liqueur

Cointreau Orange Liqueur Triple Sec

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Cointreau’s Orange Liqueur Triple Sec is a refreshing citrus liqueur with a touch of sweetness. Its unique blend of aromas make it a liqueur that you can enjoy by itself over ice or in a cocktail. The ABV content of this one is 40 percent. 

Best Coffee Liqueur

Mr. Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur

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If you love to order an espresso martini, then you need a coffee liqueur. Mr. Black’s Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur is a vodka-infused product that’s basically an espresso martini in a bottle. So, feel free to enjoy this 23 percent ABV liqueur alone or in your own homemade cocktail. 

Best Floral Liqueur

St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur

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St-Germain’s Elderflower Liqueur combines floral and fruit flavors. While elderflower is the star of the show, there are also hints of peach, pear, and grapefruit in the liqueur. Enjoy this one over ice or in a DIY martini. It has 20 percent ABV.

Best Fruity Liqueur

Juliette Peach Liqueur

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Juliette’s Peach Liqueur adds a hint of fruity sweetness to any cocktail. Especially a margarita. And, you can also enjoy this 18 percent ABV liqueur alone.   

Best Herbal Liqueur

Chartreuse Liqueur

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Chartreuse Liqueur is an herbal beverage that brings a little heat to your cocktail. It’s made of 130 different plants, bark, roots, spices, and flowers. And, it has a potent 55 percent ABV. 

Best Low ABV Liqueur

Aperol Aperitivo Liqueur

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This Aperol Aperitivo Liqueur has an ABV of 11 percent. It’s a bitter citrus liqueur with a secret recipe. However, this liqueur is most known for being a key ingredient in an Aperol Spritz. The famous cocktail combines Aperol Aperitivo Liqueur with prosecco and a splash of club soda.

Best Sweet Liqueur

Mozart Chocolate Dark Chocolate Liqueur

Mozart’s Chocolate Dark Chocolate Liqueur is a sweet drink with a little bitterness from the dark chocolate. A great way to enjoy this liqueur – that has an ABV of 17 percent – is in an adult-version of an Italian dessert called affogato. Just add vanilla ice cream to a glass, then pour in an espresso shot, and top it off the chocolate liqueur.

Best Tart Liqueur

Chambord Raspberry Liqueur

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Chambord’s Raspberry Liqueur is a tart liqueur with a bit of sweetness. This black raspberry liqueur can be enjoyed alone or in a spritz. To make a spritz with the 16.2 percent ABV liqueur, just add ice, the Chambord, white wine and a splash of club soda to a glass. 

Best Tropical Liqueur

Chinola Liqueur

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Chinola Liqueur adds a tropical touch to any cocktail. And, you can enjoy this refreshing liqueur alone. It’s a passionfruit liqueur with an ABV of 21 percent.

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