Liqueurs

These are produced by dissolving or blending several components. For the most part, they are 35-45% ABV, although some are less strong.

The definition of a liqueur (and indeed other alcoholic beverages) is through European Council regulation 1576/89 (Table 7.2).

The alcohol must not be synthetic (i.e. derived from petroleum), but rather must be from a fermentation process. The other key ingredients in these products are sugar (to deliver both sweetness and mouthfeel), flavours (that may be either the plant material per se or distilled essential oils or extracts from those botanics) and colour (which again may be of 'natural' origin or via an approved colourant).

Cream liqueurs incorporate milk fat, sodium caseinate and an emulsifier. Through homogenisation procedures, the size of the fat globules is reduced to one that allows a stable emulsion to be obtained.

A representative list of liqueurs is offered in Table 7.3.

Table 7.2 EU definitions of categories of alcoholic beverages - Council Regulation 1576/89; Article 1, Section 4.

(1) A spirit drink produced exclusively by alcoholic fermentation and distillation, either from molasses or syrup produced in the manufacture of cane sugar or from sugar cane juice itself, and distilled at less than 96% vol., so that the distillate has the discernible specific organoleptic characteristics of rum

(2) The spirit produced exclusively by alcoholic fermentation and distillation of sugar cane juice, which has the aromatic characteristics specific to rum, and a content of volatile substances equal to or exceeding 225 ghl-1 of alcohol of 100%

vol. (2250 ppm). This spirit may be marketed with the word 'agricultural' qualifying the designation 'rum' accompanied by any of the geographical designation of the French Overseas Departments as listed in Annex II

(3) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

B. Whisky or whiskey

(1) A spirit drink produced by the distillation of a mash of cereals

• saccarified by the diastase of the malt contained therein, with or without other natural enzymes

• fermented by the action of yeast

• distilled at less than 94.8% vol, so that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used

• and matured for at least 3 years in wooden casks not exceeding 700 L capacity

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 40% v/v

C. Grain spirit

(1) A spirit drink produced by the distillation of a fermented mash of cereals, and having organoleptic characteristics derived from the raw materials used 'Grain Spirit' may be replaced by 'Korn' or 'Kornbrand', for the drink produced in Germany and in regions of the Community where German is one of the official languages, provided that this drink is traditionally produced in these regions, and if the grain spirit is obtained there without any additive:

• either exclusively by the distillation of a fermented mash of whole grain of wheat, barley, oats, rye or buckwheat with all their component parts

• or by the redistillation of a distillate obtained in accordance with the first subparagraph

(2) For a grain spirit to be designated 'grain brandy', it must have been obtained by distillation at less than 95% vol. from a fermented mash of cereals, presenting organoleptic features deriving from the raw materials used

(3) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 35% v/v

D. Wine spirit

(1) A spirit drink

• produced exclusively by the distillation at less than 86% vol., of wine or wine fortified for distillation, or by the redistillation of a wine distillate at less than 86% vol.

• containing a quantity of volatile substances equal to or exceeding 125 ghl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (1250 ppm), and

• having a maximum methyl alcohol content of 200 g hl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (2000 ppm)

Where this drink has been matured, it may continue to be marketed as 'wine spirit' if it has matured for as long as, or longer than, the period stipulated for the product referred to in (E)

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

Table 7.2 Continued

E. Brandy or Weinbrand

(1) A spirit drink

• produced from wine spirit, whether or not blended with a wine distillate distilled at less than 94.8% vol., provided that the said distillate does not exceed a maximum of 50% by volume of the finished product

• matured for at least 1 year in oak receptables, or for at least 6 months in oak casks with a capacity of less than 1000 L

• containing a quantity of volatile substances equal to or exceeding 125 ghl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (1250 ppm), and derived exclusively from the distillation or redistillation of the raw materials used

• having a maximum methyl alcohol content of 200 ghl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (2000 ppm)

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 35% v/v

F. Grape marc spirit or grape marc

• produced from grape marc fermented and distilled either directly by water vapour, or after water has been added. A percentage of lees that is to be determined in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 15 may be added to the marc, the distillation being carried out in the presence of the marc itself at less than 86% vol. Redistillation at the same alcoholic strength is authorised

• containing a quantity of volatile substances equal to or exceeding 140 ghl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (1400 ppm), and having a maximum methyl alcohol content of 1000 ghl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (10 000 ppm)

(b) However, during the transitional period provided for Portugal in the 1985 Act of Accession, subparagraph (a) shall not preclude the marketing in Portugal of grape marc spirit produced in Portugal and having a maximum methyl alcohol content of 1500 ghl-1 of 100% vol. (15 000 ppm)

(2) The name 'grape marc' or 'grape marc spirit' may be replaced by the designation 'grappa' solely for the spirit drink produced in Italy

(3) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

G. Fruit marc spirit

(1) A spirit drink produced by the fermentation and distillation of fruit marc. The distillation conditions, product characteristics and other provisions shall be established in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 15

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

H. Raisin spirit or raisin brandy

(1) A spirit drink produced by the distillation of the product obtained by the alcoholic fermentation of extract of dried grapes of the 'Corinth Black' or 'Malaga Muscat' varieties, distilled at less than 94.5% vol., so that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

I. Fruit spirits

• produced exclusively by the alcoholic fermentation and distillation of fleshy fruit or must of such fruit, with or without stones

• distilled at less than 86% vol., so that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the fruits distilled

• having a quantity of volatile substances equal to or exceeding 200 g hl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (2000 ppm)

• having a maximum methyl alcohol content of 1000 g hl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (10 000 ppm), and

• in the case of stone-fruit spirits, having a hydrocyanic acid content not exceeding 10ghl-1 vol. alcohol (100ppm)

Table 7.2 Continued

(b) Drinks thus defined shall be called 'spirit' preceded by the name of the fruit, such as cherry spirit or kirsch, plum spirit or slivovitz, mirabelle, peach, apple, pear, apricot, fig, citrus or grape spirit or other fruit spirits. They may also be called 'wasser' with the name of the fruit

The name 'Williams' may be used only to describe pear spirit produced solely from pears of the 'Williams' variety

Whenever two or more fruits are distilled together, the product shall be called 'fruit spirit'. The name may be supplemented by that of each fruit, in decreasing order of quantity used

(c) The cases and conditions in which the name of the fruit may replace the name 'spirit' preceded by the name of the fruit in question shall be determined in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 15

(2) The name 'spirit' preceded by the name of the fruit may also be used for spirit drinks produced by macerating, within the minimum proportion of 100 kg of fruit per 20 L of 100% vol. alcohol, certain berries and other fruit such as raspberries, blackberries, bilberries and others, whether partially fermented or unfermented, in ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin or in spirit or distillate as defined in this Regulation, followed by distillation

The condition for using the name 'spirit' preceded by the name of the fruit with a view to avoiding confusion with the fruit spirits in point 1 and the fruit in question shall be determined by the procedure laid down in Article 15.

(3) The spirit drinks obtained by macerating unfermented whole fruit such as that referred to in point 2, in ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, followed by distillation, may be called 'geist', with the name of the fruit

(4) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

J. Cider spirit, cider brandy or perry spirit

(1) Spirit drinks

• produced exclusively by the distillation of cider or perry, and

• satisfying the requirements of the second, third and fourth indents of subparagraph (I) (1) (a) relating to fruit spirits

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v K. Gentian spirit

(1) A spirit drink produced from a distillate of gentian, itself obtained by the fermentation of gentian roots with or without the addition of ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

L. Fruit spirit drinks

(1) Spirit drinks obtained by macerating fruit in ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin and/or in distillate of agricultural origin and/or in spirits as defined in this Regulation and within a minimum proportion to be determined by means of the procedure laid down in Article 15

The flavouring of these spirit drinks may be supplemented by flavouring substances and/or flavouring preparations other than those which come from the fruit used. These flavouring substances and flavouring preparations are defined respectively in Article 1 (2) (b) (i) and (c) of Directive 88/388/EEC. However, the characteristic taste of the drink and its colour must come exclusively from the fruit used

(2) The drinks so defined shall be called 'spirit drinks' or 'spirit' preceded by the name of the fruit. The cases and conditions in which the name of the fruit may replace those names shall be determined by means of the procedure laid down in Article 15. However, the name 'Pacharan' may be used solely for the 'fruit spirit drink' manufactured in Spain, and obtained by macerating sloes (Prunus esponisa) within the minimum proportion of 250 g of fruit per L of pure alcohol

Table 7.2 Continued

(3) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

M. Juniper-flavoured spirit drinks

(1) (a) Spirit drinks produced by flavouring ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin and/or grain spirit and/or grain distillate with juniper (Junipers communis) berries Other natural and/or nature-identical flavouring substances as defined in Article 1 (2) (b) (i) and (ii) of Directive 88/388/EEC and/or flavouring preparations defined in Article 1 (2) (c) of that Directive, and/or aromatic plants or parts of aromatic plants may be used in addition, but the organoleptic characteristics of juniper must be discernible, even if they are sometimes attenuated

(b) The drinks may be called 'Wacholder', 'ginebra' or 'genebra'. Use of these names is to be determined in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 15

(c) The alcohols used for the spirit drinks called 'genievre', 'jenever', 'genever' and 'peket' must be organoleptically suitable for the manufacture of the aforementioned products, and have a maximum methyl content of 5 g hl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (50ppm), and a maximum aldehyde content expressed as acetaldehyde of 0.2ghl-1 of 100% vol. alcohol (2ppm). In the case of such products, the taste of juniper berries need not be discernible

(2) (a) The drink may be called 'gin' if it is produced by flavouring organoleptically suitable ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with natural and/or nature-identical flavouring substances as defined in Article 1 (2) (b) (i) and (ii) of Directive 88/388/EEC and/or flavouring preparations as defined in Article 1 (2) (c) of that Directive so that the taste is predominantly that of juniper (b) The drink may be called 'distilled gin', if it is produced solely by redistilling organoleptically suitable ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin of an appropriate quality, with an initial alcoholic strength of at least 96% vol., in stills traditionally used for gin, in the presence of juniper berries and of other natural botanicals, provided that the juniper taste is predominant. The term 'distilled gin' may also apply to a mixture of the product of such distillation and ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with the same composition, purity and alcoholic strength. Natural and/or nature-identical flavouring substances and/or flavouring preparations as specified at (a) may also be used to flavour distilled gin. 'London Gin' is a type of distilled gin

Gin obtained simply by adding essences or flavouring to ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin shall not qualify for the description 'distilled gin'

(3) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

N. Caraway-flavoured spirit drinks

(1) Spirit drinks produced by flavouring ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with caraway (Carum carvi L.)

Other natural and/or nature-identical flavouring preparations as defined in Article 1 (2) (b) (i) and (ii) of Directive 88/388/EEC, and/or flavouring substances as defined in Article 1 (2) (c) of that Directive, may additionally be used but there must be a predominant taste of caraway

(2) (a) The spirit drinks defined in point 1 may also be called 'akvavit' or 'aquavit', if they are flavoured with a distillate of plants or spices

Other flavouring substances specified in the second subparagraph of point 1 may be used in addition, but the flavour of these drinks is largely attributable to distillates of caraway and/or dill (Anethum graveolens L.) seeds, the use of essential oils being prohibited (b) The bitter substances must not obviously dominate the taste; the dry extract content may not exceed 1.5 g per 100 ml

(3) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 30% v/v, except akvavit which is bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

Table 7.2 Continued

O. Aniseed-flavoured .spirit drinks

(1) Spirit drinks produced by flavouring ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with natural extracts of star anise (Illicium verum), anise (Pimpinella anisum), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), or any other plant, which contains the same principal aromatic constituent, using one of the following processes:

• maceration and/or distillation;

• redistillation of the alcohol in the presence of the seeds or other parts of the plants specified above

• addition of natural distilled extracts of aniseed-flavoured plants

• a combination of these three methods

Other natural plant extracts or aromatic seeds may also be used, but the aniseed taste must remain predominant

(2) For an aniseed-flavoured spirit drink to be called 'pastis', it must also contain natural extracts of liquorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which implies the presence of the colourants known as 'chalcones' as well as glycyrrhizic acid, the minimum and maximum levels of which must be 0.05 and 0.5 gL-1 grams per litre respectively

Pastis contains less than 100 g of sugar per L and has a minimum and maximum anethole level of 1.5 and 2 g L-1 respectively

(3) For an aniseed-flavoured spirit drink to be called 'ouzo', it must:

• have been produced exclusively in Greece

• have been produced by blending alcohols flavoured by means of distillation or maceration, using aniseed and possibly fennel seed, mastic from a lentiseus indigenous to the island of Chios (Pistacia lentiscus Chia or latifolia) and other aromatic seeds, plants and fruits. The alcohol flavoured by distillation must represent at least 20% of the alcoholic strength of the ouzo

That distillate must:

• have been produced by distillation in traditional discontinuous copper stills with a capacity of 1000 L or less

• have an alcoholic strength of not less than 55% vol. and not more than 80% vol. Ouzo must be colourless and have a sugar content of 50 g or less per litre

(4) For an aniseed-flavoured spirit drink to be called 'anis', its characteristic flavour must be derived exclusively from anise (Pimpinella anisum) and/or star anise (Illicium verum) and/or fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). The name 'distilled anis' may be used if the drink contains alcohol distilled in the presence of such seeds, provided such alcohol constitutes at least 20% of the drink's alcoholic strength

(5) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 15% v/v, except pastis (40% v/v), ouzo (37.5% v/v) and anis (35% v/v)

P. Bitter-tasting spirit drinks or bitter

(1) Spirit drinks with a predominantly bitter taste produced by flavouring ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin with natural and/or nature-identical flavouring substances, is defined in Article 1 (2) (b) (i) and (ii) of Directive 88/388/EEC and/or flavouring preparations as defined in Article 1 (2) (c) of that Directive The drink may also be marketed as 'amer' or 'bitter' with or without another term. This provision shall not affect the possible use of the terms 'amer' or 'bitter' for products not covered by this Article

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 15% v/v

Q. Vodka

(1) A spirit drink produced by either rectifying ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, or filtering it through activated charcoal, possibly followed by straightforward distillation or an equivalent treatment, so that the organoleptic characteristics of the raw materials used are selectively reduced. The product may be given special organoleptic characteristics, such as a mellow taste, by the addition of flavouring

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 37.5% v/v

Table 7.2 Continued

R. Liqueur

• having a minimum sugar content of 100 g L-1 expressed as invert sugar, without the prejudice to a different decision taken in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 15

• produced by flavouring ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, or a distillate of agricultural origin, or one or more spirit drinks as defined in this Regulation, or a mixture of the above, sweetened and possibly with the addition of products of agricultural origin such as cream, milk or other milk products, fruit, wine, or flavoured wine

(2) The name 'crème de' followed by the name of a fruit or the raw material used, excluding milk products, shall be reserved for liqueurs with a minimum sugar content of 250 g L-1 expressed as invert sugar

The name 'crème de cassis' shall, however, be reserved for blackcurrant liqueurs containing at least 400 g of sugar, expressed as invert sugar, per L

(3) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 15% v/v

S. Egg liqueur/advocaat/avocat/advokat

(1) A spirit drink whether or not flavoured, obtained from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, the ingredients of which are quality egg yolk, egg white and sugar or honey. The minimum sugar or honey content must be 150 g L-1. The minimum egg yolk content must be 140 g L-1 of the final product

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 15% v/v

T. Liqueur with egg

(1) A spirit drink whether or not flavoured, obtained from ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin, the ingredients of which are quality egg yolk, egg white and sugar or honey. The minimum sugar or honey content must be 150 g L-1. The minimum egg yolk content must be 70 g L-1 of the final product

(2) Bottled at a minimum alcoholic strength of 15% v/v

National provisions may set a minimum alcoholic strength by volume which is higher than the values indicated above. The minimum bottling strengths are taken from Article 3 of this Regulation. Date from http://www.distill.com/specs/EU3.html

Table 7.3 Some liqueurs and speciality alcoholic products.

Product

Notes

Country of origin

Absinthe

Brandy flavoured with sweet almonds and apricots

France

Advocaat

Brandy-base. Egg yolks, sugar and vanilla

Holland

Amaretto

Apricot kernel and bitter almond flavour

Italy

Anis

Anise/star anise/fennel flavour

Diverse

Arrack

Distillation of alcohol from grapes, sugar cane, rice or dates. Word means 'sweat'

Arabic

Bailey's

Irish Whiskey and chocolate

Ireland

Benedictine

Brandy flavoured with 27 plants (including cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, juniper, nutmeg, tea, myrrh) and sugar. Coloured using saffron and caramel

France

Campari

Red product made by blending 68 herbs with quinine, Chinese rhubarb, cinchona bark and orange peels

Italy

Table 7.3 Continued

Cassis Macerated blackcurrants in neutral spirits France and brandy

Chartreuse Blend of 130 herbs and honey in brandy

Cherry Brandy Distilled juice of cherries, fermented in Mainland Europe presence of crushed cherry stones, perhaps blended with Armagnac

Cointreau Blend of distillates from bitter and sweet France orange peel, plus sugar

Drambuie Scotch whisky suffused with herbs, spices Scotland and heather honey

Grande Marnier Cognac blended with distillates of bitter France orange and sugar

Malibu Light rum/coconut Barbados

Ouzo Aniseed and fennel and mastic distilled in Greece copper stills < 1000 L

Pernod Spirit base suffused with star anise, fennel, France camomile, coriander, veronica and other herbs

Sambuca Anis, star anise, elderflower, invert sugar Italy

Southern Comfort Grain-based spirit containing peach and United States orange and sugar

Tia Maria Cane spirit/rum base with coffee and Jamaica spices and sugar

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