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Liquor produced by combining a base spirit, usually brandy, with flavourings and sugar syrup. Alcohol content ranges from 24% to 60% by volume, and flavourings include fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, and such ingredients as coffee and chocolate. Liqueurs were probably first produced commercially by medieval monks and alchemists. Sweet and containing ingredients that promote digestion, they are popular as after-dinner drinks and are also used in mixed drinks and dessert dishes. Varieties include apricot liqueur, crème de menthe (mint-flavoured), curaçao (with green orange peel, from Curaçao), and proprietary brands such as Bénédictine (an herb liqueur), Grand Marnier (an orange liqueur from France's Cognac region), Irish Mist (flavoured with Irish whiskey and honey), and Kahlúa (coffee-flavoured).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on liqueur, visit Britannica.com.