Liqueurs of the World
In this section I am going to provide short descriptions of some of the world's best known liqueur styles. Predominantly they will be descriptions of Baitz liqueurs as these are the ones I obviously know best but they will apply generally to the particular liqueurs wherever they are made. I have not been able to include all of the wonderful contributions made by the hundreds of Liqueurists spread over many centuries. I trust that any omissions will be forgiven.
Advokaat (or Advocaat) is traditionally from Holland where it stemmed from the word "Advocatenborrel" - the drink of Advocates or lawyers. Presumably it evolved as a highly pleasurable way of consuming the plentiful supply of eggs from the low-country farms and was mixed with the native spirits of the area. There has been little change to the homespun kitchen recipe over the centuries, merely refinements in the method of production and the use of high quality Brandies. Advokaat should possess a rich warm colour and a uniformly creamy texture which should extend right throughout the liqueur to the last drop. Despite the fact that raw egg yolks are used, with little, if any, cooking processes involved, the liqueur will remain stable and palatable at room temperature throughout its life in the bottle.
Bouquet: is that of a mild and balanced blend of egg yolks and good Brandy Spirit. There will frequently be a hint of vanilla or other gentle aromatic additive which will be detected on the nose. Flavour: The processes involved in bringing together all of the various components will ensure the texture will be smooth, soft and creamy and the flavour itself will be uncomplicated with a smooth finish and a lingering but pleasant after-taste.
The popularity of this liquour is long established in many parts of the world. It is drunk as an aperitif; as a refreshing long drink diluted with water, when it turns cloudy; and in coffee. Derived from great aniseeds, including the refined Star Anise originating in China, there is also a note of liquorice in the background.
Colour: It is clear and colourless. Bouquet: Aniseed of course, and lively. Flavour: Exciting to the taste buds, refreshing, with a strong, clean, finely constructed aniseed flavour with that hint of liquorice. Long-lasting sensation on the after-taste.
A difficult liqueur in which to achieve a finely balanced, soft and elegant style. Annisette has been popular in Europe for a century or more; there the formulae are many and varied.. The most famous are those mild in alcoholic strength, and soft in their style. To obtain the fine, soft style, the flavour of several high quality, costly aniseeds are used. One, originating in China, has a particular role in our liqueur. There are a number of other ingredients which add depth to the flavour. There is a potential harshness to aniseed which needs to be softened. It is a liqueur which involves a lot of blending skill and a long time in the cask.
Colour: Clear, but may develop a -golden tinge with age. Bouquet: Of aniseed, but delicate. The various aniseeds are so blended to provide both subtlety and complexity. Frequently a slight trace of cinnamon. Flavour: Soft and mildly sweet. The aniseeds extend lightly across the whole palate, and on being warmed on the palate there are a variety of flavour sensations to be enjoyed. The after-taste is slightly dry, and the quality ensures the flavour is long-lasting.
In making this liqueur, one tries to achieve the flavour of ripe apricots, but richer in taste-experience. Aromatics are used to blend in with the apricot note. The result is a very pleasant, fruity liqueur. Selected spices add an elegant finish.
Colour: Clear, bright, sunny golden colour. Bouquet: It has a full aroma which is apricot-rich and full. Flavour: Fruit acid and brandy give a delicate flavour with a marked nuttiness. Clearly apricot, it has a light clean finish on the palate.
BLACKCURRANT (Cassis Liqueur)
For many of the main ingredients of our liqueurs we have to go far abroad; but for this rich and fruity liqueur, we find a superb quality fruit, right here, in Tasmanian blackcurrants. The soil and climate seem to be ideal for this crop, already well known for the high, healthful Vitamin C content of its juice, which is one of the virtues of this liqueur. It will have a sharp palate in balance with the richness and fullness retained in the fruit bouquet and flavour.
Colour: It has a deep, purple-black colour, reminiscent of the berry and its juice. Bouquet: This is unashamedly blackcurrant, full of aroma, and not complex. Flavour: It is on the palate that one perceives the range of ingredients that the big bouquet hides. The liqueur is aged well in casks, and the result is a blend that develops a nice balance with the natural acidity of the fruit, against the spirit and sweetening.
There are many brands of Cherry Brandy on the market, and almost as many styles. You, the Consumer, must decide which you prefer but look for the evidence on your palate of real fruit and well-matured brandy.
Colour: Against the light, one should see a deep, cherry red ... black-red almost. Beware the too light, pinky red of some! Bouquet: Cherry Brandy has a marked bouquet of fruit underlaid with kernels and there is real pleasure to be had from its full and robust style. Flavour: A full cherry flavour; a high level of juiciness which is clear and in balance with the natural acidity of the fruit; and enough dryness on the palate - derived from good brandy.
I like to believe that this was a Baitz 'first'. Certainly we developed it without reference to or knowledge of any other. Over recent years it has been made by many of the world's Liqueurists. It is a luxurious liqueur with an excellent balance of chocolate and mint. Devised as an alternative to the after-dinner mint, it has proved most popular. A tiny spoonful of slightly soft ice cream floated on top of the liqueur adds a taste adventure which many like.
Colour: Of light chocolate. Colour at the rim of the glass will have a somewhat golden tinge. Bouquet: The blending of very good chocolate and carefully selected mint provides a teasing, pleasant aroma. Flavour: Clean, crisp minty flavour with an underlay of chocolate. Over-sweetness has been avoided. A long-lasting palate, and a not too dry finish.
Coffee liqueur can be made from coffee of many varieties. It is imperative that the base be fine quality beans, that roasting, grinding and extracting have been done expertly and that possible "short cuts" avoided. Brazilian coffee has a fragrant and interesting note. What we aim for and achieve is a mild blended coffee aroma and flavour carried in carefully spiced Jamaican rum. The result is an elegant after-coffee liqueur which has a full, mellow, clear flavour which does not offend the palate with a strong, coarse coffee taste. It may be served with thin cream floated on top.
Colour: Of light coffee. Bouquet: Rich, aromatic, interesting. There is a definite and marked fragrance peculiar to the specially elegant variety of coffee employed. Flavour: Of fresh, mild roast coffee with a note of Jamaican rum. West Indian spices give it depth. It has a delicate and long-lasting finish.
CREME DE CACAO
Creme de Cacao is an intriguing liqueur. In fact it is one of the complex liqueurs~ a blend of the rich Sierra Leone cocoa beans with the lighter, superbly fragrant Venezuelan product. From Tahiti and Reunion Island, two different types of vanilla bean are used, and these integrate subtly into the blend to support the two different cocoas. There is also fine brandy.
Colour: Dark, rich, brown chocolate colour. Bouquet: Aromatic - the two rich cocoas; the two soft vanillas; the faint spice indication, all with the undertone of good old brandy. It is an enjoyable challenge to isolate them from the total bouquet. Flavour: What the bouquet indicates is repeated on the palate - rich, complex, full cocoa flavour with a dryness in the finish.
WHITE CREME DE CACAO
Numerous cocktail recipes require the flavour of Creme de Cacao, but usually in a subtle degree and without the chocolate colour. For this purpose, White Creme de Cacao has been specially developed with a lighter flavour and clear colour.
CREME DE MENTHE
Good colour, clean, well defined bouquet, light mint finish. So easily said, but achieved only with many ingredients and blending stages. Ingredients from France, Italy, England, Bulgaria, the U.S.A. and Argentina are used. The selection of mint varieties combined with other botanical elements in quite small amounts, provides the reason for this liqueur being one of complexity to both nose and palate. It should not be made of synthetic essences. and a dull or flat colour plus "camphorish" aroma and taste betray these.
Colour: Deep green is the dominant colour, but against the light there are other shades and tints to be detected. Bouquet: Aromatic mint-. light but quite definite. A fresh, pleasant fragrance. Flavour: Fuller than the bouquet promises. Quite complex. The high quality mints are refreshing from the first sip, then some other aromatics can be recognised. It has a mellow quality, the result of good maturation. It is a complicated liqueur with a clean dry finish.
WHITE CREME DE MENTHE
A special style of Creme de Menthe, lighter in aroma and flavour than the traditional green, and clear in colour, produced for the numerous cocktail recipes which require this style of mint additive without giving any colour change.
Although originally made only in the West Indies from the small pungent oranges from the Island of the same name, Curacao is now made in traditional fashion around the globe. There are different styles - White, Orange, Blue, and the rarer, distinctive, Green. Orange Curacao is not quite as strong in alcoholic strength as White Curacao. It is juicier and fruitier with an interesting indication of candied peel. It is often used as a "moderator" for roast poultry dishes, especially duckling.
Colour: The colour is of sunny golden oranges. It suggests a bright, full-bodied liqueur which is rich and full of flavour. Bouquet: Orange Curacao has a grand, full aroma; that of the total orange, carried in Jamaican spirits. There is a pleasing overtone of fragrant orange blossoms. Flavour: The flavour is engaging and full. It is complex and shows fine citrus on the palate linked with good acid balanced by fruit sweetness to finish firm and dry.
White Curacao, as with all Curacaos, was made originally in the West Indies from the small bitter but highly flavoured oranges of the Island of Curacao. It is different from its sister liqueur, Orange Curacao, and is somewhat more popular. It is stronger in alcoholic strength, and more astringent and drier on the palate.
Colour: White Curacao is usually a crystal clear liqueur, but upon ageing may achieve a slight golden hue. Bouquet: Has a variety of orange tones which include the Curacao variety. The bouquet is piquant and somewhat bitter-sweet, full and lively, and the blossoms of the fruits are readily detected. Flavour: The flavour is engaging and full. It is complex and shows fine citrus on the palate linked with good acid balanced by fruit sweetness to finish firm and dry.
This blend is lighter in flavour and alcoholic strength than White or Orange Curacao. It has been developed more as a cocktail additive which will impart not only a citrus flavour but also a haunting blue tone in the great American "Blues" tradition.
FIORI ALPINI - CRISTALLIZZATI (Crystallized Flowers of the Alps)
A fascinating liqueur. Only a handful of some four or five Liqueurists in the world have succeeded in producing genuine Fiori Alpini with the herbs in the bottle as an integral part in its production. Note-worthy is the fact that the original exotic imported herbs are now replaced by Australian grown alpine plants and used by Baitz with great success. The herbs play a basic role in the liqueur. The process is complex and long, the result of many years of specialised experience which my father, Clifford, who had an expert palate worked with me to develop. Of interest is the fact that the liqueur, as it continues to mature in the bottle, is in a state of constant change in character. The crystal formations will be retained on the herbs unless the bottle of liqueur is kept in unsatisfactory storage conditions. However, any depletion of crystals does not affect the quality of the liqueur.
Colour: Bright clear yellow. Bouquet: Herbal and Spicy. Palate: Sharp, tangy and very herbal. Strong in Spirit but well balanced. A fine clean finish that leaves the palate refreshed.
This is a lively, fruity liqueur known throughout the world. It must certainly have been of Italian origin, and now "Drops of Gold" is made in different forms by various Liqueurists. It has as its base the special tangy note of the oranges of Messina, together with the fragrance of orange blossom, and is blended with a number of fine citrus oils to give to the original simple fruit flavour the complexity and the bouquet which has made it a popular and growing favourite as a liqueur.
Colour: Light, orange gold. It has a great deal of eye appeal. Bouquet: The bouquet is light, with a reminder of the orange blossoms and oranges which form its base. Flavour: This is full, yet delicate. The fruit and spices come to the palate in harmony with the spirit. The light acid of the fruit juice gives a clear finish.
Gold Wasser de Danzig (Golden Water of the Danzig) is a liqueur which has been highly esteemed throughout Europe for centuries. There was once attributed to it, beneficial properties which made it much sought after. This liqueur should be enjoyed in two separate and distinct parts-. inhale, and in the bouquet search for those aromas which abound there~ upon tasting, search for the many ingredients which will appear either on the front, middle or the final palate (or after-taste).
Colour: The liqueur is clear, with the palest of golden hues. The flocculent pieces of pure, beaten gold, traditional to this ancient liqueur, float through the liquor. Bouquet: In the bouquet, many exciting aromas will be discovered. Not all of them will be found in the flavour. Flavour: Of the 34 herbs, spices and other ingredients blended into this liqueur, only some can be identified by the palate. Musk, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, ginger - these are the most likely to be recognised.
A long-established international spirit. Derived and distilled from the tart-flavoured cherry of Central and Northern Europe, it is widely used in the culinary arts. It is bottled at a high alcoholic strength and as it is usually unsweetened it is quite a dry aromatic spirit. No chef is without it as an addition - an "improver" - to his many dishes.
Colour: A clear, colourless spirit. Bouquet: Sharp, cherry acid, light. Flavour: Strong and penetrating. It leads with a citrus indication on the palate. and finishes with a sharp, acid cherry note.
This liqueur, like so many, was made first in Northern Europe and has been a favourite there for centuries. It has a caraway seed base, is made in a wide range from heavily to lightly perfumed bouquets, and in various alcoholic strengths. The choice is very wide. Kummel as we make it at Baitz is a mellow variety, using the full flavour of the caraway but toning this down with other flavours which add depth. Its alcoholic strength is moderate; too great an alcoholic vehicle would interfere with the palate's ability to detect the delicate flavours.
Colour: Clear. Sometimes it takes a golden tinge when aged considerably. Bouquet: The caraway seed is clear; light; sharp. Perfumes have been avoided. Flavour: Caraway is a strong note and must be handled with care. The flavour is definite, clear, with a deeper note which carries through to the after-taste.
A liqueur of the citrus family requiring a variety of the mandarins of the Mediterranean in its blend. Like the Curacaos there are variations in strength and fruit variety which receive preference in different countries. Properly balanced, it has a strong and pleasant citrus bouquet and full flavour of a tangy quality.
Colour: When fully aged is a clear red gold. Bouquet: Full of the blossom and the mandarin fruit. Flavour: Like the bouquet, tangy but with the sweetness necessary to bring out the best aromatic properties of the citrus varieties used, and these are especially detected on the middle palate. The finish will be light and with a certain dry note. Most clearly and unmistakably mandarin.
The Marasca cherry is the origin of this liqueur, and from this the name 'Maraschino' is derived. The original principal cherry orchards were in Zara, Jugoslavia, but now there are extensive crops grown in Italy also. Distilled and made into an aromatic liqueur, it has long been in popular use as an enhancer of culinary dishes, especially desserts. It also lends its unique, intense, perfumed blossom aroma and flavour to many celebrated cocktails. A complex process of distillation of the base ingredients is necessary to obtain the finest traditional character in aroma and flavour.
Colour: It is clear and colourless. Bouquet: Somewhat heavy, full of cherries but overlaid with a strong perfume of flowers. Flavour: Intense, sweet and although strong in its alcoholic content, the flavour is elegant.
Seen in the best bars on the international circuit. It is a fascinating after-dinner liqueur and is also used by bartenders in competition-winning cocktails, as it imparts a glamorous array of flavours and colours. The exotic aromas and flavours are obtained principally by the use of Flower Oils and Spices.
Colour: Is difficult to describe with accuracy. It is magenta and violet and blue and pale rose, all together and yet all separate. Bouquet: The predominant character of this colourful liqueur is in the bouquet. It is here you will discover the exotic aromas of the petals of roses, the flowers of lavender, carnations, violets from Grasse in France, rosemary from Spain, and a touch of lemon grass. These, with many others, formed into a harmonious blend, challenge one to unravel their mystery.
In this liqueur the full flavour of ripe peach is desirable. The blending results in a pleasant, fruity liqueur with a spicy undertone and a background of good brandy.
Colour: Bright warm golden colour. Bouquet: It has a full soft aroma which is rich and full of peaches. Flavour: The brandied, crushed peachstones play an important role and give the liqueur both a delicate spiciness and nuttiness. Matured in casks, it develops a round and light finish before it is bottled.