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Vodka, one of the world's most popular liquors, is composed solely of water and ethyl alcohol with possible traces of impurities and flavorings. Vodka is made from any one of these fermented substances: grain, rye, wheat, potatoes, or sugar beet molasses.
Vodka’s alcoholic content usually ranges between 35 to 50 percent by volume; the standard Russian, Lithuanian, and Polish vodkas are 40 percent alcohol by volume (80 proof).
Historically, this alcoholic-proof standard derives from the Russian vodka quality standards established by Tsar Alexander III in 1894.
The Muscovite Vodka Museum reports that chemist Dmitri Mendeleev determined the ideal alcohol content as 38 percent; however, because in that time distilled spirits were taxed per their alcoholic strength, that percentage was rounded upwards to 40 percent for simplified taxation calculations.
For such a liquor to be denominated “vodka,” governments establish a minimal alcoholic proof; the European Union established 37.5 percent alcohol by volume as the minimal proof for European vodka.
Vodka is traditionally drunk neat in the vodka belt — Eastern Europe and Nordic countries — and elsewhere. It is also commonly used in cocktails and mixed drinks, such as the bloody Mary, the screwdriver, the White Russian, the vodka tonic, and the vodka martini.
The word liqueur comes from the Latin liquifacere ("to liquefy").
A distinction can be made between liqueurs and the kind of cordials that are made with fruit juice. In some parts of the world, people use the words "cordial" and "liqueur" interchangeably.
Liqueurs date back centuries and are historical descendants of herbal medicines, often those prepared by monks, as Chartreuse or Bénédictine. Liqueurs were made in Italy as early as the 13th century and their consumption was later required at all treaty signings during the Middle Ages.
Nowadays, liqueurs are made worldwide and are served in many ways: by themselves, poured over ice, with coffee, mixed with cream or other mixers to create cocktails, etc. They are often served with or after a dessert. Liqueurs are also used in cooking.
Some liqueurs are prepared by infusing certain woods, fruits, or flowers, in either water or alcohol, and adding sugar or other items. Others are distilled from aromatic or flavoring agents. The distinction between liqueur and spirits (sometimes liquors) is not simple, especially since many spirits are available in a flavored form today. Flavored spirits, however, are not prepared by infusion. Alcohol content is not a distinctive feature. At 15-30%, most liqueurs have a lower alcohol content than spirits, but some liqueurs have an alcohol content as high as 55%. Dessert wine, on the other hand, may taste like a liqueur, but contains no additional flavoring.
Anise liqueurs have the interesting property of turning from transparent to cloudy when added to water: the oil of anise remains in solution in the presence of a high concentration of alcohol, but crystallizes when the alcohol concentration is reduced.
Layered drinks are made by floating different-coloured liqueurs in separate layers. Each liqueur is poured slowly into a glass over the back of a spoon or down a glass rod, so that the liquids of different densities remain unmixed, creating a striped effect.
- Citrus is God’s gift to distillers. The freshness and zestiness of the fruit is truly unpaired – we go through hoops to bring its essence in our liqueurs. Grapefruit is a particularly sapid specimen, for its concentrate works miracles on neutral spirits. The fruit’s subtle sweetness and delicate flavour profile of acid and bitter tones make it our ingredient of choice for a refreshing cocktail.
- Burn baby Burn!
- By nature, kiwis have an undefined aura. What are they? Little hairy melons? Weird grapes? Vague figs? Who cares? All we know is that they’re surprisingly fruity and juicy to the core. Especially when sun-ripened. So whatever the essence of those kiwis, we went out of our way to get it in this liqueur. If you need a little je-ne-sais-quoi to bring out the sun in your cocktails, here you have it.
- The pure essence of fresh lychee fruit captured in a light, sweet, natural tasting liqueur. Perfect for all occasions, both as a cocktail and an afterdinner drink. Also to be used as a dressing for ice cream and lychee fruit.
- Don’t let the name fool you, lemongrass has nothing to do with citrus. In fact, lemons only wish they could be so elegantly fresh. The aromatic flavour of the grass is so subtle and rich, and its taste so pure, that we believed it would make a killer cocktail ingredient. And it did! With a hint of eau-de-vie and a dash of gin we created this innovative liqueur with a lasting, pleasant aftertaste.
- Fleshy and creamy, that's how we like 'em at De Kuyper. But picking the right mangos for the job and turning them into liqueur is all but easy. To tell you the truth, it's an ordeal. Capturing its tropic essence requires you to be patient. Ninja patient. Don't touch the fruit until it is so ripe all the goods are naturally released. It's the waiting that gives this liqueur a touch of paradise.
- If ain’t broke, fix it. Yes, your reading it right. Breaking is fundamental when it comes to distilling Marasquin. Its distinctive bittersweet taste comes from Marasca cherries and their crushed kernels. People have been making Marasca distillates for ages and we also couldn’t resist taking a shot. Sweetening the liqueur with roses, we pushed back the bitter and lifted the almond undertone.
- Here’s something to remember: you can’t fake the taste of a ripe melon. People spend fortunes searching for the right formula, but obviously we prefer working with the real fruit. All-natural melons matured in abundant sunlight, bursting with juice and freshness. And once we’ve extracted their essence, we leave it at that. Just add some neutral spirits and done. That’s melon in its purest form.
- Without the oolala this is a Liqueur of Love. But you have to agree that it sounds way better in French. Anyhow, in this love potion we have brought two worlds together, forming a classic and tasteful bond. Fresh citrus (lemon and Curaçao) is paired with the pronounced taste of vanilla – and not just any vanilla, but the real Madagascar one. Love for liqueur makes us happy to go that extra mile.
- Some say the name passion fruit comes from the crown-like flower resembling the thorn tiara in Christ’s Passion. Some say the name is a clear reference tothe flower’s supposed qualities as an aphrodisiac. We’re not interested in the guessing, if you mind, we rather focus on the distilling. Blending passion fruit flavours, oranges and grapefruits harmoniously together in a tropical fresh liqueur.