The Top 5 Liqueurs to Drink Neat
Liqueurs are sweet alcoholic beverages that can be taken in lieu of dessert. High quality liqueurs can be taken neat, meaning that they don’t need to be mixed with anything, don’t need ice, and can be served at room temperature and will taste absolutely magnificent. Some liqueurs are just far too sweet and far too syrupy to be taken on their own and absolutely must be consumed along with other ingredients in a cocktail. However, good, superior quality liqueurs simply must be sipped straight out of a fancy liqueur glass. Here is our Top Five list of liqueurs to drink neat.
5. Kahlúa This fine Mexican liqueur which is produced from Arabica coffee beans grown in Veracruz and other parts of the Latin American country can be considered King of the after-dinner drinks; not only does it form an integral part of about 50% of all bar cocktails, it is also absolutely magnificent in a cup of coffee and it is perfectly sublime on its own after dinner. There are plenty of coffee liqueurs on the market, but all pale in comparison to Kahlúa. If you’re hankering for a sweet coffee treat after a heavy meal but don’t want an espresso or something that is sickly-sweet, then a 2 ounce glass of Kahlúa, slowly sipped, will be the perfect tipple.
4. Advocaat and Rompope Tying for fourth place on our list of the top liqueurs are the two eggnog type drinks that are famous the world over; Advocaat comes from Holland and Rompope comes from Latin America. Both drinks are very similar in that they are both based on eggs, sugar, and milk, and both beverages are like a liquid version of incredibly good custard. While in most cases eggnog is something that people will only have in the winter time in the Christmas season, Advocaat and Rompope are delicious year-round.
Advocaat is usually produced in Holland and Belgium, and is made of eggs, sugar, and brandy. Creamy smooth and custard like, it has an alcohol content between 14% to 20%. Thick Advocaat, which is only sold on the domestic market, can be eaten with a spoon and is sometimes sold as a topping for waffles. The more liquid version that is for export can be used for cocktails such as a snowball, but connoisseurs and fans alike prefer Advocaat just by itself. It can absolutely be described as a rich dessert in liquid form. Advocaat is available in most countries.
The most famous version of Rompope comes from Puebla, Mexico. Also made of eggs, cream, and sugar, it almost always contains the strong vanilla Mexico is famous for and it also contains rum instead of brandy. Although commercial versions from Puebla are of excellent quality and can turn any event into a special occasion, in Mexico many people still prefer to make home-made rompope in the winter. Availability may be an issue; outside of Mexico, commercial rompope is hard to find. However, in the southern United States, certain liquor shops may sell it to the delight of locals.
3. Vana Tallinn At number three on our list is a liqueur that has only recently come to our attention; this powerful liqueur is simply terrific after a heavy meal but it’s also so nice that it will work well as a genteel drink to accompany an afternoon tea-snack. Hailing from the Estonian capital of Tallinn, this liqueur can also be potentially dangerous; the sweetness and flavors disguise its incredibly high alcohol content, which can range from 35% to 50% alcohol by volume. A famous cocktail made with the liqueur is called “The hammer and sickle” – mixed with Russian sparkling wine, the Vana Tallinn is the hammer that hits you on the head and the champagne is the sickle that will cut off your legs. Up until 2007, Vana Tallinn and its cream version were only available in Europe. It is now available in the United States, where it has won awards in tasting competitions. Vana Tallinn is a beautiful liqueur, but one must remember to drink it in moderation due to the high alcohol content.
2. Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge Many argue that when it comes to orange liqueurs, the French liqueur Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge is simply the best on the market and has been the best since it was first manufactured in 1880. Made from a mixture of Cognac brandy, sugar, and distilled essence of bitter orange, Grand Marnier is 40% alcohol by volume and can be taken as a cordial or digestif. What makes Grand Marnier such a favorite with old-timers and the new generation alike is its featherweight texture and intense orange flavor that does not seem at any time synthetic. While Grand Marnier is like Kahlúa in that it is used as a basic ingredient in hundreds of cocktails, it is also used in cooking. However, the true delight of Grand Marnier can only be experienced when sipped neat with leisure.
And the number 1 spot goes to…Bailey’s Irish Cream. While some connoisseurs of fine liqueur may disagree, there is a reason why Bailey’s Irish Cream is usually everybody’s favorite liqueur and in some cases favorite alcoholic beverage; it’s just phenomenally good! Based on Irish whiskey and cream, this sweet and rich beverage is satisfying and flavorful without being over-the-top sugary. The Irish whiskey flavour is there, but is not overpowering, and the texture of the drink is velvety without being too thick or too much like melted ice cream. Some aficionados like to have two or three ice cubes added in their glass, but the best way to enjoy this drink is the simple way; straight up, no ice, and nothing fancy added. Bailey’s has been popular for decades now, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down.
At your next dinner party, if you don’t have the time to make a dessert, or you want to serve something other than a dessert wine to go along with an end-of-the-night sweet, try any one of the above five liqueurs and you and your guests will be stunned by how good they are.
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