Herb and Spice Liqueurs constitute one of the sub-categories of the broad liqueur family, one which came out of the monasteries of Europe where, over the centuries, monks developed herbal remedies for various ailments. Many herb and spice liqueurs still bear the name of monastic orders from which they originated.
Herb and spice liqueurs are one of the most intriguing categories of liqueur as in many cases the recipes are a closely guarded secret, handed down from generation to generation. One of the most famous examples is Chartreuse; it is claimed that there are 130 different herbal extracts in the blend and only four people worldwide know the recipe. At the other extreme is crème de menthe, in which peppermint is the only flavor agent used. Other famous herb and spice liqueurs include Campari, Fernet Branca and Jägermeister.
Both sweetness and bitterness feature in different types of herb and spice liqueurs. Some styles taste medicinal and earthy, while others may show vanilla, cinnamon and other sweet spices. This diversity makes them a versatile component of the cocktail library.
Herb/Spice Liqueur cocktails:
- The Last Word – Chartreuse with gin, lime and maraschino
- St-Germain Cocktail – St-Germain with sparkling wine and soda
- Negroni – Campari with gin and vermouth