Whether you’re looking for something different to sip on or merely elevating the nearest beverage, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out a tasty liqueur. By definition, liqueurs are distilled spirits flavoured with ingredients such as herbs, spices, nuts, fruit, and sugar, but don’t go mistaking them for mere “flavoured spirits”. Real liqueurs branch off and do their own thing, representing a peripheral to traditional spirits and not an extension of them. Furthermore, like the best spirits, the best liqueurs come as a result of expert craftsmanship and top-secret techniques, many of which go back centuries. Recently honouring such timeless methods was the 2017 World Liqueur Awards. Read on for a list of the top winners.
World’s Best Liqueur – Olañeta Licor De Café
Sure, when you think “coffee liqueur” you think Kahlua, but perhaps it’s time to broaden your horizons and scope this 2017 World Liqueur Awards champion. Spain’s Olañeta Licor De Café uses premium 100% Arabica beans from Costa Rica and doesn’t even bother with common ingredients like cinnamon or cocao. The result is an exceptionally smooth liqueur that comes in at 26% ABV and goes big on coffee flavour, guaranteed to put some delicious pep in your step.
World’s Best Fruit Liqueur – Ableforth’s Summer Fruit Cup
The perfect cool intoxicant for the next warm summer day, Ableforth’s Summer Fruit Cup hails from the UK and took home top prize for its respective category at the World Liqueur Awards. The production of this zesty beast involves macerating a blend of strawberries, cucumbers, oranges and mint in wheat spirit before re-distilling in a vacuum still. To that already fruity and boozy mix they add wines, spirits, herbs, spices and more fruit to create an intense berry flavour that’s balanced by the mint and botanicals. Pour it over ice and add lemonade for the perfect summertime refreshment.
World’s Best Spice Liqueur – LOKITA Fire & Spiced
LOKITA is having itself a superb 2017 thus far. Their silver tequila took home top honours in the 2017 World’s Best Tequila Awards and now their Fire & Spiced Liqueur reigns supreme at the World’s Best Liqueur Awards. From the body of this understated stunner expect remarkably smooth texture bursting with notes of caramel, raisin, cinnamon and apple.
World’s Best Whisky Liqueur – Master of Malt 30 Year Old Speyside Whisky Liqueur
Let’s just run down the basics on this champion beverage: it uses 30 year old Speyside whisky as its base, then adds harmonious ingredients like cinnamon, orange peel and a hint of grapefruit. It comes in at 40% ABV, which is the same as most standard spirits, meaning there’s plenty of straight alcohol in every sip. And that’s that. If it didn’t cost upwards of $300 we’d be sipping on it already. Instead we’ll start saving because this liqueur (if you can even call it that) sounds absolutely phenomenal.
World’s Best Herb Liqueur – Olañeta Licor De Hierbas
As if taking home first prize wasn’t enough, Olañeta makes another top slot appearance at the 2017 World’s Best Liqueur Awards. Licor De Hierbas goes to painstaking lengths to extract all the raw, natural aromatics and tantalising flavours of its ingredients. Further separating it from the pack is a brilliant golden, natural, plant-derived colour.
World’s Best Honey Liqueur – ABK6 Honey Cognac Liqueur
This French award winner pairs locally sourced honey with locally sourced Cognac to bring warm, luscious notes of honeysuckle, toffee, orange peel and spice. That’s all joined by a formidable burst of Cognac so you don’t forget there’s alcohol in your drink. Drink and enjoy but moderate, too–at 35% ABV, this one could creep up on you.
Best Dairy Liqueur – Kerrygold Irish Cream
Kerrygold was already a premier dairy brand in Ireland so it’s safe to say their Irish Cream is delectable on all fronts. From this World Liqueur Awards best in show expect sweet notes of chocolate milk and creamy vanilla that aren’t so dense as to overwhelm the palate. Emerging from the body of every sip is the slight, welcomed punch of oak-aged Irish whiskey to keep you on your toes. Yum.