Herbal liqueurs have a very long tradition with us. Many years ago, the monks already knew about the magic of herbs. They combined various herbs with alcohol in the monasteries to extract healing substances from these plants. But since the result was often so harsh and bitter, honey was added. Today, everyone knows how beneficial a glass of herbal liqueur can be and they taste especially good.
What is herbal liqueur?
Herbal liqueur is a special type of liqueur. It is characterized by a comparatively high proportion of sugar as well as the aromatization by herbs. The alcohol content is usually between 15 and 35 percent by volume. Herbal liqueurs originated, among other things, from the wines of antiquity, which were often strongly flavored. Today, herbal liqueurs are consumed primarily as digestive spirits or as ingredients in long drinks. It is hoped that the bitter substances present in herbal liqueurs will stimulate stomach and bile activity and thus aid digestion. Not entirely conducive to this health aspect is the alcohol content. Other names for a herbal liqueur are "bitters" and "semi-bitter". Herbal liqueur is produced all over the world.
The history of herbal liqueur
The forerunners of today's liqueurs and, therefore, herbal liqueurs were the wines consumed by the ancient Romans and Greeks. In the Middle Ages, in monasteries and abbeys, monks began to soak herbs (and other plants) in alcohol. This potion was to be used as medicine. To make this drink more drinkable, the monks often used honey to sweeten it. For many years, the production of herbal liqueurs was reserved for monasteries with their herb gardens.
In the herbal liqueur store are liqueurs that must have a minimum sugar content of 100 grams per liter. Particularly sweet liqueurs are called crèmes.
Different herbal liqueurs
Over time, particular specialties have developed in the different regions of the world where herbal liqueurs are produced. You can buy many of these specialties in our herbal liqueur store. Below we present the most important herbal liqueurs.
The Appenzeller Alpenbitter
In the herbal liqueur store, the Appenzeller Alpenbitter must not be missing. This herbal liqueur comes from Switzerland and is produced there since 1902. A secret recipe is still used for the production. As the main ingredients are considered safe today:
- Bittering agent
People like to shorten the name Aromatique to a concise Aro. The Aro is actually a spice liqueur, but is classified among herbal liqueurs. This liqueur comes from Germany and was actually invented in the 19th century as a medicine. But when the Aro was consumed with pleasure even after the end of the disease, it was developed into a liqueur and further into a bitters. What is special about Aro is a distinctive spicy taste and an alcohol content of 40% by volume.
The Averna is a herbal liqueur from Sicily. For its production are used various roots, herbs and essential oils. The essential oils come from oranges and lemons. Averna was invented in the early 19th century and monks had their hands in it too. Initially produced only for family guests, the Averna later started a triumphal procession throughout Italy and Europe. Typical for the Averna is the use of Mediterranean herbs. Alcohol is added to all ingredients after reduction. Taste-wise, the Averna shines with bittersweet aromas. This herbal liqueur is drunk as a digestif, either neat, with a slice of orange or on ice.
If you want to buy typical herbal liqueur, you can't avoid Bärwurz. This high-proof herbal liqueur comes from Bavaria and is used quite classically as digestive liquor. For the liqueur, only the root of the eponymous plant is used. After soaking the root in alcohol for a few days, the distillation process is kicked off.
The Becherovka originates from Bohemia in the Czech Republic. It is a herbal bitters with greenish to yellowish color. With its volume content of 38%, this herbal liqueur is far at the top of the range of high-proof herbal liqueurs. It is drunk neat, on ice or as a component of a mixed drink. The recipe for the is still secret today. Different herbs and spices are used. In the Empire of Austria and Hungary, the Becherovka was a popular drink during the 19th century. Becherovka is made from various herbs, oils and alcohol. In the process, the herbs are collected in a cloth bag, which is immersed in an alcohol tank. Then it is mixed with water and sugar. For maturation the Becherovka is put into oak barrels.
The Beerenburg is a herbal liqueur with an alcohol content of about 30 percent by volume. Originally, the Beerenburg comes from Amsterdam and was prepared in the 17th century.
No herbal liqueur store should be without Bénédictine. This French herbal liqueur has been produced since 1863. Its recipe goes back to Benedictine monks. Mainly used for the Bénédictine, in addition to alcohol, sugar, water, vegetable ingredients and sugar caramel. The latter is a coloring agent responsible for the caramel-like appearance of the liqueur. The herbs and spices are prepared with alcohol, later distilled individually or double distilled depending on the ingredient. Then everything is combined and rests for at least eight months. Honey and other herbs are then added. Now the drink is heated and stored in oak barrels for four months of aging. This drink forms the basis for the liqueur. In total, up to 30 herbs and spices are combined in the liqueur. These include lemon balm, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, thyme and saffron. Bénédictine is mainly used as an ingredient in cocktails and other mixed drinks. You know the Bénédictine in the cocktails Prince of Wales, Widow's Kiss and Bobby Burns, just to name a few examples. Less known is that this liqueur also uses it as an ingredient in cakes, desserts and sweets.
Don't be fooled by the cute name for this herbal liqueur. The Butzelmann is a herbal liqueur with 31% alcohol volume. It has been produced since the 19th century in the Bergisches Land . The Butzelmann is typically sold in stone jugs. In addition to herbs, honey is part of the recipe of the herbal liqueur, which must mature for at least seven months.
The Chartreuse an herbal liqueur from France, more specifically from the Grenoble area. Legend has it that the recipe for the Chartreuse was invented back in the early 17th century. This was supposed to guarantee a long life. In the 18th century, an apothecary refined this recipe into a healing potion, which, it is said, is still produced unchanged today. It is also called the green herbal liqueur. The recipe is, of course, top secret. Today, there are various Chartreuse liqueurs. Depending on the variant, they contain extracts of up to 130 herbs and spices. Maturing in oak barrels takes between five to eight years.
Danziger Goldwasser is a spice and herb liqueur. It was originally produced in Gdansk and that is how it got its name. The beginnings of this herbal liqueur are based on a recipe from the 16th century. It is characterized by a spicy to sweet taste and a clear color. Its alcohol content is a proud 40% by volume. Although it was produced in Poland, it was invented by a Dutchman. Its production is based on distillation. To enhance its medicinal properties, silver and gold plates were added to the liqueur. This fact explains the rest of the name. These additions were intended to emphasize and enhance its healing properties. The main ingredients of the herbal liqueur include coriander, peel of lemons, lavender, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom.
Demänovka is a herbal liqueur from Slovakia. The herbal bitters comes to 38%. The main ingredients are herbs, honey and mountain water, which comes from the Tatra Mountains.
If you want to buy a special herbal liqueur, you should take a closer look at an Els. This herbal bitter is not distilled. It is produced in the Eifel region. Legend has it that its recipe was derived from a healing potion for animals.
Buying herbal liqueur also means experiencing a great variety. Escorial, for example, is a herbal liqueur that can convince with its very high alcohol content. At 110 years old, it is comparatively young. It is a green herbal liqueur that has an alcohol content of 56%. With this characteristic, it is excellent for flambéing. Its taste is light and sweet.
The Fernet Branca
The Fernet-Branca is a bitter from Italy. Its origin can be traced back to the 19th century. In Milan, it was produced as a medicine. Even today, the herbal liqueur is produced according to the secret recipe from that time. It is said that Fernet Branca contains herbs from five continents. It is aged in oak barrels for one year.
The Gammel Dansk
Unmistakably, the Gammel Dansk has something to do with Denmark. Translated, the name of the bitters means something like "Old Dane". About 30 herbs are part of the recipe. Among them are anise, rowanberry and ginger.
The name also says it all when it comes to the Grubenfeuer. Grubenfeuer is a herbal liqueur with an alcohol content of 60% by volume, based on herbs and fruits. It comes from the Ore Mountains. This herbal liqueur is served burning. This relativizes the high alcohol content. Classically, the Grubenfeuer is served in small pans made of clay.
Heidegeist is a herbal liqueur. It contains more than 30 different herbs that come from the Lüneburg Heath. Its alcohol content is 50%. The herbal liqueur is characterized by a strong taste and clear color. Heidegeist is drunk well chilled. It is often used in cocktails.
Herbes is a herbal liqueur based on anise. It also contains herbs and medicinal herbs. The Herbes produced in Mallorca. The Herbes was often distilled in the homesteads on the island. At the end of the 19th century, a number of distilleries were founded that were dedicated to the production of the herbal liqueur. Some of these companies still produce the herbes today.
The Hierbas Ibicencas
The herbal liqueur Hierbas Ibicencas is based on a mixture of herbs and anise. It is produced in Ibiza. The Hierbas Ibicencas has been produced for more than two centuries. In the process, the herbs and anise are steeped in alcohol.
The Izarra is a herbal liqueur from the Basque Country. It has been produced since the beginning of the 20th century. There are currently three different varieties known. Up to 16 different plants and spices are used in its production. In the production process, the spices and plants are steeped in brandy. Later syrup and honey are added. In oak barrels the liqueur is stored for quite a long time until it gets its softness.
If you want to buy a herbal liqueur, you can't avoid Jägermeister. You will find you of course in our herbal liqueur store. The Jägermeister is produced in Wolfenbüttel. This herbal liqueur contains 35% alcohol by volume. It is drunk pure or as a component of long drinks. The recipe was invented in the 1930s. More than 50 herbs are used for Jägermeister. Among them are licorice, star anise, cinnamon, orange peel, bitter orange, ginger, galangal, clove, cardamom, lavender, chamomile and many others.
The herbal liqueur Killepitsch comes from Düsseldorf. The recipe for the liqueur is a secret. The only thing known is that more than 30 berries, fruits and herbs are used for the liqueur. After mixing the ingredients, the liqueur is stored in clay jars for about a year. The taste is bitter-sweet.
The herbal liqueur Kruiden is produced in East Frisia. It is drunk mainly before or after meals.
Extremely popular is the bitters Kuemmerling. The half bitter has 35% volume content and is produced near Mainz. At the beginning of the 20th century there was the first Kuemmerling.
The Lauterbacher Tropfen
The Lauterbacher Tropfen is a so-called stomach bitter. It originates from the Ore Mountains. Typical for the herbal liqueur is the spicy taste as well as its dark green color. The recipe is a secret. But it is known that its alcohol content is 40% by volume. The Lauterbacher drop is drunk well chilled. The recipe is dated to the beginning of the 20th century.
The Mampe Halb und Halb
Mampe Halb und Halb is a herbal liqueur. It has been produced since the beginning of the 19th century. Its main ingredient is bitter oranges. The herbal liqueur was originally produced in Pomerania. Later, the company headquarters were moved to Hamburg.
The Palo is a herbal liqueur from Mallorca. It tastes sweet. The consistency is creamy and the color is dark. The main ingredient is cinchona bark. Hence the name of the herbal liqueur.
The famous Ramazzotti is a herbal liqueur. It is produced in Italy. The semi-bitter liqueur has a relatively high sugar content. Ramazzotti was first produced in 1815. In total, it contains more than 30 herbs and plants. It is certain that among them there are orange peel, rose petals, vanilla and star anise. After the plants are ground into powder, alcohol, sugar and other secret ingredients are added to them.
The Ratafia is a herbal liqueur from Catalonia. Aromatic herbs and green walnuts are the main ingredients. Aniseed liquor is added to the walnuts and the herbs.
The Rhöntropfen is a bitters from Thuringia. The Rhöntropfen already exists since the 19th century. It contains 35% alcohol. The mild herbal liqueur is made exclusively from herbs and spices from the Rhön.
The Schierker Flintstone
The Schierker Feuerstein is a herbal liqueur. It was developed at the beginning of the 20th century in the Harz Mountains.
The Schwabacher Goldwasser
The Schwabacher Goldwasser is a herbal liqueur. Its recipe includes spices and peels of lemons. Gold leaf is added to this mixture. To keep it in suspension, food starch is added to the liqueur.
The Siegburger Abtei-Liqueur
The Siegburg Abbey Liqueur was already produced in the 14th century. Again, Benedictine monks were the driving force behind the invention of the recipe.
The Stichpimpulibockforcelorum is a herbal liqueur. It was invented in the 19th century and produced in Königslutter. Its name reveals the ingredients, because it is composed of the initial syllables of the ingredients. They are stichos, pimpernut, pulque, lovage, privet bush, buckthorn, pine sap (called forle), cereals, lotus as well as rum.
The Stonsdorfer tastes bitter to sweet. The herbal liqueur is made from spices, fruits and herbs such as star anise, gentian, cloves and blueberries. Its color is red. The recipe for Stonsdorfer was invented in the early 19th century.
The Unicum is a Hungarian bitters and thus a herbal liqueur. The strange name goes back to Joseph II. The Archduke is said to have exclaimed while drinking the herbal liqueur that this drink was a Unicum. That was in 1790. Unicum contains more than 40 herbs and roots. The alcohol content is 40%. Unicum is drunk at a temperature between 8 °C and 10 °C.
Wurzelpeter comes from Berlin and is a herbal liqueur. Its recipe dates back to 1935 and its ingredients include bark, roots, herbs and spices.