Liqueurs have a long history dating back centuries. Derived from the Latin word ‘Liquifacere’, which means to ‘melt or dissolve’. This is in reference as to how it is made.
There have been liqueurs found in ancient Egyptian tombs and have also been documented within ancient historic scrolls.
During the 13th Century Italian monks made liqueurs which became increasingly popular thought Europe. Its main use was valued as a medicinal tonic. As means of travel and transport developed around the world, countries and continents, traded and purchased various commodities, including herbs, spices and exotic fruits. Through the centuries, liqueurs have not only been promoted as medicinal, but also as love potions or aphrodisiacs.
Malta has been steadily growing as a country that continues to be innovative in its creation and development of new product lines to cater for its local market and for tourists alike, to meet the demand of those in search of our authentic Maltese flavours.
The range of Maltese liqueurs has increased and grown steadily, offering a wide choice of natural flavours that may appeal to those that are partial to enjoy a drink sensation or those of us that love to bake and be creative with flavour additions.
The extensive range offered makes a wonderful gift for family and friends, and as such multiple selection packs of 3 or even 5 liquor varieties in are made available with this in mind. These multi packs can be readily found in souvenir shops and market stalls around the Island. Whilst Confectionary shops and spirit shops also have their quality range of authentic Maltese Liquors.
Maltese Liqueurs reflect a broad range of our Mediterranean produce, that includes fresh fruits such as pomegranate, figs, lemons, carob and prickly pear.
Other Maltese commodities used in liqueur flavourings also include almond, honey and aniseed.
Liqueurs can be surprisingly easy to make which is an enjoyable and rewarding experience, not to mention creating your own flavours to produce as bottled gifts
suitable for any occasion.
The process of making liqueurs involves selecting your base liquor (Distilled Spirit) such as brandy, cognac, vodka, rum or gin. Flavour is then infused by the addition of either fruits, vegetables, flowers, seeds, herbs or spices, allowing them to age (steep), to which a sugar syrup is later added. Most liqueurs mature and develop into a more subtle flavour note within a few months, making it more pleasurable on the pallet.
When selecting your base liquor(distilled spirit) to create your liqueur, ensure the alcohol of your choice is of quality, to enable the flavour of your chosen ingredients to flourish through.
Due to their popularity I have included recipes for Lemoncello-(Limuncell) Volume 1
Recipes for Amaretto-(Amarettu), Prickly pear(Bajtra) and Aniseed(Anizett) are contained within in my Volume 2 ‘Traditional Sweet Recipes from Malta‘. www.TraditionalMalteseSweets.com
Various studies have shown that moderate occasional drinking can be good for your immune system and heart health. Interestingly there are particular compounds found in herbs and spices that may prevent some diseases by acting an anti-inflammation which helps to fight off cancers, heart disease and prevent cellular damage. The amounts that one would need to consume in order to have any real health benefit is quite substantial. However, when these herbs and spice compounds are infused into alcohol to make a liqueur, it becomes a more concentrated form that provides medicinal properties as well as being enjoyable to consume. An additional reason to enjoy a Liquere.
Whatever your incentive, whether to utilize in cookery as a beautiful flavour addition, enjoy as an aperitif, consume as an occasional beverage for health benefits, or to create as a special gift for family & friends, liqueurs are as much versatile as they are a true taste sensation.