Liqueur vs. Liquor- What's the Difference?

May 11, 2021

In the world of cocktails, there are many different types of alcohol, ingredients and terms thrown around. Liqueur and liquor are two of the most renowned, and for those who are not alcohol experts, these two words can be mistaken as the same thing. To make matters worse, they do have a lot in common, however, when crafting a cocktail, the two could not be more different! This is why the professional bartender services Raleigh, POUR Bar Services, are more than happy to break down these terms and explain the similarities as well as the differences of these two cocktail components, so you can order your next cocktail with confidence.


Let’s start off with something we are all familiar with–liquor. Liquor, also referred to as “spirits” or “hard alcohol” is the term used to describe any distilled beverage that you will see POUR bartender services Raleigh handle frequently. Liquors can be distilled with botanicals, grains, potatoes, rye, blue agave, and many, many other ingredients; but liquors must be distilled and contain alcohol to be considered a spirit. Gin, vodka, tequila, and rum are all forms of liquor, while beer and wine are not. Additionally, basic liquors don’t typically have a substantial amount of added sugars, with some having none at all. More recently, we are seeing a vast selection of flavored liquors which entail adding more sugar into the mix. These are still considered “spirits” because of their high alcohol content, but their overwhelming sweetness could arguably move them into the “liqueur” category as well. When thinking about the best selection of liquor for an upcoming event or gathering, the affordable bartenders Raleigh of POUR Bar Services are glad to help you make those selections!


And in comes the flavor! When pronouncing the word “liqueur” the emphasis should be put on the second syllable, to where you are saying “lick-keewr.” Technically, liqueurs are liquor because they are distilled spirits, but the general difference is that liqueurs are sweetened spirits with various flavors, oils, and extracts added. The alcohol content of liqueurs typically (but not always) tend to be lower in alcohol than liquors. This is partially due to the “watering down” effect of adding the sweetener and flavor–but trust the affordable bartenders Raleigh of POUR Bar Services, your drink will still taste phenomenal. Another common characteristic of liqueurs is their “syrupy” consistency. Liqueurs are often much thicker and more viscous than liquors. Liqueurs have a wide range of flavors, from coffee to almond to orange, such as the widely known Grand Marnier and Amaretto. There are also cream liqueurs, like Baileys Irish Cream. These few liqueurs are used by professional bartender services Raleigh to make classic cocktails such as a Sidecar and a Mai Tai

Using in Cocktails

Liquors are the backbone of every cocktail. In many cases, you will only see one or two liquors used in crafting a cocktail, because they make up a relatively large proportion of the overall drink. When mixing drinks, the affordable bartenders Raleigh at POUR Bar Services say that the more liquor mixed into a beverage, the more “hot” or alcoholic the drink will taste. This is where liqueur comes into play. Without liqueur, many of the more widely popular cocktails would not be what they are! They are the ingredients that usually make the drink extra special, and gives it the added flavor that keeps bar-goers coming back for more. 

Hopefully, through this liquor vs liqueur guide, Raleigh’s best bartending services have taught you how to differentiate the two cocktail components. Cocktails are typically sipped on at events, family gatherings, and friendly hangouts. To ensure safe and enjoyable consumption at these events, POUR Bar Services is here to help! 

POUR Bar Services 

No matter the extent of the event you are holding, POUR Bar Services is prepared to set the BAR high by going above and beyond in making the best custom cocktails, a great customer experience, and a time to be remembered. For more information, to book a service, or to speak with one of our experienced POUR staff members contact us today! Cheers!