Advocaat is a traditional liqueur from Holland made from egg yolks, brandy, sugar and vanilla. Warninks Advocaat has been made in Holland since 1616 and was one of the original producers of advocaat. Warninks Advocaat is full bodied and sweet with a custard-like consistency and creamy texture with aromas of vanilla. It is a classic brand that is enjoyed in many cocktails as well as neat or on the rocks.

Amarula Cream
Amarula Cream originates from South Africa where the marula fruit grows wild on the Savannah. The marula tree produces an abundant crop of pale yellow egg shaped fruit and plays a unique role in tribal legend. It is also known as 'The Marriage Tree' - to this day tribal weddings take place beneath its branches and the fruit is believed to have aphrodisiac properties as well as featuring in African fertility rites. The marula fruit attracts many animals - especially elephants. To produce Amarula Cream Liqueur, the marula fruit is gathered and the flesh pulped, sweetened and fermented. The resulting 'marula spirit' is then matured in oak casks for 3 years. The spirit is then blended with fresh cream to create a smooth distinctive cream liqueur.

Angostura Bitters
Angostura is made in Trinidad and Tobago from plant and herb extracts, which are bitter in their natural state, distilled in natural alcohol. Angostura was originally formulated to be used as a tonic to improve the appetite and digestion. It is still used for this purpose by the Trinidadians (they swear by hot water and a few dashes of Angostura for an upset stomach), but it is more commonly used as a flavour enhancer, not only in drinks, but also in cooking. It is bright burgundy in colour, with a distinct herby flavour.

Apricot Brandy
To produce Apricot Brandy, top quality ripe apricots are sliced and macerated in pure neutral alcohol to extract their flavour and colour. Natural herb essences, brandy and sugar are added to intensify the flavours, creating a drink that is intensely fruity, with a sort of butterscotch sweetness.

Bénédictine is a unique liqueur first created in 1510 as a medicinal elixir by Dom Bernardo Vincelli - a Bénédictine monk at the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy, France. During the French Revolution the recipe was lost but in 1863 a local wine merchant called Alexandre Le Grand found the recipe and began to produce it commercially. In homage to the creator of the liqueur - he named it Bénédictine. Made from 27 different herbs and spices such as vanilla, aloe, thyme, nutmeg and cloves, the recipe for Bénédictine remains a closely guarded secret to this day.

Blue Curaçao
Curaçao liqueurs are made from dried peel of the small bitter Curaçao orange, named after the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean. Curaçao liqueurs can be either clear, blue or orange. The colours are purely decorative, but the flavour is more or less the same, of bitter orange.

Bourbon is American whiskey which is made from at least 51% corn. It is most commonly made in the southern states of the USA, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee. All Bourbon is aged for at least 2 years in new white oak barrels which have been burnt on the insides. This is known as ‘charring’, and it gives the whiskey its characteristic flavours of caramel and vanilla.

Campari is a bright red drink, traditionally drunk as an aperitif. It is made using 68 different herbs and spices, and the bitter peel of citrus fruits. It has an intensely bitter-sweet flavour.

Only sparkling wine made in the region of Champagne in France can be called Champagne. The grapes are harvested and yeast is added to the grape juice to induce fermentation. Sugar and yeast are then added to the wine a second time before bottling, which allows a second fermentation to occur in the bottle. It is this second fermentation which produces the characteristic bubbles, and the remaining yeast gives Champagne its unique bready flavour.

Cranberry liqueur
De Kuyper Cranberry liqueur is made from the extract and juice from the original fruit which are then macerated with pure neutral spirit. This ensures that the liqueur bursts with the fresh flavour of cranberries.

Cherry Brandy
Cherry Brandy, similar to Apricot Brandy, is made using ripe cherries, which are sliced and macerated in pure neutral spirit, and then flavoured with spices such as cinnamon and cloves. De Kuyper Cherry Brandy also uses the cherry kernels within the pip which gives it a distinctly almond like flavour.

Crème De Bananes
The French term ‘Crème de ...’ refers to one particular flavour which predominates in the liqueur, not that it contains cream. Crème De Bananes is made using fresh bananas, macerated in pure alcohol, and then flavoured with natural herb essences, brandy and sugar.

Crème De Cassis
Crème De Cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur made using fresh blackcurrants macerated in pure distilled alcohol, and then flavoured with natural herb essences and sugar.

Crème De Menthe
Made using fresh mint leaves and pure alcohol, mixed with sugar and natural flavour enhancers, Crème De Menthe has a fresh peppermint flavour, and a rich green colour.

Disaronno is an amaretto liqueur, which contrary to popular opinion is not made from almonds, but from pure distilled alcohol, burnt sugar and herbs and fruits soaked in apricot kernel oil (the fruit found within the seed). The flavour of Disaronno is reminiscent of marzipan, Bakewell, tart, and it is remarkably fruity, and sweet.

Galliano is a vibrant yellow liqueur from Italy, made from infusing over 30 herbs and spices (including star anise, lavender, ginger and vanilla) in pure alcohol. The flavour is of spices liquorice and honey.

Essentially gin is distilled grain alcohol flavoured with different herbs and spices known as botanicals. The main flavour ingredient in gin is juniper berries, which gives it its distinctive dry taste. Other botanicals used in gin production are coriander seeds, angelica root, orange and lemon peel and liquorice.

Grenadine is made using fresh pomegranate juice and sugar to create a sweet, fruit flavoured syrup. In-the-spirit recommends De Kuyper Grenadine which is used as a flavour and colour enhancer in cocktails such as the Tequila Sunrise. It is also suitable for use in non-alcoholic drinks. It is a deep red colour with a fruity and syrupy taste with the flavour of summer fruits. De Kuyper Grenadine is non-alcoholic.

Kahlua is a coffee liqueur, which originated in Mexico. It is produced by blending roasted Arabica coffee beans with other ingredients and a white cane sugar spirit base.

Kirsch is a clear liqueur distilled from cherry kernels within the fruit pip.

Noilly Prat Dry
This original French dry vermouth was first created by herbalist Joseph Noilly in 1813. From indigenous grape varieties of the Languedoc region in the South of France called Picpoul de Pinet and Clairette, he created wines which are then aged separately for up to a year before being transferred to smaller oak casks. The smaller oak casks are then taken outside to age for a full 12 months. After the open-air ageing the wines become dry, full bodied and amber in colour with a distinctive bouquet.
Following their year in the open air, the casks are taken inside again to rest in the cellars for several more months. Here the two wines are blended together and a 'mistelle' plus tiny amounts of lemon and raspberry fruit spirits are added. The next step is a closely guarded secret. A blend of 20 different herbs and spices are added. Stirred by hand every day for 3 weeks - the resulting combination is allowed to rest for a further 6 weeks before being bottled.
In 1855, Joseph Noilly’s son Louis went into partnership with his son-in-law Claudius Prat to form the company that became known as Noilly Prat and this quintessential French vermouth began its journey to international acclaim.

Noilly Prat Sweet
Made with the same painstaking method as the original Noilly Prat Dry vermouth, the Noilly Prat Sweet (or red) style has a total of 30 different herbs and spices added to it which produce its deep red hues. Although the full list of herbs and spices are a closely guarded secret, we can reveal that these include saffron, cloves, cinnamon and caramel which contribute to its full and rich flavour and colour.

Orange Curaçao
Curaçaos are made from dried peel of the small bitter Curaçao orange, named after the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean. Curaçao liqueurs can be either clear, blue or orange. The colours are purely decorative, but the flavour is more or less the same, of bitter orange.

Peach Schnapps
Archers is probably the most popular Peach Schnapps on the UK market. It has a syrupy palate with a real peachey freshness. Traditional European Schnapps are grain or potato based spirits, generally quite high in alcohol content, which are designed to be drunk quickly, as a shot from chilled glasses.

Raspberry Vodka
Flavoured vodkas are created by soaking the fruit in the vodka for a period of time so that the natural flavours are drawn out into the alcohol. The liquid is then drained off and filtered to remove impurities.

Rum can be made from fresh sugar cane juice, cane syrup or molasses. The sugar is mixed with water and yeast to make a wine-like liquid, which is then distilled to produce the spirit. It is then aged in oak barrels, which gives dark rum some of it’s colour. Caramel is then added to intensify the colour.

Contrary to popular belief, Tequila is not made from alcohol derived from the cactus plant, but from the agave plant (pronounced ‘Uh-Gah-Vee’), which is closely related to the yucca and the amaryllis. The sweet sap from the agave is fermented and then distilled twice in copper pot stills to retain the flavour of the original liquid. Tequila is traditionally drunk either as a shooter, with lime and salt.

Triple Sec
Triple Sec is similar to Blue and Orange Curaçao in that it is made from oranges from the island of Curaçao. Triple Sec (meaning Triple Dry) is distilled three times, creating a drier tasting liqueur, but still with the juicy orange flavour.

The history of vermouth dates back to medieval times when the goodness of herbs was preserved by steeping them in wine - often prepared by monasteries for medicinal purposes. Vermouth takes its name for the German word 'Wermut' which means wormwood - an essential ingredient.
Each company will have its own recipe for each of the vermouth styles made. Recipes can include spices and fruits plus herbs - usually these are macerated in the wine which is then sweetened and fortified. The styles of vermouth most often referred to are Dry, Extra Dry, Bianco and Rosso and well known brands include Martini & Rossi and Cinzano as well as Noilly Prat - known as the original French Dry.

Vodka is a clear spirit that can be produced from anything containing starch or sugar including potatoes, molasses and grain. Water is also an important ingredient in the production of vodka, and the purity of the water can affect the final flavour. Many vodkas are filtered through charcoal to purify the spirit and remove impurities which can still remain after distillation. Russia and Poland are credited with being the first producers of Vodka, but more recently, Sweden, Finland and France have begun distilling high quality vodkas.

The difference between Whisky and Whiskey is that the first is made on the UK mainland - generally in Scotland - and the second is imported, mainly from Ireland or America. Although, the general principle of production is the same, the two types are distinctly different, from the type of grain used, to the number of times the spirit is distilled. The main ingredients of Whisk(e)y are grain, water and yeast. The grain is fermented and then distilled before being put into casks for the maturation period. Blended whisky is made using a mixture of grain and malted barley, whereas Malt whisky is made using only malted Barley, giving it a more complex flavour.

Article stolen from Mike Colsten's website