I’ve written before about the fact that I believe that cocktail recipes are just a guideline that helps you create a tasty drink, but that depending on the exact products you are using, they will most likely need to be adjusted to find the right balance. When it comes to this premise, liqueurs stand out as being one of the most variable of all cocktail ingredients. This is partly down to the rules governing how liqueurs are made but is also strongly influenced by the production methods used to make them.
As a cocktail ingredient, liqueurs add three things to a drink: sweetness, alcohol and flavour and as such need to be given special consideration. Getting the balance right is an art form so to simply say that a drink calls for 15ml of crème de peche or poire is sometimes too basic. Some are sweeter than others; one may have a greater intensity of ripe fruit flavour, whereas another may be sharper with an almost citrus edge. To use liqueurs well you have to have tasted them and have an understanding of their unique attributes.