Liqueurs offer a cocktail of possibilities

Liqueurs have become an integral part of the ever-evolving Irish cocktail culture. The fourth-largest-selling spirit after vodka, whisky and gin here, our Industry Report looks at the liqueur market through the lens of the cocktail.

Liqueurs have often been overlooked as part of the spirits category. But with sales of 203,000 cases here last year, liqueurs enjoyed fourth place status after vodka on 791,000 cases, Irish whiskey on 590,000 cases and Gin on 340,000 cases according to IWSR figures.

The IWSR breaks Irish cream liqueurs out at 90,000 cases from the liqueur category.

Across the water in the UK sales of liqueurs hit their highest-ever level last year with some 3.6 million cases sold as consumers there splashed out £1.3 billion to help them experiment with new cocktails and expand their drinks repertoire.

This 4% rise in sales last year followed a “trendsetting 2018” according to the Wine & Spirits Trade Association which stated that some 1.5 million cases of cream liqueur were sold there in 2019 with the on-trade responsible for selling over 833,000 cases of non-cream liqueurs.

Liqueurs and cocktails also topped the list of groceries that witnessed the biggest increase in volumes purchased over the past 25 years in the UK according to a YouGov poll last September there.

Since 1993 the purchase of liqueurs and cocktails there has risen by 300% with the change in consumer trends, rising from two units per week to nine in 2018.

Here, pubs continue to expand their cocktail menus and bartenders continue to innovate and create new cocktails using liqueurs.

And why not? After all, liqueurs help make colourful cocktails, perfect for Instagramming.


Irish cream liqueurs

“Irish cream liqueur continues to sell and grow, driven by innovation and creativity in the sector,” said the Head of ibec’s Drinks Ireland|Spirits Vincent McGovern last year, “The product is a firm favourite during the Christmas period which we expect to see again this year. New flavours and ways in which to enjoy Irish cream liqueur have ensured that consumers are turning to the product throughout the year on different occasions, proving it’s not just a spirit for the Festive period and helping it on its road to growth. There are now numerous producers and brand owners located across Ireland creating an array of different Irish cream liqueur drinks.”


Bols Liqueurs – a global relaunch with natural botanicals

Lucas Bols has announced the global relaunch of Bols Liqueurs, the world’s number one liqueur range. All its recipes are now crafted with natural botanicals to enrich their flavour and quality in creating unique-tasting cocktails.

Research confirms that 70% of consumers prefer cocktails made with the new Bols Liqueurs over competitive brands.

These concepts encourage bartenders and consumers to use Bols Liqueurs as the main base for cocktails, creating drinks with less alcohol, less calories and a natural taste.

This fits perfectly with the consumer preferences of today to drink less but better. Bols Liqueurs with natural botanicals became available globally earlier this year.

To boost the relaunch, new trend-setting drink concepts have been introduced via a revolutionary cocktail gallery, scannable on the bottle.

Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam, Bols is the first cocktail brand to launch a QR code on the bottle to make all these drinks and other cocktail recipes easily accessible. Scan it to enter the Bols Cocktail Gallery.

This online portal contains cocktail tutorials which vary from easy-to-make low alcohol mixes to professional complex cocktails. The bottle has been updated with a new look. The new logo on the label is inspired by the Amsterdam calligraphy and centuries-old Bols logos, also aligning the look and feel with the Bols Genever range.

The world’s first cocktail brand in 1575 now has a footprint in over 110 countries, playing a leading role in the development of the global cocktail market.

The Bols range of over 40 flavours has always been known for its real fruit, herbal and spice flavours. This put Bols in the world’s  Top 10 most trending and best-sold liqueur brands.

“We want to inspire bartenders and consumers to create great cocktails,” says Sandie van Doorne, Creative & Communications Director at Lucas Bols, “Consumers around the world are increasingly conscious of their alcohol consumption and health. With our new Bols Liqueurs crafted with natural botanicals, we offer them a great base for high quality & tasteful cocktails which contain less alcohol and less calories.”



Disaronno is an Amaretto made in Saronno, Italy, where the original ‘secret formula’ remains unchanged since 1525. Amber in colour with an infusion of Apricot kernel oil with absolute alcohol, burnt sugar and the pure essence of 17 selected herbs and fruits, Disaronno is sold in an oblong glass decanter designed by a craftsman from Murano. It doesn’t contain any Almonds or other nuts and is popularly served on the rocks, enjoying true style status as the world’s favourite Italian liqueur.

With over 100 perfect mixes, the brand and fan base continue to grow. Disaronno Sour, one of the favourites at the moment, is a refreshing drink blending the distinctive notes of Disaronno with the scent of freshly-squeezed Lemons.

It’s easy to make: 50ml Disaronno, 25ml fresh Lemon juice, 5ml Sugar Syrup and egg-white.

Shake all ingredients with ice and serve with garnish of Lemon for a beautiful cocktail.

The latest addition to the Disaronno Family is Disaronno Velvet. With a refreshingly smooth texture this cream liqueur is best enjoyed over ice. Velvet has lower ABV than the classic Disaronno at 17%.

It masterfully and harmoniously mixes the distinctive imprint of Disaronno Originale to leave its mark with velvety notes. The iconic bottle shape with the ‘square cap’ also has a new image with a very elegant, contemporary total white look.

If you fancy a Velvet cocktail try a twist on a Martini – the Velvet White Espresso Martini.

Ingredients: 50ml Disaronno Velvet, 25ml Tia Maria, 25ml Vodka.

Garnish: Chocolate flakes or coffee beans.

Shake and strain ingredients over ice.

For more Disaronno cocktail ideas check out

Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.


Tia Maria’s aesthetic makeover

Tia Maria dates back to the mid-17th Century when a beautiful young Spanish aristocrat fled the turmoil that colonial war brought to the island of Jamaica. Her maid saved one family treasure, a small jewellery box with black pearl earrings and an ancient manuscript with the recipe for a mysterious liqueur. The recipe was named after the courageous woman Tia Maria and it lay dormant for many years before being rediscovered in the 1940s by Dr Kenneth Leigh Evans who began to produce and market it.

A sweet liqueur with a strong coffee character and a complex aromatic structure Tia Maria has been a favourite for coffee cocktail lovers the world over and was used in the very first Espresso Martini recipe over 40 years ago.

Tia Maria has three significant elements:

Tia Maria Coffee provides the distinctive roasted, full-bodied rich taste.

Madagascar Vanilla provides a pronounced but delicate fragrant back note.

Jamaican Rum gives body, depth and structure.

Tia Maria has had an aesthetic makeover this year starting from the bottle. The harmonious new shape with soft clean lines forms a profile making a perfect match with the new graphic label where bold red strokes capture the brand’s dynamic energy.

Ever true to its message — ‘One of a Kind’ — Tia Maria also highlights its uniqueness through the label. Same great taste – new look!

The Espresso Martini is just one of many cocktails that can be made using Tia Maria. Other favourites include the Tia Mint Americano, the Tia Iced Popcorn Frappe or the Tia Cappuccino.

Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam Tia Maria is made using cold brew coffee with Jamaican coffee beans from the blue mountains of Jamaica. It can also be enjoyed over ice with tonic water and a slice of citrus (Lemon or Grapefruit).

The Jaffacake – a 50:50 split of Tia Maria and Cointreau creates a one of-a-kind combined shot.

Check out for more cocktail inspiration.


Cointreau – the original triple sec

Spirit lovers, both past and present, recognise Cointreau as a core building block in premium cocktail creation. Cointreau, the cornerstone of more than 350 internationally-renowned cocktails such as the Margarita, Sidecar and Cosmopolitan, enhances your cocktails with its perfect balance. Check out for a selection of cocktail recipes.

A masterpiece crafted through the unique distillation of all-natural sweet and bitter Orange peels results in a crystal-clear liqueur that strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and freshness. The finest Orange peels have been selected by Master Distiller Carole Quinton for over 30 years to create the definitive Orange liqueur.

Cointreau Blood Orange, a line extension to Cointreau, marks a bold variation of the recipe. It makes use of blood Oranges from Corsica along with the peels of the sweet and bitter Orange found in traditional Cointreau. The blood Oranges are harvested when the peels are packed with the highest concentration of oils, resulting in rich expressive citrus notes all the way through. The perfect balance between sweet, bitter and blood Orange peels, Cointreau Blood Orange is like tasting a ripe fruit, a new taste experience, both tangy and rich in aromas. Cointreau is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.



St-Germain, an all-natural, artisanal French liqueur, has notes of tropical fruits, grapefruit and pear with a hint of honeysuckle.

The world’s first hand-crafted liqueur is made from 100% fresh hand-selected elderflower blossoms picked once a year during a four- to six-week period in late Spring when at their peak level of flavour and aroma.

Once picked the flowers are swiftly macerated with an eau de vie and pure cane sugar to maximise freshness and enhance the fruit-driven character of the elderflower. A low sugar content, roughly half that of other liqueurs, provides St-Germain with a balance of subtle yet complex flavours.

Extremely versatile, St-Germain adds character to many cocktails and mixes well with a variety of base spirits including tequila, gin, vodka, whiskey, Scotch, rum, pisco, wine and especially Champagne.

The perfect St-Germain Cocktail

The perfect apéritif calls for two parts Brut Champagne, 1½ parts St‑Germain, two parts sparkling water and a Lemon twist.

Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. Add Champagne first, then St-Germain, then Club Soda.

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