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What’s the Difference Between Liquor and Liqueur? 

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As with many drinks terms and names, it can get a bit confusing when determining the difference between liquor vs. liqueur. While they may sound similar, there are important differences to know when opening a bottle.

So, we broke down the important distinctions between liquor vs. liqueur terms, plus everything else you should know about this expansive category of spirits.

What’s the Difference Between Liquor vs. Liqueur?

In the same way that Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne, all liqueur is liquor, but not all liquor is a liqueur.

The difference between liquor vs. liqueur can understandably get confusing, especially because the words are so similar. Liquors (pronounced li-kr) areunsweetened spirits whose flavors are determined solely by their base ingredients during the distillation and aging process,” according to The Gourmet’s Guide to Cooking with Liquor and Spirits. These are classic ingredients you’d stock your bar cart with and mix up in a basic cocktail, like whiskey and gin.