The word liqueur comes from the Latin word liquifacere which means ′to dissolve′ or ′melt′. Liqueurs are sweet and aromatic spirits, usually made using fruits, herbs, spices, flowers, seeds, roots, plants, bark or cream. Historically, liquors are derived from medicinal herbs, often they were made by Chartreuse or Bénédictine monks. France and Italy shared the production of liqueurs, but in the 19th Century other countries began developing their own varieties. Holland, Germany, and Denmark founded great liqueur houses. Scotland, Ireland and England began using their own domestic spirits with locally grown fruits and herbs.

Liqueurs produced today in Europe have a relatively high sugar content (at least 100 grams per liter). The alcohol content is usually 15 to 40 %, but in some cases the alcohol content can be higher or lower. Many liqueurs that are made today kept they′r recipes  secret, and the most complicated recipes contain more than one hundred different ingredients.