The Different Types of Italian Liqueurs

There are nearly 40 Italian liqueurs to choose from, each of them with their characteristic color, flavor, and aroma. To be able to distinguish each type of Italian liqueur, let’s break down the basics.

Alchermes is a dark-colored liqueur usually made with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, sugar, coriander, maces, orange zest, anise flowers, vanilla, and herbs.

Amaretto is primarily a sweet liqueur flavored with bitter almonds and is different from amaro liqueur.

Amaro is known for its aroma which may consist of one of a combination of herbs, flowers, spices, barks, roots, and leaves. Most amaro have syrupy, sweet, bitter, and dry taste depending on the infusion.

Anisette, also called anis, is an anise-flavored drink made with anise and licorice root.

Aperol is classified as an aperitif and is made with gentian, bitter orange, and rhubarb.

Aurum is a sweet liqueur made from brandy and citrus fruits.

Braulio is a type of amaro digestif that is made with roots, medicinal fruits, herbs and berries. Braulio is aged for two to three years before bottling.

Campari is a bittersweet variety of vermouth.

Centerbe has a green-colored liquid and is classified as a digestif. It is made from several medicinal herbs.

Cynar is a type of amaro which is made with 13 plants and herbs. Its name comes from one of its ingredients, artichoke.

Fernet is a type of amaro that is flavored with at least 40 spices and herbs, primarily saffron. It is classified as a digestif.

Frangelico is a hazelnut-flavored liqueur, which sometimes includes vanilla and cocoa.

Galliano is an anise-flavored liqueur primarily made from vanilla, licorice, anise, cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, juniper, lavender, musk yarrow, and other herbs.

Lemon liqueur are beverages made from a combination of liquor, sugar, and lemons.

Limoncello is lemon liqueur made from alcohol, water, and lemon zest. It is classified as a digestif.

Maraschino is cherry liqueur made from marasca cherries from which its name was derived.

Mirto is a bitter liqueur made from berries and myrtle plant leaves.

Nespolino is made from loquat fruit seeds, which produce a bitter taste.

Nocello, or nocino, is a walnut- or hazelnut-flavored liqueur with vanilla tones.

Passione nera has a dark purple color and is nearly similar to sambuca in flavor, but it also has hints of coriander and cardamom.

Ramazzotti is classified as a digestif and has a bitter taste.

Rosolio Is made with rose petals or rose essence, alcohol, sugar, and water.

Sambuca is an anise-flavored liqueur made from sugar, herbs, spices, witch elder bush, and licorice.

Sassolino is a star anise-flavored liqueur that was first commercialized in 1804.

Strega has a characteristic yellow color and is known for its sweet anise flavor. It is made up of sugar, herbs, and safran.

Tuaca has a beautiful amber color and sweet taste that hints of oranges and vanilla. Tuaca is a type of flavored brandy.

Vespetro is made with medicinal plants and spices. It is famous for its sweet anise flavor.

Zucca is classified as an aperitif and is made primarily with rhubarb.