Liquor, Liqueur, & Liquor Stores

Liquor stores are retail outlets that distribute distilled beverage, liquor or spirit that contain at least 35% alcohol by volume. Items from liquor stores are regulated and are not sold to minors. Popular examples include brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whisky to name a few. Liqueur, on the other hand, is alcoholic beverage with a sweet taste with flavors of fruits, herbs, spices, plants and cream, among others. Beer and wine do not belong to either categories of liquor and liqueur because they are un-distilled fermented beverages. However, they are still sold at liquor stores.

Liquor stores can be traced back through the 12th and 19th centuries when most liquor drinks were developed. However, it was in mid-17th century that liquor was introduced to the United States by the English settlers. Rum was the first recorded liquor in U.S. history, described in early times as made from distilled sugar canes and produced a "hot, hellish and terrible tasting" drink. Strong liquors such as rum, strong water, and brandy, among many others, were prohibited four years short of a decade after liquor was first brought into the United States. Liqueurs, on the other hand, are a different story. Liqueur’s origin dates back to the 13th century in Italy and evolved from herbal medicines of ancient times. It was the monks during this time that first prepared liqueur. It was called Chartreuse or Benedictine.

Subsequently, other kinds of liquor and liqueur were developed and sold. However, liquor stores, where they were sold along with other alcoholic beverages, needed a license to be able to sell on licensed premises whether retail or wholesale. The early 20th century in the United States saw the prohibition of selling and importing liquor outside of Canada and the government taking hold of its distribution. This led to smuggling and bootlegging of liquor for most of the 1920s and 1930s. This was also the time that mobsters made business with illegal transactions of liquor that led to bloodshed. Members of the liquor control board even used guns to enforce liquor control. Things gradually changed after World War II when restrictions and control on liquor were amended. Eventually licenses were given to most liquor stores, clubs, hotels, canteens, brewers, and distilleries to distribute liquor.

At present, liquor and liqueurs are sold and served in different ways – as is, over ice, with coffee, with mixed cream or cocktails and also used in cooking. These are available in many liquor stores but can also be purchased from most groceries and supermarkets which are licensed to sell them as well. These include vodka, gin, gum, whisky, bourbon, absinthe, chocolate liqueurs, coffee liqueurs, cream liqueurs, fruit liqueurs, berry liqueurs and whisky liqueurs, among many others. Terms used when ordering liquor include:

*On the rocks – liquor is poured over ice
*Straight up – unmixed and chilled liquor served in a stemmed glass
*Straight – shaken or stirred with ice but served without the ice
*Neat – liquor drank as is and not even chilled
*With tonic water, cola or soda
*With water
*Cocktails – mixture of liquor, liqueur and other ingredients

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