“Liqueurs are an enormous category—the fourth-largest spirits category by volume in America,” says co-founder of family-owned Copper & Kings American Brandy Company, Joe Heron.
“This is the gorilla sitting quietly in the corner of the room. The gorilla is waking up and stretching.”
Heron believes the liqueurs category is changing mainly due to becoming more artisanal and more crafted, with creative flavors and ingredients moving past mass-produced and cloyingly sweet cordials. Mostly its because, the category has the attention, excitement, and evangelism of great bartenders and some of the most adventurous drinkers.
According to Heron, the category has been moribund, but now there’s more global innovation building upon ingredients with crafted credentials using small batch production. Complexity, versatility, and imagination are more marketable at the high-end than cheap and syrupy.
Destillaré liqueurs differentiate themselves as standard 90-proof spirits, based on a double distilled, pure copper pot-distilled brand base, non-chill filtered and sweetened with pure honey, not sugar. Lightly viscous not sticky, sweet but not syrupy, intensely flavored and aromatic with the ability to work as either an adjunct or the leading actor base spirit.
“Bartenders are our focus,” says Heron. “They make magic in a glass and have thirsty imaginations. There are no limitations to magic. Bartenders are more inventive, inspired, and demanding than ever before. They’re looking for ways they can excite their guests and build cocktails that flex their creative muscles.
We focus on providing bartenders with tools to make exceptional libations, designed to be powerful enough to act as both a base spirit and an intense cocktail adjunct.”
With bartenders in mind, Copper & Kings recently released two pure copper pot-distilled liqueurs: Destillaré Café, an intense coffee liqueur built with a robust cold-brew natural coffee foundation and Destillaré Chocolat, an intense chocolate liqueur using cocoa nibs steeped in brandy. They join an expanding Destillaré line-up that already includes Orange Curaçao and Pomegranate liqueurs.
“Gastronomically, we live in the most inventive food and beverage age ever. This in tandem with the resurrection of modern classic cocktails like the Espresso Martini, the White Russian, and the Cosmopolitan, now executed with flair and excellence in terms of quality, has expanded the cocktail horizon dramatically, opening the door for spirits that enable this creative palate,” explains Heron. “Also, the high-end gin boom resulted in an elevated interest in botanicals and ingredients in general. The new cordials and liqueurs era also flies on those wings. These spirits have been cocktail glue for decades. It’s what they are designed to do but, their versatility allows them to increasingly be served as a base spirit, used for flavor intensity, especially the higher-proofs. Liqueurs also add depth and complexity to spritzes, or simply as spritzes themselves.
“Destillaré’s mission is to provide bartenders with the tools to build the most inventive cocktails that they possibly can,” says Heron.
Check out Copper & Kings liqueurs collection.
Destillaré Orange Curaçao
Classic, dry orange curaçao with an apple brandy base, warm orange tonality, and an archetypal dry orange mouthfeel typical of bitter orange peels. Perfect in Sidecars or over rocks.
Bright, vivid, red fruit cordial has earthy, authentic pomegranate aromatics with strawberry and blackberry notes. Added in the vapor basket are sweet orange peels and lavender with a final flash maceration of additional botanicals for color and aroma. Try the Rosalita Margarita riff with Destillaré spicy Margarita salt.
A very balanced, very smooth, highly aromatic coffee liqueur with powerful barista aromatics. Smooth viscosity without being syrupy and sticky. Arabica coffee beans are added to aged brandy in the barrel, together with extra Madagascan vanilla beans, cardamom pods, and additional coffee beans added and matured for 6 to 9 months. The spirit is then diluted to proof using cold brew coffee instead of water.
Using a similar process to Café with Caribbean cocoa nibs added to aged brandy in the barrel and matured for 6 to 9 months, and then diluted with a custom steeping of cocoa nibs in reverse osmosis filtered water.