A liqueur is an alcoholic drink flavored variously by fruits, herbs, spices, flowers, nuts or cream combined with distilled spirits. Often served with or after dessert, they are typically heavily sweetened and un-aged beyond a resting period during production, when necessary, for their flavors to mingle.
Liqueurs are historical descendants of herbal medicines. They were made in Italy as early as the 13th century, often prepared by monks, (as in Chartreuse). Today they are produced the world over, commonly served straight, over ice, with coffee, in cocktails, and used in cooking.