Classic Mixology: Cocktail & Mixed Drink Recipes

orange cordial

Also Known As:  orange liqueur What it is:  Liqueur

A cordial is any invigorating and stimulating preparation. The term derives from obsolete medicinal usage, as various beverages were concocted which were believed to be beneficial to one's health, especially for the heart (cordialis in Latin).

Most cordials were of European origin, first produced in Italian apothecaries during the Renaissance. It is from this origin that cordials are frequently referred to in French as Liqueurs d’ltalie, it is also from this that we have liqueurs. By the 1700's cordials were being imbided for their intoxicating effects and medicinal virtues, and were fast becoming recreational drinks, eventually evolving into liqueurs.

Cordials were used to renew the natural heat, recreate and revive the spirits, and free the whole body from the malignity of diseases. Many cordials were also considered aphrodisiacs, a view which encouraged their consumption in a social as opposed to a medical context. Other early varieties of alcoholic cordials were flavored with spices and herbal ingredients which were thought to settle the stomach after excessive eating, leading to the collective name of ‘surfeit waters’.  Precious ingredients like gold, pearls and coral were sometimes added. These were believed to revive the spirit and to preclude disease.

Substitution:  Curaçao Further reading: