licorice candys

Which is better? Licorice or Liquorice?

When it comes to the spelling of Licorice, there is a big difference between Americans and Brits. While the Brits spell it Liquorice, the Americans spell it Licorice. But what most people don’t know is that there is a big difference in how these two words are pronounced.

The American pronunciation for Liquorice is “LICK-uh-rocee” while the British pronunciation is “LEEK-oh-ricee”. This is important because if you want to pronounce the word correctly, you need to make sure that your tongue is positioned at the back of your mouth when pronouncing the word. If you do not have the correct positioning of your tongue, then you will end up with an incorrect pronunciation.

This has always been a bit of a source of contention between the two countries, as each believes that their way of pronouncing it is the right way. But no matter which way you say it, there’s no denying that Licorice is a delicious treat!

And if physiological technical issues are anything to go by, taste and preferences are also key elements in this debate about Liquorice vs Licorice.

Licorice vs Liquorice

The word came into English not long after the Norman Conquest, from Old French licoresse. The French had got it from late Latin liquiritia, from Greek glukurrhiza, from glukus ‘sweet’ + rhiza ‘root’.

The origin of -qu-in the Latinizing trends of Renaissance! It’s got a “-qu” in Latin so it must have a “-qu” in English! Liquorice actually comes from the Latin word for liquorice, which is licoria. However, the “-qu-” ending was added later because people were confused between the two words.

Licorice. n.s. [γλυκύῤῥιζα; liquoricia, Italian; glycyrrhzza, Latin.] A root of sweet taste.

Liquorice hath a papilionaceous flower; the pointal which arises from the empalement becomes a short pod, containing several kidney-shaped seeds; the leaves are placed by parts joined to the mid-rib, and are terminated by an odd lobe.


By this time, liquorice had definitely replaced licorice as Britain’s far more popular version. However, in America, both spellings were used interchangeably until around 1900, when licorice began its steady rise to dominance. Today, licorice is the only accepted variant in the US.


What Is Licorice?

It’s the way the other half of the world spell LIQUORICE.

When I was younger, I always went to the liquor store with my dad to buy some black licorice. We would always get the same type because that’s the only kind my dad liked. He would always tell me that it was a UK thing and that the American spelling was wrong. He said that the UK spelling made the licorice taste better. I never really believed him, but I always thought it was funny that there were two spellings of the same word.

Even though I never believed him, I decided to try the UK spelling myself. And you know what? He was right! The UK spelling does make the licorice taste better. Of course, it’s not as sweet as other types of candy, but it’s definitely more flavorful than Licorice.

I think that’s why we at Saint Valentines love the English version of Liquorice. It just has a more distinct flavor than other types of licorice. And who doesn’t love a good licorice?

What is Liquorice?

licorice root and plant drawing natural liquorice roots

Liquorice is a herbaceous perennial plant native to Europe and Asia. It has been introduced into North America, where it was first cultivated in the early 19th century for its sweet flavour. Liquorice is a flavouring agent in foods such as candy, soft drinks, ice cream, baked goods, chewing gum, toothpaste, and medicinal products.

The root of liquorice contains glycyrrhizin (GL), which is responsible for the sweet taste of liquorice. Glycyrrhizin is also present in liquorice plants grown in other parts of the world but not in liquorice plants from China or Japan. The GL content of liquorice roots varies between 0.5% and 1.0%, depending on the variety.

In addition to being sweet, liquorice is also mildly laxative. This property is due to the presence of glycyrrhetinic acid, which is similar to estrogen. 

Licorice or Liquorice

Let’s go with our cousins across the pond and call liquorice for what it is licorice. Over the years, I have met Americans who instinctively go the known facts of what liquorice is, Twizzlers. Red aniseed flavoured candies. They expect it coloured and not at all just liquorices’.

Choosing Licorice Treats

If you’re looking for high-quality candy, there are three factors to keep in mind when buying them:

As we have mentioned earlier, some liquorice candy manufacturers add aniseed oil instead of flavouring the sweets with actual licorice root.

Ingredients List

To get real liquorice candy, look at the ingredients label to ensure that real (not artificial) licorice extract is added to the recipe.

It is also important to look for treats that don’t contain any artificial flavours, too much added sugar, and GMO ingredients. If you’re trying to limit your calorie consumption, it’s also helpful to know how many calories there are per piece of licorice and if it’s fat-free or not (if it contains trans fats).


Some people like the flavour of licorice but can’t enjoy it because of its texture. For this reason, choosing liquorice candies with a pleasantly chewy texture is important.

It is easy to feel the textures of different kinds of licorice when shopping for them at brick-and-mortar shops. However, if you’re looking for information about the textures of different types of licorice online, you can check customer feedback to learn more about the textures of the products they’ve purchased.

If you want softer candy, go for something marketed specifically as licorice candies because they usually have a softer texture than regular hard candies.


There are different kinds of liquorice candy available. Some, apart from the sweetness of the extracts, are enriched with other flavours too.

If you’re tired of plain black liquorices, then go for black liquorices with added flavourings of refreshing menthols, delicious caramels, etc.

Do you have a preferred way of spelling or pronouncing Licorice? Let us know in the comments below!

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