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All About Orange Liqueurs


slkinsey
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Interesting info, Dave. That seems to mitigate in favor of Grand Marnier as a curaçao of choice for early recipes (again, with the understanding that we are already making a number of comprimises having to do with the nature of the other ingredients, the evolved modern palate, etc.).

My going-in assumption is that the slightly less old-fashioned column-distilled version would typically have been called for by name as Cointreau (or at least as triple sec). Does this seem reasonable? When do we start seeing Cointreau or triple sec specified in recipes instead of curaçao or its various spelling variants?

Edited by slkinsey (log)

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Interesting info, Dave.  That seems to mitigate in favor of Grand Marnier as a curaçao of choice for early recipes (again, with the understanding that we are already making a number of comprimises having to do with the nature of the other ingredients, the evolved modern palate, etc.).

My going-in assumption is that the slightly less old-fashioned column-distilled version would typically have been called for by name as Cointreau (or at least as triple sec).  Does this seem reasonable?  When do we start seeing Cointreau or triple sec specified in recipes instead of curaçao or its various spelling variants?

Cointreau made its big move in the 1920s. It did lots and lots of advertising and promotion (as did Grand Marnier).

I agree that nothing is ever exactly like it was. Hell, champagne in the early 19th century had 5 times the sugar that the sweetest version has today.

Over time, the column-distilled versions, being cheaper to make, flowed into both orange (i.e., colored by steeped orange peels) and white (i.e., colorless from distillation) categories. By Trader Vic's time, I'm sure most of the curacao available was column-distilled.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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But isn't the Jerry Thomas recipe an infused curacao based on pot-distilled spirit? Like, in other words, Grand Marnier?

Sure, his recipe calls for Scotch, but that's why it's "English curacao," in the same way there was "English brandy" (an ersatz version of the French original based on grain spirit and flavorings that didn't survive the 19th century) and "English gin" (an ersatz version of the Dutch original based on neutral spirit and flavorings that went on to rule the world).

Many of the Dutch curacaos were based on brandy. The Netherlands imported vast amounts of French wines and grape distillates for liqueur-making, just like they imported vast amounts of Hanseatic barley and rye for genever-making.

There are essentially two kinds of curacao: the old-fashioned one, based on pot distilled spirits that are then infused with orange and sweetened, and the slightly less old-fashioned one, based on column-distilled spirits that are redistilled with orange and then sweetened.

Both were certainly in use in the 19th century, and both certainly have their uses now. And those uses are not coterminous.

Fair enough.

Here's a question, though. In these books, you see all these recipes for ersatz versions of such and such. Or ways to stretch the actual products, in the case of whiskeys and brandies.

What do you think would be more likely to have been used in the 19th Century American bar, an actual imported Curacao or a forged one?

That is to say, would you have a more authentic 19th Century Curacao by soaking orange peels in pot distilled alcohol and diluting with strong syrup or by buying Grand Marnier?

And at what point is it worthwhile?

I know that an "authentic" Mai Tai is maybe with DeKuyper Curacao, Commercial Orgeat, and Rock Candy Syrup. The rum is, of course pretty much gone, sadly. But a much better Mai Tai is made with Bols Dry Orange Curacao (which we should get them to import to the US), homemade Orgeat, etc.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Here's a question, though.  In these books, you see all these recipes for ersatz versions of such and such.  Or ways to stretch the actual products, in the case of whiskeys and brandies.

What do you think would be more likely to have been used in the 19th Century American bar, an actual imported Curacao or a forged one?

A question in return. Are we talking a fancy hotel bar, or a low frontier doggery?

Where supply lines were good and the clientele discriminating, you'd get the good stuff.

Otherwise, you never knew. As often as not, the saloonkeeper, or the wholesaler he bought from, made his whole line of liquors from cheap "Cincinnati rectified," which was essentially vodka. You paid your money and you took your choice.

For what it's worth, one bottle of Grand Marnier will make something like 150 Fancy Whiskey Cocktails.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Here's a question, though.  In these books, you see all these recipes for ersatz versions of such and such.  Or ways to stretch the actual products, in the case of whiskeys and brandies.

What do you think would be more likely to have been used in the 19th Century American bar, an actual imported Curacao or a forged one?

A question in return. Are we talking a fancy hotel bar, or a low frontier doggery?

Where supply lines were good and the clientele discriminating, you'd get the good stuff.

Otherwise, you never knew. As often as not, the saloonkeeper, or the wholesaler he bought from, made his whole line of liquors from cheap "Cincinnati rectified," which was essentially vodka. You paid your money and you took your choice.

For what it's worth, one bottle of Grand Marnier will make something like 150 Fancy Whiskey Cocktails.

because i'm trying to figure out the orange liqueurs lately... do many of the products discussed use multiple types of peels? (sweet, bitter, and green) to create shades of orange flavor?

i know the base spirits and maybe the orange intensity can change a lot but is everyone really assuming the shade of orange character is pretty constant. i know that belgium beers are about playing with shades of orange amongst the malt and that lillet is about a particular blend of orange peels...

the orange flavored genre is massive and so many people have been interested in its tonality... is the blending and sourcing of peels more significant than people think to really explaining the differences in the products?

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

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Is the blending and sourcing of peels more significant than people think to really explaining the differences in the products?

Rem acu tetigisti, as Jeeves would say. That is indeed the question.

My suspicion is that yes it absolutely is, but here we run into one of the main problems in figuring out the category, the secrecy of proprietary formulae. But my experiments in drying orange peels have yielded huge variations in tonality, from the funky bitterness of Seville peel to the bright sweetness of your average Sunkist Florida sugarbomb.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Grand Marnier, Cointreau, etc.... which one for what?

Honestly, i don't think that there is a better one, but for those who think that Grand Marnier is a waste of money, or only good for B52, I disagree.

Let's take the example of the Side Car. It's a simple recipe, but quite difficult to balance. I like this one which is easy and cheap to make (if you consider that you don't need to buy cognac):

75 ml Grand Marnier

Between 30 - 35 ml Fresh Lemon Juice depending to your taste

Just shake hard and strain

I've done a few blind tasting using different brands of cognacs, orange liqueurs & specs, to check which one people preferred. That recipe didn't do that bad at all.

Cheers

Mick

I have to respectfully disagree with this, Mickael.

As a Brandy fan, one of the fun things for me has been experimenting with different Brandies and Cognacs in various Savoy cocktails. Seeing which work out well and which I lose interest in before finishing the bottle.

To me, using Grand Marnier instead of Cognac and Orange Liqueur, is similar to using B&B instead of Brandy and Benedictine.

The Brandy in B&B is OK brandy. But there is no way it is going to match the interest of a well chosen stand alone Brandy in the drink.

I feel the same about the Cognac used in Grand Marnier's manufacture.

I'll use Grand Marnier where it is called for, and sometimes experiment with it where Orange Curacao is called for, but I'm not going to use it to replace the Cognac (or Brandy) and orange liqueur in a drink.

Well, maybe, if I was stuck with a choice between Grand Marnier and bad brandy combined with awful triple sec.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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The Brandy in B&B is OK brandy.  But there is no way it is going to match the interest of a well chosen stand alone Brandy in the drink.

I feel the same about the Cognac used in Grand Marnier's manufacture.

Well, I guess you could always use one of the higher-end bottlings of Grand Marnier. I imagine a Cuvee du Cent Cinquantenaire Sidecar would be something to try!

To me, the bigger problem is that this approach only gives you control over two variables: sweet and sour. That leaves no room to correct for strong. And while it might make a passable Sidecar, there's no way to tweak it into transcendence.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I feel the same about the Cognac used in Grand Marnier's manufacture.

Well, maybe, if I was stuck with a choice between Grand Marnier and bad brandy combined with awful triple sec.

Hi EJE,

I understand your point.

This recipe is just a suggestion, and sometimes it works better that a bad brandy combined with awful triple sec, as you said.

If I'm at home, and I'm a novice "bartender" who want to entertain my guests, I really think that I would go for this recipe. Also, as mkayahara said, you can go for the 100 aire or 150 aire bottling, which are 100% cognac (not brandy).

In regards to the Cognac used in Grand Marnier, I've got a few bottles at home and I have to say that they are delicious.

Mr Patrick Raguenaud is the cellar master of the Marnier Lapostolle house. Previously, he worked at the Martell house, and some of his work included the famous blend for Cordon Bleu. I know that some Marnier Cognacs are sold in Canada, and the XO is definitly worth a sip.

( http://fr.grandmarnier.com/grand-marnier-p...gnac-marnier-xo )

Cheers

www.BarNowOn.com

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  • 1 year later...

has anyone tried Mandarine Napoleon ? (sp)

Yes, I know it well.

I first tried Mandarine Napoleon in Mexico some 30 years ago and have always liked it. Nothing has else has that color in the glass. By luck I recently found some at Spec's in San Antonio and I will be buying more. This is great stuff. Made in Belgium by Fourcroy S.A.

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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  • 9 months later...

I had always assumed Citronge was made on a tequila base; but, your inclusion of it in the triple sec category makes wonder if it is on a neutral spirits base. Do you know if this is the case? I can't find any indication either way on their website.

Been awhile since this post was made or anybody has replied in this thread but if you are interested in a tequila based orange liqueur you might consider Agavero Orange Liqueur. It is VERY sweet though as it has a lot of agave nectar in it. A Cuervo product I think and is 64 proof. Colorless with of course the sweet agave up front and tequila notes following with a hint of orange mixed in. I don't typically drink it straight but use it in a margarita if I am looking for a little sweeter variation and/or am out of Damiana.

I do rather like the regular Agavero liqueur but as I said I also like the sweet Damiana it contains (and not just because of the funky bottle!). I frequently use Damiana in my margaritas as well as a sweetener and to give it a little different spin. Both Agavero's are reputedly made with aged tequila. I did a search on Agavero and it doesn't seem to be in this forum anywhere so I suppose it is not a particularly popular drink. But it is one I can drink with friends who aren't quite up to sipping tequila or mezcal neat, probably because it is so sweet.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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  • 1 year later...

I am copying some information regarding orange liqueurs from the Rogue (now beta) cocktails thread here so we can find it later.

On ‎1‎/‎11‎/‎2013 at 11:55 AM, tanstaafl2 said:
On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2013 at 11:46 AM, FrogPrincesse said:
On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2013 at 11:14 AM, tanstaafl2 said:

Do you find any difference in a drink with Creole Shrub as compared to using Curacao? Seems like the shrub would bring something slightly different the way the brandy based Grand Marnier is a little different from Cointreau/Curacao.

Not a huge difference as far as I can tell. The Clément Créole Shrubb is rum-based and therefore it makes sense to use it in rum cocktails. I prefer it to Cointreau in Mai Tais for example, although the difference is quite subtle. Grand Marnier being cognac-based is not very versatile in cocktails in general and I hardly ever use it (for Crêpes Suzette maybe).

There is an extensive review of orange liqueurs on the Oh Gosh! blog that I found very informative.

Thanks. I quite like Clement Creole Shrubb myself but haven't done anywhere near the amount of cocktail experimenting you have! I have been through the Oh Gosh! orange liqueur threads before but was just curious on your thoughts given you have seem to be playing with different types almost everyday.

I need to try to do more. I don't have as many different options as on the Oh Gosh! site but I have managed to end up with 8-10 different orange liqueurs that deserve more regular use.

Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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There is a discussion about the Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, an orange liqueur that was developed with David Wondrich and launched last year, here.

To elaborate on what I wrote there regarding Cointreau still being my preference for margaritas, here is a margarita flight I did last summer.

7665716210_8de1061f6f_z.jpg

From left to right.

Grand Marnier: rich taste but I felt that the cognac base clashed with the tequila. It was also slightly too sweet and there wasn't enough bitter orange flavor for my taste.

Pierre Ferrand has a lovely bitter orange flavor but was too dry in this cocktail. I did not attempt to change my ratios to compensate for this and the drink was not well balanced. I love it in other cocktails though, just not in this drink.

Cointreau is immediately likeable and recognizable. It was very clearly the better choice (confirmed by a representative panel of three people!). Great combination of "zing" from the zest and bitterness. Long finish and the most complex overall.

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There is a discussion about the Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, an orange liqueur that was developed with David Wondrich and launched last year, here.

To elaborate on what I wrote there regarding Cointreau still being my preference for margaritas, here is a margarita flight I did last summer.

7665716210_8de1061f6f_z.jpg

From left to right.

Grand Marnier: rich taste but I felt that the cognac base clashed with the tequila. It was also slightly too sweet and there wasn't enough bitter orange flavor for my taste.

Pierre Ferrand has a lovely bitter orange flavor but was too dry in this cocktail. I did not attempt to change my ratios to compensate for this and the drink was not well balanced. I love it in other cocktails though, just not in this drink.

Cointreau is immediately likeable and recognizable. It was very clearly the better choice (confirmed by a representative panel of three people!). Great combination of "zing" from the zest and bitterness. Long finish and the most complex overall.

What was the ratio of Tequila/Orange/Lime that you used?

I liked the Pierre Ferrand in a 2/1/1 ratio with a nice blanco tequila. It was richer and a bit softer than a margarita made with Cointreau, I thought. More of an after dinner margarita.

I'm not a fan of Grand Marnier in magaritas.

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What was the ratio of Tequila/Orange/Lime that you used?

I liked the Pierre Ferrand in a 2/1/1 ratio with a nice blanco tequila. It was richer and a bit softer than a margarita made with Cointreau, I thought. More of an after dinner margarita.

I'm not a fan of Grand Marnier in magaritas.

My margarita ratio was 1.5/1/0.75 tequila/orange liqueur/lime.

I never liked Grand Marnier in margaritas but my husband thought he did - not anymore after this.

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  • 9 months later...

I'm in London now. I have Cointreau in my cabinet. Which should I stock next? Grand Marnier, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Triple Sec? How about DeKuyper or Bols? I believe the European versions of those are much better.

What would one use Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb for?

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I'm in London now. I have Cointreau in my cabinet. Which should I stock next? Grand Marnier, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Triple Sec? How about DeKuyper or Bols? I believe the European versions of those are much better.

What would one use Rhum Clement Creole Shrubb for?

I almost never use Grand Marnier in cocktails, but it's essential for Crêpes Suzette and chocolate mousse, so I have a bottle.

I really like the Pierre Ferrand dry curacao. Recently it was spectacular in a Sidecar.

I mostly use Clement Creole Shrubb in rum drinks (Mai Tais), but it also works very well in other applications like here.

Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)
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