Hey everyone. We got an awesome tasting event down at The Citizen’s Speakeasy this Thursday, the 21st of October. We’re showcasing all levels from the one of a kind line of Grand Marnier. So, if you can join us, superb. But if not, let me take some time to tell you about this old and classic liqueur that is hand crafted, and as delicious by itself as it is in your favorite cocktail.
First, let us talk about the history behind this ‘fine, pal o mine’. Grand Marnier is a liqueur created in 1880 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle. He learned how to distill from his father who was a wine and spirit merchant. By combining hand crafted and hand selected cognacs to be distilled with a variety of tropical oranges’ essence, Monsieur Marnier-Lapostolle was able to create a very distinct liqueur, we know today to be ‘Cordon Rouge’, or ‘Red Ribbon’. The subtle roundness from the slow aging done in French oak casks make Cordon Rouge a winner, every time.
Citrus Bigaradia is one of the orange varietals that find its way into the production of Grand Marnier. This type of orange is known for its fragrance, rather than its sweet juices. They are hand selected, and hand picked while the peel is still green to preserve the most fragrant properties of the fruit. In order to secure the highest level of aromas from the fruit, they are left to age, in the open air for as many as three weeks. Then the peels are distilled to produce the orange essence that becomes the most notable characteristic of Grand Marnier.
But before all that can take place, they have to make the cognac. Cognac is an aged brandy that can only come from the Cognac region of France, which is about 280 miles southwest of Paris. Much like Champagne, Cognac is heavily regulated by the French government. So the Brandy produced there must come from grapes grown there. Grand Marnier uses a common grape varietal in the region, called Ugni Blanc to produce their cognacs. These grapes come from the five best regions in Cognac for growing, Grande and Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, and Bons Bois.
The amount of detail that goes into both aspects of Grand Marnier are what makes this liqueur unlike any other.
After 15 hours of flights delays, and multiple sessions of airport garbage food, I am back in the Woo. Please stay tuned in to the blog. I have more to post once I get my head straight and go through all the materials, notes, and Business Cards I brought home
When entering any one of the countless drinking establishments on Bourbon Street, ALWAYS make friends with the bouncers. Luis (on the left) and Antoine (on the right) were bad ass dude that keep the peace at The Ye Ole Absinthe House. Good dudes. Homeboy Luis used to play for the Saints.
Where else but at Tales of the Cocktail, is someone going to be able to sit a bar and have a completely normal conversation with two of the industry’s biggest stars. Me and Dale DeGroff on the top, and me and David Wondrich on the bottom. Both, extremely cool.
Funny story. After sitting at the bar talking with Wondrich for an hour or so, he and his wife went to retire for the evening. They were replaced with a couple out of Cali that make vermouth(www.quadywinery.com). VYA is one that we sell at the Citizen. And by the way, it won vermouth of the year the past two years. Anyway, she wanted a ‘White Lady’. Which is like a ‘French 75′ without champagne. The bartender, who was very good and must of make a grand yesterday, didn’t know what was in it. So I looked it up online from my phone. The first site that the search brought me to was written by none other than David Wondrich. I looked at the lady and was like, “The guy who wrote this was just sitting where you are now”. I thought that was cool.
This is a picture of Dave with his competition, on the Red Carpet for Cointreau, at the House of Blues. Cointreau’s brand spoke person is Dita Von Teese and she put on the show for about 300 of us bar peeps. It was a good time. www.saveur.com/cointreau will take you to a site that has all the competitors’ bio’s and videos of their drinks. You should check it out. We’ve been hanging out with these guys the past couple of days, so it’s hard not to root for everyone. But there can be only one. Good luck to Dave, and all our new friends.
Check out this video Dave shot for his chance to go to France.
If he wins, he goes to the Cointreau distillery
How pleeping awesome is this? Dave and I are stumbling around the hotel this after noon, and walk into the middle of the coolest thing I’ve seen down here so far. Yamazaki has a seminar at the hotel, and when it was over, they allowed the attendees to blend their own whisky using any one of their marques, from 12 year old single malts to 40 year old single malts. AND when you were done, they bottled it and autographed it. AND whoever’s blend they like the most, gets sent a case of it for nadda. Not bad.
This is the Carousel Bar. A rotating bar in the lobby of the hotel we’re staying, The Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street. Royal Street runs parallel to Bourbon Street. After a glass of champange, a shot of B&B, and a beer, the rotating started playing with my head.
Dave Delaney left this afternoon. I’ll be on my way in the morning. We’re going to attend the week long event known as Tales of the Cocktail. This is a week of seminars, tasting rooms, and spirited dinners. We’ll update the blog everyday to share everything we’ve seen and learned. Also, post a comment on the blog wishing Dave “good luck” as he competes against bartenders from around the country to create The Best Cointreau Cocktail.