Last week, I volunteered at a fantastic Grand Marnier tasting at San Francisco’s own Boothby Center. We were lucky enough to taste through the Grand Marnier portfolio with its Master Distiller Patrick Raguenaud. Mr. Raguenaud was charming and incredibly knowledgeable. He captivated the audience for almost two hours. Not necessarily an easy task when discussing the fine art of distilling. The audience was captivated by both Mr. Raguenaud’s discussion and the incredible cocktails using Grand Marnier crafted by H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir and the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail.
During the event, we were fortunate enough to taste the Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, the Grand Marnier 100th Anniversary, the Grand Marnier 150th Anniversary and the base cognacs used to make the Grand Marnier. During the tasting, we learned that Grand Marnier is made by blending cognac, orange essence using the Bigaradia orange that is then aged in French oak. We also got to try Grand Marnier’s new Quintessence, which is blend of old and rare cognac from the Grand Champagne region with some of the cognac dating back to 1916 and double distilled Citrus Bigaradia orange essence. Bigaradia oranges are special bitter oranges grown in Haiti and their essence has been used to make Grand Marnier since 1880 when it was developed by Alexander Marnier-Lapostolle. For those of you who read our wine posts, you might remember that we have featured a Lapostolle wine from Chili, which is owned by the same family.
As a thank you for working the event, I was presented with a 1 liter bottle of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge. As you can imagine, I was very excited. In honor of that great evening, we decided to spotlight the Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge this week. Here is our tasting note:
Appearance: Clear, bright, medium copper with amber highlights and viscous legs.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity of developing notes of orange, orange peel, orange blossom, fig, sultanas, caramel and toffee.
Palate: Sweet, medium plus acid, high alcohol, medium plus body with a pronounced intensity of orange marmalade, orange peel, orange blossom, fig, sultana, vanilla, caramel, toffee and a hint of hazelnut. Long finish.
Rating: Very good to outstanding liqueur. Beautiful orange notes enhanced with the hint of cognac that sneaks through. Try this liqueur as a substitute for triple sec for rich cocktails or add to your coffee or hot chocolate.