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Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
About Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge is produced by Marnier Lapostolle, a france-based company with roots dating back to 1827. In 1876, Louis-Alexandre Marnier married into the Lapostolle family, who had already been operating a distillery near Paris. Marnier would soon transform their legacy with his creation of the cognac-based orange liqueur. Grand Marnier is currently produced at Château de Bourg-Charente in the Cognac region of France.
This liqueur is made with bitter oranges of the Citrus Bigaradia variety, which are picked green. After being dried in the sun, the orange peels are macerated in neutral alcohol, and then distilled using a slow distillation process. The Cognac base is also made on site, using Ugni Blanc grapes and traditional distilling methods. It is double-distilled for 24 hours in copper pot stills, before being aged in oak casks.
Finally, the Cognac and orange distillate are combined in a process that the brand describes as a “grand marriage”. This marriage is done at a separate location in the Gaillon-Aubevoye region.
❖ ABV: 40%
❖ Distillery: Château de Bourg-Charente
❖ Aging: undisclosed (brandy base)
❖ Price Point: lower moderate price
❖ vanilla cognac
❖ candied zest
❖ bitter orange
My Tasting notes
My first whiff of this orange liqueur had notes of orange sherbert. Overall, the aroma remained consistent, with the notes of candied orange and vanilla blending nicely.
As I took my first sip, there was a huge burst of alcohol flavor that sparkled on my tongue like fireworks. This mouthfeel remained constant as I continued to sip, and I found that it distracted from the flavor notes. I could taste a slight citrus flavor – however, it is overpowered by the brandy base. The citrus notes are barely noticeable unless you are looking for them.
Overall, tasting Grand Marnier straight was fine, but definitely not my favorite experience with a citrus mixer.
For my cocktail, I was interested in making the Grand Sidecar, which is featured on the official Grand Marnier website. Unlike a classic sidecar, this recipe calls for a higher proportion of the orange liqueur compared to the cognac. I thought this would be interesting to try, and a great way to really test out Grand Marnier’s flavor. Previously, I’ve made most of my sidecars with Cointreau.
❖ 1.5oz Grand Marnier
❖ 1/2oz cognac
❖ 1/2oz lemon juice
- combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until chilled.
- Strain the mixture into a small cocktail glass – preferably a coupe if you have one.
Drinking this Grand Sidecar was a bit disappointing. Unfortunately, I felt that the recipe was not as balanced as it could be. I normally opt for a sidecar recipe that contains simple syrup, and I feel that with Grand Marnier, a sweetener is necessary for balance.
That said, I’ve found that Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge does pretty well in sweeter recipes such as a margarita. It just doesn’t shine as the star of a drink.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this bottle of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge. Although it is absolutely enjoyable and useful as a mixer, it also has a lot of hype to live up to, and should be judged accordingly. At the end of the day, there are other citrus spirits that I feel are more versatile in this price range.
When I was first introduced to Grand Marnier, I did find that it tasted amazing in Margaritas and similar sweet drinks – giving them a unique richness. However, I personally feel that versatility is important when it comes to recommending citrus mixers, as they so often are used as a sidekick to the main spirit. By using a cognac base, Grand Marnier tries to be the main event – and that may or may not be to your taste!
If you love brandy, you will definitely want to pick this up. If brandy is not your favorite, you probably want to opt for a more neutral orange liqueur for your cocktails, such as Cointreau.
As always, drink responsibly.
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