One of the first spirits that I truly adored sipping was Grand Marnier, an orange liqueur blended with cognac and aged in oak barrels. I even wrote about it on a friend's site not so long ago. Though I often hear complaints about the price from people in other parts of the country, I can usually buy a 750 mL bottle for around $28 (compared to their $40's or more, not sure why). So for me, this is a reasonably priced treat.
Grand Marnier is also creative when it comes to packaging their product for holidays and in gift packs. For almost the same price, you can usually find a bottle with either glasses or shot glasses or a Margarita-making kit or a big fun reusable tin. I have all of those. 40% alcohol. Imported by Marnier-Lapostolle Co. in New York, NY.
The bottle is well-recognized with its red ribbon twisted and tied from the cork wrapped around the neck all the way to the bottom of the bottle. The family name is stamped in wax right in the center. There is a story on the back that says, "Grand Marnier Liqueur is made with Cognac and the essence of wild tropical oranges. Its subtle and distinctive taste can be enjoyed neat, or on ice, and can enhance the flavor of cocktails such as the Margarita or Cosmopolitan."
Speaking of cocktails, the Grand Marnier website does an excellent job of giving you numerous ideas. From classic to innovative, this is where their Cocktail Ambassador Serge Sevaux wants to introduce you to some new mixed drinks. Beyond the recipes, you will also be given some history and background for some of the more famous drinks. Food pairings are also included, and for you more creative types, some recipes to prepare Grand Marnier desserts might catch your eye.
What a fantastic oily orange aroma, backed by some flowers and honey and even baked goods. Sweet and candied scents just pounce out of the glass at you!
Rich buttery flavors come first, full of orange and woody oak. Sweet and luscious. Your mind may very well be taken to the last time you had orange marmalade. And you know what? I might need to try something like that for breakfast. Some kind of recipe.
Honey and toffee and flowery flavors continue, not just passing flavors either. And while in general Grand Marnier is sweet, there is plenty of bitterness from the orange rinds to take some of that edge off. Right at the fringe of every sip is that nice little nip. Good heat throughout, not too much burn, just a very pleasant drink. To quote myself, "Every sip is just as luscious as the next. Except the last one, as it’s been diluted with a little tear." Could this be the spirit that will make you switch? It was certainly an influence for me!