Not all orange liqueurs are created equal, and Grand Marnier has the special distinction of being made with cognac as its base. And while it certainly works well in a Margarita or Sidecar, it also pairs well with a wide spectrum of flavors including, oddly enough, carrots. Zachary Faden, an experienced bartender from Washington, D.C., shows this fact off with the Aquavit Buck, an unusual aquavit-based highball. The drink includes a cordial made with carrots and Grand Marnier, which Faden calls a “wonderful and uncommon pairing.”
Aquavit is often considered a Scandinavian equivalent to gin, usually flavored with caraway or dill, as well a botanicals like cardamom and fennel. This brightly botanical spirit forms the base of this highball, which also gets a ginger syrup and the carrot cordial for sweetness and depth. “Grand Marnier is a classic backbar staple that certainly deserves front-row status. It offers cocktails citrus brightness, vanilla aromas and nutty nuance,” Faden says. “[The cordial] marries with the ginger and accentuates the herbaceous aquavit.”
If you enjoy the drink and its ingredients, you can use them in other cocktails, too. The ginger syrup can easily be used to add some gentle spice to drinks, like an extra-warming Hot Toddy or a zesty take on a Daiquiri. The carrot cordial is more limited in its applications outside the Aquavit Buck, but could work well in a number of drinks—you’d just have to play around with it.
- 2 ounces aquavit
- 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 3/8 ounce ginger syrup*
- 3/8 ounce carrot cordial**
- Club soda, chilled, to top
- Garnish: lime wedge
Add the aquavit, lime juice, ginger syrup and carrot cordial into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice.
Top with club soda.
Garnish with a lime wedge.
*Ginger syrup: Juice ginger (freshly peeled) using a masticating juicer. For every 3 parts ginger juice, add 2 parts sugar by weight and whisk vigorously until homogenous. Store syrup in the refrigerator for up to a week.
**Carrot cordial: Juice fresh carrots using a masticating juicer. Add an equal amount of sugar by weight and whisk vigorously until homogenous. Fortify with 2 parts Grand Marnier by weight. Store cordial in the refrigerator for up to a week.