You bought a bottle of booze because a cocktail recipe called for a very minute amount. Now you’re stuck with the remaining 9/10ths of the bottle and wondering what to do with it. No worries. Thrifty bartenders weigh in with tips and recipes for getting every last drop out of an underutilized ingredient so it doesn’t gather dust on your bar shelf.
Chambord is the community in the Loire Valley where you’ll find the the world’s most recognizable château, built in a French medieval-cum-renaissance architectural style. And if you’ve ever mixed a round of Kir Royales or scooped out vanilla ice cream parfaits to top off a dinner party, it’s also a squat gold-trimmed bottle filled with a dark purple liquid you might be wondering how to finish up.
First off, banish thoughts of Chambord as merely a “raspberry liqueur,” says Julia Ebell, the creative director at The Gibson in Washington, D.C. “One of the most common misconceptions about Chambord is that it’s a one-note spirit. Raspberry is the star, but don’t forget the other flavors: vanilla, honey and citrus peel.”
Lest we sugar coat things, the aubergine-colored nectar is sweet and viscous. Still, cocktails that use even an ounce of it needn’t be treacly, says Kevin King, the bar manager at Husk in Savannah, Ga. “Chambord actually has a bright acidity from the citrus peels, which helps balance out sweetness.” He has soaked cherries in it to garnish Manhattans, mixed it with vinegar for cocktail shrubs and even subbed it in for triple sec in Margaritas and Sidecars. Chambord plays well with gin and vodka, as well as with bourbon and brandy, he says.
“Chambord also works well with sherry and crushed ice to make a sweeter version of the classic Cobbler,” says Azrhiel Frost, the bar manager at The Gage in Chicago. Its high sugar content is best balanced by dry or acidic ingredients, she adds.
Less expected is Chambord as a sugar substitute for Old Fashioneds, which is how John Neumueller, the beverage director at Spoonfed and Bar Joe in Los Angeles, uses it. And of course, an obvious spot for a splash of Chambord is in a flute of sparkling wine. No matter how it’s used, Neumueller advises restraint. “It’s good to let it have room to breathe,” he says.
Finish up that bottle of Chambord by mixing up one of these three cocktails.
1. Pisco Bramble
“Chambord is great to float on top of cocktails and can layer nicely,” says King. “I love to us it in Brambles with gin or pisco.”
2. She’s No Gentleman
“The vanilla notes of Chambord pair well with smoky flavors like scotch or mezcal and funky flavors like rum or pisco,” says Ebell. “The honey loves bourbon and high-tannin teas.”
For this Cobbler variant from Frost, the sweetness of Chambord is offset by light and dry fino sherry and a touch of lemon juice. For more citrus flavor she suggests adding an orange slice.