Whether you make a Margarita, a Sidecar or even a Cosmo, at some point this year you’ll probably need a bottle of orange liqueur. While the spirit usually doesn’t have a starring role, it is the William H. Macy of the mixology world, contributing solidly to countless creations. But not all of these spirits are produced similarly or taste the same. To help you out, we put together a mini-guide to the world of orange liqueur. Enjoy!
Cointreau was started more than 160 years ago by two French brothers who were confectioners. The recipe for the brand’s historic aromatic liqueur is a closely-guarded secret. What we do know is that Cointreau contains the essence of sweet and bitter sun-dried orange peels, water, sugar and alcohol.
In 1834, Jean-Baptiste Combier, a candy maker in Saumur, France, created a liqueur flavored with the peels of bitter and sweet oranges from the West Indies and local spices. The spirit, which is triple distilled, was recently introduced to the United States and is still made in the original facility.
Grand Marnier ($40):
There is one big difference between Grand Marnier and its rivals: the base is cognac (many other orange liqueurs are made from a neutral spirit). This gives the liqueur richness and depth, which is complemented by a piquant citrus flavor.
Patrón Citrónge ($23):
Just because the French dominate the liqueur business, it doesn’t mean you can’t make one in a different country. Patrón produces Citrónge in Mexico and flavors it with organic oranges
This sweet Sicilian liqueur is flavored with blood oranges and is produced in a copper pot still. Solerno can be used in traditional cocktails as well as simply added to a glass of prosecco.