All orange liqueurs are not created equal, and very few can hold their own as both cordial and cocktail component. But then again, not all orange liqueurs are made from cognac like Grand Marnier is. This elegant French orange liqueur can upgrade your Sidecar or Margarita, or it can serve as the base of a cocktail, as it does in the Le Grand Louis. “It’s a fantastic base to build from and works in a variety of styles of cocktails,” says the drink’s creator, Franky Marshall.
A New York City bartending vet, Marshall believes Grand Marnier is incredibly mixable, and developed this silky, sophisticated cocktail to demonstrate it. “I love the body that it brings to cocktails,” she says. “The 40-percent ABV means it can stand up to anything you pair it with.” In Le Grand Louis, she uses a full two ounces of Cuvée Louis Alexandre, the higher-end expression that’s named in ode to its creator, Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. However, the signature formula works equally well.
The recipe is essentially a Dry Martini, substituting the usual London dry gin for the orange liqueur. It’s up to the bartender to decide on which vermouth to use, but using a nice French label, like Noilly Prat or Dolin Dry, will have the best results.
A dash of orange bitters and the oils from a lemon peel expressed over the surface finish the drink, but the garnish isn’t an afterthought, either—the aromatics from a sprig of rosemary will coax out similar botanicals from the vermouth and liqueur, and also add an elegant visual element.
- 2 ounces Grand Marnier Cuvée Louis-Alexandre (or original Grand Marnier)
- 3/4 ounce dry vermouth
- 1 dash orange bitters
- 1 lemon peel
- Garnish: rosemary sprig
Add the Grand Marnier, vermouth and bitters into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.
Express the oil from the lemon peel over the glass and discard peel.
Garnish with the rosemary sprig.