A REFINED AND WORLD FAMOUS LIQUEUR
See also: Grand Marnier Official History
French artisan liqueur producers of the 19th century have adopted techniques of flavour- extraction from their artistic creator of fragrances in the perfume industry in Grass, southern France.
Jean Baptiste Lapostolle, an avid experimenter of fragrant alcoholic beverages, started his liqueur manufacturing business at Nauphle-le-Chateau near Paris in 1827. The company was selling its products briskly, and during one of his promotional sales trips in Charante Maritime, his son Eugene discovered Cognac and immediately recognized its potential in a blended liqueur consisting of aromatic and sweet components. Although he was convinced that he could create a suitable liqueur with a Cognac base, it was his son-in-law Louis Alexander Marnier Lapostolle who came up with the original formula after many years of research and experimentation. Before launching the product, he was looking for an appropriate and marketing-effective name. To this end, he consulted Parisian restaurateurs and hoteliers including Cesar-Ritz who at the time was a famous hotelier in London.
Cesar- Ritz advises him to name the liqueur Grand Marnier.
The unique shape of the bottle was created after alembic stills used in Cognac, with the characteristic seal.
The recipe is secret and only known to a few family members who never travel together. However, a few of the major ingredients are known; these being cognac (Grand Champagne, Petit Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bonne Bois) distilled in Château de Bourg in Charente owned by Marnier Lapostolle, dried bitter orange peels from Haiti, sugar and spices.
Grand Marnier is a liqueur that must always be served at room temperature (16 –18C) and in a snifter.
It is a versatile product that lends itself superbly to cocktails, mixes, in cooking, for flaming, in fruit salads, and pastries.
Grand Marnier is marketed in four distinct and exported to 150 countries.
Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge (Consists of 51 percent Cognac, orange essence, sugar)
Cuvee Louis Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle (a timeless classic blend 71 percent 15-year-old Borderies Cognacs. It is less sweet than Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge)
Cuvee du Centenaire - (Based on 25-year-old Fine Champagne Cognacs (78 percent) to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the product
Cuvee du Cent Ciquantenaire - Created for the 150th anniversary, this extraordinary liqueur is a blend of the finest Cognacs and packaged in a hand-painted, frosted luminous brown bottle. Consists of 78 percent 50-year-old Grand Champagne cognacs, orange essence, sugar and spices)
This author tasted all recently and found them to be aromatically appealing, balanced, and refined. Cordon Rouge is a little too sweet to my taste, but otherwise excellent on its own, or fro Crêpes Suzette, in fruit salads, and cocktails.
Cuvee Louis Alexandre is not only refined, but reflects the characteristics of a well-crafted Cognac with a long aftertaste.
Cuvee Centenaire displays exotic orange flavours along with the strength and power of 25-year-ols Cognacs.
The Cuvee Cent Cinquantenaire is the epitome of all in smoothness, aromatic power, balance and after taste.
The Marnier Lapostolle family also produces Cognacs, Pineau des Chartentes, owns the Château de Sancerre in Loire, and the Casa Lapostolle winery in Chile.
Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu