See also: Another Article on Grand Marnier
History of Grand Marnier
On what are great destinies built?... Some would say on the meeting of chance and talent!
That happened with Grand Marnier in 1827 when Jean -Baptiste Lapostolle founded a modest distillery in Neauphle-le-Château near Paris. It rapidly gained an excellent reputation in the region, but the push from fate came later, when Eugène Lapostolle, son of Jean-Baptiste, took over as head of the company.
In 1870, while staying in the Cognac region, Eugène discovered a land rich in tradition and know-how. Curious by nature, as he roamed around asking questions, he instinctively realized that here, there was a huge potential.
He returned to Neauphle - le - Château, bringing with him a large stock of old cognacs. Did he intend to sell them to the public? Who knows! We only know that the foundation stone of Grand Marnier had been laid. Regardless of Eugène's initial intentions, a magical spirit lay sleeping.
The magician who would release it was an inventive and dynamic character: Louis Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle, son-in law to Eugène. In his laboratory at Neauphle-le-Château, in 1880, he invented a new liqueur - an unexpected blend of cognac and orange, a fruit which, at that time, was both rare and exotic.
The exotic lushness of the West Indies blended with the most traditional of French products. Traditionalists might very well be horrified. But its inspired creator, Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle, decided to take the risk. It was a gamble, but the prize was success beyond his wildest dreams.
The year 1880 saw the birth of a magnificent liqueur. All that remained, to create the legend, was to find a name which would enhance its noble origins and stand out in people's minds.
Daring as ever, Alexandre did not hesitate in going against the trend of current fashion for everything named "Petit". His liqueur would be called Grand Marnier! From that moment Grand Marnier was to benefit from the help and recommendations of some of the best-known personalities of the day. César Ritz, owner of palatial hotels who was a close friend of Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle, was won over by this liqueur and introduced it to the Savoy in London. It was an instant success.
Another great man would add to its renown - the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, and a great connoisseur of French gastronomy. While staying at a palatial hotel in Paris the great chef, Escoffier, honoured the prince by creating a dish - the Crêpe Suzette, so named after a dear French friend of the future King. This dish has become a classic of culinary art.
From the end of the 19th century the royal route had been mapped out. And the stunning success would never waver. Today, Grand Marnier boasts the largest export sales of any French liqueur. In more than 150 countries people appreciate the subtle pleasure of its taste.
In order to manufacture the most prestigious liqueur in the world, better known as Grand Marnier, only the finest ingredients have to be used in order to achieve the quality that is expected from one when purchasing such a product. The Cognac is one of them. The other key ingredient being the oranges that are going to give the flavor which will make Grand Marnier stand out in terms of quality and unique taste.
The oranges used in the manufacturing of Grand Marnier are "bitter oranges" carefully selected from plantations around tropical regions of the world such as the Caribbean's. They need to be of a very special species better known as "Citrus Bigaradia" so when the peel is dried, it will still retain a very strong perfume that will give this unique aroma and character to our liqueur.
Still made to the jealously-guarded original recipe created by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle, this blend of the essence of orange, cognac and sugar syrup gives birth to the noble amber liqueur.
Last of all, the Grand Marnier is placed in oak vats for six to eight months of slow ageing, which adds the final touch to this masterpiece.
This article is excerpted & used with permission from the Grand Marnier Website. For more information visit the Grand Marnier website www.grand-marnier.com/