Grand Marnier falls on the sweeter side of the liqueur spectrum. It is a blend of sophisticated cognac and triple sec.
The end product is delicate, polished, and a perfect mixing ingredient to elevate the wow factor in your cocktails. Read on to learn which cocktails feature this elite alcohol and get inspired to make your own at home.
What is Grand Marnier?
Grand Marnier is a top-shelf liqueur with distinct notes of orange – but distinct from orange liqueurs like Triple Sec. The famous alcohol hails from France and was first distilled in 1880. The alcohol was named after its developer, Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle.
His father worked in spirit and wine distillation and taught Alexandre how to distill alcohol. The skills and passion came naturally to Alexandre, who was greatly admired for his innovation and grand ideas.
- Premium blend of cognacs with wild tropical oranges from the Caribbean
- Exceptionally delicious in cocktails but can be enjoyed neat
- Full of rich, developed, and complex flavor
Cocktails That Use Grand Marnier
The beautiful cocktail is a cognac lover’s dream come true. This drink contains only two ingredients: Cognac and Grand Marnier. Combining these two components results in a refined beverage that elevates the sophisticated notes all Cognacs offer.
When this drink was created it was called the French Connection No. 2. It implied the relationship between these two French-based ingredients. The French Connection No. 1 (or simply known as the French Connection mixes Cognac and Amaretto, an almond-flavored liqueur).
Grand Marnier & Prosecco
Prosecco is a bubbly white wine produced in Italy. It is a common alternative to replace Champagne because it is more affordable. Prosecco is typically served at celebrations or with the dessert course of your evening.
Adding Grand Marnier to Prosecco is a fancy way to create a boozier spin on a classic Mimosa. The orange flavor notes pair perfectly with the light bubbles of the wine, and it is a sophisticated yet fun drink. This cocktail is better suited to evening events instead of brunch.
El Presidente Cocktail
The 1920s produced many cocktails, and the El Presidente continues to be enjoyed! The recipe for this drink includes white rum, (see also: Rum Margarita Recipe (Frozen or On the Rocks))Grand Marnier, dry vermouth, and orange bitters. The flavor profile is similar to a Manhattan, but with a Cuban twist.
Ideally, consuming this drink will draw out feelings of luxury and sophistication. Adding the Grand Marnier to this cocktail will add greater complexity to the flavor palette, which will appeal to cocktail enthusiasts who truly enjoy the different tastes of alcohol.
The B52 cocktail combines coffee liqueur, sweet Irish cream, and Grand Marnier. The combination is a hit for anyone who loves java-inspired cocktails. This beverage is the perfect nightcap or can be served alongside dessert at the end of your meal.
The B52 was originally crafted to be a shooter, and the presentation delivers a wow factor. The different ingredients have different densities, which results in a clear layered look between alcohols. The B52 can also be called a Bifi or a Bift.
A not-so-common cocktail is the Larchmont cocktail. It blends Grand Marnier, white rum, simple syrup, and fresh lime juice. The essence of the drink is a sophisticated twist on the typical tropical flavors.
David A. Embury created the Larchmont cocktail in the late 1940s and was inspired by rum sours. The flavor profile of a Larchmont is described as understated and refined. This drink will appeal to individuals who want to sip a vacation-inspired cocktail without going overboard on the sweetness.
During its hay day, a Cadillac was the peak symbol of luxury. It continues to be a beacon of wealth and high class. Adding Grand Marnier to a classic margarita is an easy way to elevate your cocktail, and create a Cadillac Margarita.
Instead of shaking the Grand Marnier with the rest of your ingredients, bartenders recommend you float your Grand Marnier on top. To float alcohol you pour the measured amount on top of your cocktail before serving. Ideally, the guest will not stir the drink, but instead, sip it and enjoy the natural mixing of flavors that occurs in the mouth.
Floating is an excellent technique to preserve the individual tastes of your ingredients. If everything was combined in a shaker you might miss some of the special orange cognac notes of the Grand Marnier.
Perfect Storm Cocktail
A Perfect Storm Cocktail is a twist on the Dark and Stormy cocktail. The Perfect Storm features Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice, orange bitters, ginger beer. The result is a playful, bright, and bubbly cocktail that is quenching on those hot summer nights. Remember to save a piece of the lime wedge to garnish your cocktail before serving.
The classic Dark and Stormy cocktail belong to the highball family of cocktails. Beverages in this family contain alcohol but are mixed with a larger volume of non-alcoholic ingredients. You may opt for a highball cocktail if it is early in the afternoon, or you just want something light to wash down your meal.
Gin lovers you do not need to feel neglected! A drink that may appeal to you is the Bijou cocktail. The Bijou cocktail (bijou is a French term for jewel) features dry gin, Grand Marnier, sweet vermouth, green chartreuse, and Angostura bitters. The cocktail contains strong herbal tones with a subtle citrus flavor from the Grand Marnier.
Harry Johnson, a prolific bartender, created the Bijou cocktail. He admired the jewel tones of the three components used to mix the drink, hence named the cocktail after the French ingredients.
Green chartreuse was reminiscent of emerald, gin was compared to a diamond, and sweet vermouth was red like a ruby. Adding Grand Marnier to this cocktail was a modern twist to the original 1895 recipe.
A grand cosmopolitan is exactly how it sounds: a cosmopolitan with Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is a combination of triple sec and cognac, and triple sec is a staple ingredient of the cosmo cocktail.
The extra orange flavor of the Grand Marnier is a natural companion to the classic cranberry backbone of the original cosmo beverage.
The term cosmopolitan describes individuals from all over the world who know to belong to a metropolis or a city! Whenever you are in a bustling bar, downtown at night, ordering a cosmopolitan can feel like the most natural selection.
If you want to try a new twist, ask for a grand cosmopolitan next time you go out! It may become your new favorite drink.
When To Avoid Using Grand Marnier
Grand Marnier has a delicate flavour. It is also a top-shelf premium liqueur, so every drop can feel precious. There will be certain flavour combinations that will not be elevated by Grand Marnier, and it is in your best interest to save your bottle for another time.
Anything tomato based will not mix well. No blood Mary’s, and if you’re Canada no bloody Ceasers. The bold tomato flavour will mute the tomato, and it may feel like you are eating a fruit salad that has tomatos. This will not be everyone’s ideal flavour combination.
As well as tomato based products, pass on mixing your Grand Marnier with any hoppy IPAs. You may be tempted to elevate your beer shanty with a Grand Marnier float but it will be very difficult to taste any of range notes through all the hoppy goodness of the beer. Save your Grand Marnier for a more delicate cocktail.
Lastly, red wine spritzers will be best on their own. The red grapes used to make wine carry a huge range of potent flavours and each one is meant to be enjoyed. Mixing Grand Marnier into a spritzer is unlikely to contribute a major impact. If you crave red wine with citrus tones, lean more into the Sangria style cocktail, and use fresh cut fruit instead.