Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Grand Marnier Day!

Yes, it's true. A day devoted to the "world’s most premium orange liqueur," Grand Marnier. The Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge liqueur was created by Louis Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle in 1880. From its beginnings, Grand Marnier has mingled at the courts of both Franz Joseph of Austria and King Edward VII.

Marnier initially named his liqueur Curaçao Marnier, highlighting the tropical source of its flavor. However, Marnier's friend, César Ritz soon to found the Ritz Hotel empire convinced him that the liqueur deserved a more fitting name. Ritz reportedly proposed the name "Grand Marnier" as a "grand name for a grand drink." The choice of the word "grand" also served to set the liqueur apart from the prevailing fashion for prefacing products with the word "petit." The company had also developed a distinctive bottle and red label, including a red wax seal, which led to the label's full name, "Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge" (Red Ribbon). The drink soon caught on, with Ritz himself playing the role of ambassador for the label, introducing it to the Savoy Hotel in London, where it quickly became popular. Marnier-Lapostolle himself returned the favor, helping Ritz acquire the property on the Place Vendome in Paris, where Ritz built his Ritz Hotel. That site became a prominent Parisian landmark--and source of sales for Marnier-Lapostolle. (source)

I tried to get into the Grand Marnier website but even after they "proofed" me, I couldn't get in. Not to worry, I did a post a while back celebrating Elizabeth David's birthday and while there I not only included a bit of history about Grand Marnier, I also included a recipe for Lemon & Grand Marnier Ice Cream. Just in case you don't feel like going back to December, (who wants to go back to December when we finally have some sunshine, anyway) I've included a few highlights from Epicurean Monthly published in 1957 and the Lemon & Grand Marnier Ice Cream recipe.Enjoy!

Grand Marnier As A Liqueur: The finest brandies in the world are distilled from wine produced in the small area of France known as Grande Champagne...In the heart of the country which produces these Brandies lies the Chateau de Bourg Charente, owned by the firm of Marnier-Lapostolle. Here is produced the Grande Champagne sold under the name of Cognac Marnier Lapostolle, and on a basin of this same Cognac is distilled the world famous orange liqueur known as Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge.

Grand Marnier then, is not just "a liqueur," a term which nowadays implies almost any spirit based, sweetened, and fruit or herb flavoured compound. Now there is a world of difference between a liqueur in which the flavouring extract has been produced by distillation of a fruit syrup, and one in which the sugar and the flavours have been introduced by maceration, which means the fruit kernels, peels, herbs or whatever the flavouring may be, having been steeped in the spirit for varying periods is then removed and the spirit is filtered. In the past many such liqueurs were made at home according to treasured family recipes, and were called cordials or ratafia as distinct from distilled liqueurs.

Though it may be enjoyed as an after dinner drink, Grand Marnier is also a welcome infusion in fine cooking. I'm going to be in Pennsylvania trying to rescue my flower garden for the rest of this week so, I'm not serving up anything fancy today. Just a few dessert links for you to explore the many wonders of Grand Marnier.

Grand Marnier is one of those high-end liqueurs that no home bar should be without. There's no substitute for the seductive blend of bitter tropical orange peel and cognac, aged in oak barrels for three years or more and sweetened just enough. It's strong enough to get a proper fire going inside, but still slides down easily. Chances are you've sipped it from a warmed snifter or had some mixed into an after-dinner coffee topped with whipped cream. (source)
Lemon & Grand Marnier Ice Cream
2 large lemons
3 ozs. icing sugar
1/4 pint double cream
Grand Marnier
Put the thinly peeled rind of the lemons with the icing sugar in 4 oz. water, and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Leave this syrup to cool, strain and add to it the juice of the lemons. When quite cold, add it gradually to the whipped cream; stirring gently until the whole mixture is smooth.

Pour into the ice-tray, cover with paper and freeze at maximum freezing point of the refrigerator for about 3 hours, taking it out to stir it twice, after the first 1/2 hour, and again after another hour. Half an hour before serving, stir in a good liqueur glass of Grand Marnier (the contents of a miniature bottle) and put back in the freezing compartment. Being an orange flavoured liqueur, the Grand Marnier mixes well with the lemon, supplying the rich flavour against the sharp background of the lemon.

The amounts given will fill an 18oz ice tray. Should the quantities have to be altered to go in smaller or larger trays, alter them all in proportion. The amount of sugar in refrigerator made ice cream is important. Made in the above manner, there will be no little ice particles and the result is a soft, light ice-cream. but it melts quickly, so leave it in the ice tray until the moment comes to serve it. Note: Instead of the customary wafers to go with the ice cream, serve minature, very fresh brown bread sandwiches with a filling of chopped walnuts, and a drop of Grand Marnier beaten into the butter with which the sandwiches are spread. Epicurean Monthly; June 1957, pg. 39

1. Chocolate Grand Marnier Torte
2. Frozen Grand Marnier Torte with Dark Chocolate Crust & Spiced Cranberries
3. Golden Grand Marnier Cake
4. Strawberry Puffs with Grand Marnier Mousseline
5. Vanilla-Cardamom Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Buttercream & Candied Orange Zest
6. Cornmeal Cupcakes with Orange Flavor and Grand Marnier Whipped Cream
7. Grand Marnier Chocolate Chip Cookies
8. Chocolate, Hazelnut, Grand Marnier Crinkle Cookies
9. Grand Marnier Chocolate Mousse
10 Grand Marnier Napoleons with Dark Chocolate Sauce


  1. Ooooh, those recipes look wonderful! I can vouch for the ice cream being incredibly tasty, but that's the only one I've had before!

  2. I bought my brother the Grand Marnier 100 Centenaire limited edition for $150 (2yrs ago) and thought back then that was a good price LOL! Expensive but a treat!

  3. My daughters MIL is French and she gave my daughter a bottle of Grand Marnier. Wow that stuff is strong just to sip straight. I am sure it would be very good as an ingredient in a recipe though.

  4. How perfect and just in time for Bastille Day. I attended a Bastille Day celebration--and there was Grand Marnier in the crepes! Now I have the history. Thanks.

  5. There is a grand marnier day? Wow...Thanks for letting us know. :)

  6. What a wonderful theme for a commemorative day!

  7. There seriously is a day celebrating everything possible in this world! But Grand Marnier def deserves a celebratory day of its own!

  8. I hope I'm not too late to celebrate! This is indeed, the perfect ingredient! (Not bad in a cocktail either!)

  9. Thanks for visiting everyone. Grand Marnier is indeed versatile and from the looks of these comments, worthy of a day of it's own!!!

  10. Dont shot me, but Cointreu is just as good. Its indispensible in my bar and baking.


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise