Never doubt the greatness of French liqueur, as National Grand Marnier Day, celebrated on July 14 every year, brings yet another delicious French drink into the spotlight (move over champagne). Grand Marnier is the name of a brand of French liqueurs, with their most famous product being the Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge — an orange-flavored liqueur made from a blend of cognac brandy, sugar, and pure bitter orange essence. Since the drink contains notes of citrus, we’re officially calling it fruit-infused, therefore making it healthy. Also, for those who cannot distinguish between whiskey and cognac, we’ll put you out of your misery — whiskeys are made from rye, corn, and barley malt, whereas cognac is a kind of brandy that is derived from grapes. Both are aged in oak barrels, though, so the confusion is understandable. Now, since we’re sure this has your taste buds clamoring for a taste of this exotic blend, join us as we trace the origins of this holiday and the cognac itself, as well as bring you the best cocktail and food recipes this drink can be used in.
History of National Grand Marnier Day
Grand Marnier liqueur was the brainchild of Frenchman Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle, who was passionate about experimenting with blending different fruits with liquor. After nearly a decade of experimenting, in 1880, he hit upon the combination of Haitian tropical oranges with traditional French cognac, giving rise to the Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, the most famous of the Grand Marnier brand. This delightful, amber-hued, citrusy infusion can be drunk neat, as well as in cocktails, and it’s no wonder that Grand Marnier has now become a household name when it comes to innovation in the liquor industry. The brand name is now ranked among the high-class brands of liquor, worldwide, and the price reflects this. This is because the Grand Marnier brand uses only the highest quality of aged cognac, made from Ugni Blanc grapes only. Sourced from vineyards in France’s Cognac region, these grapes go through a double distillation process.
The fame of Grand Marnier is such that a bottle was even found in the wreck of the Titanic, down in its watery grave. Since 1827, the distillery has been owned by the Marnier family and their renown is such that a special concoction, the Cuvee Grand Marnier, was invented in honor of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, in 2002. One of the most expensive Grand Marnier liqueurs is sold for $800 a pop, and this brand is immensely popular in both France and America. If all this has not got you convinced to give this fabulous beverage a try, then we suggest you go the culinary route and try some of the dishes that this amber nectar is used in.
National Grand Marnier Day timeline
The Cognac district of Charente begins to distill wines to withstand distant shipping.
Jean-Baptiste Lapostolle opens a small distillery near Paris, traveling to Cognac to learn all about the art of cognac-making.
Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle invents the perfect blend of cognac and bitter oranges, which rapidly gains popularity worldwide.
A special bottle of Grand Marnier is created in honor of 50 years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
National Grand Marnier Day FAQs
Why is cognac so expensive?
Cognac is aged in an oak barrel for a very long time and its high price is justified by its extremely limited production, thanks to the long aging period. In fact, cognac makes up less than 1% of the world’s spirits by volume.
What is Grand Marnier used for?
Grand Marnier is a key ingredient in the classic sidecar cocktail, made with brandy, orange liqueur, and fresh lemon juice. Praised for its ability to revamp Margaritas and make them even better, this bittersweet liqueur is also found in other popular cocktails like the cosmopolitan, lemon drop, and many many more.
What is the difference between Cointreau and Grand Marnier?
Grand Marnier is an orange liqueur in the curaçao tradition, incorporating triple sec as well. Cointreau, on the other hand, is straight-up a triple sec.
National Grand Marnier Day Activities
Host a cocktail party
Why not host your own elegant affair, complete with fancy cocktails. Channel your inner mixologist and get creative, trying out some of the fabulous cocktails that can be created using Grand Marnier liqueur. We can help get you started with a few suggestions: Marnier and Bubbles — mix Grand Marnier with some Champagne (or any other French sparkling wine) in a 1:4 ounce ratio, pop in a cherry, and voila! Grand Marnier-ita — combine tequila, lime juice, and a splash of Grand Marnier, salt the rim, and garnish with lemon wedges to enjoy an exotic margarita. Grand Marnier Smash — muddle some mint leaves with lemon, add ice and a generous splash of Grand Marnier, and enjoy.
Gift a bottle of Grand Marnier
If extravagant gestures are part of your love language, go ahead and gift someone special a bottle of Grand Marnier. Trust us, they will have all the feels. As a bonus, why not share a drink together, too.
Learn about fine liquor
This is a fascinating topic to research. Whether you watch a documentary or go down a rabbit hole on the internet, you are sure to come across many fascinating facts and emerge more knowledgeable than ever. This will definitely give you an edge at your next cocktail party, as you wow folks with your technical know-how and fun factoids.
5 Delicious Recipes Using Grand Marnier To Make You Say ‘Ooh La La’
Classic crepes, but with a zesty twist of orange juice and orange liqueur.
Canard a l’Orange
Roasted duck bathed in a glorious, boozy, citrus sauce made with Grand Marnier.
Grand Marnier marmalade
Definitely not your average marmalade, thanks to the addition of bitter-orange Grand Marnier.
Grand Marnier cream frosting
With just a hint of spirits and citrus notes, this frosting goes beautifully on lemon pound cake or any other cake, really.
Yule log/Buche de Noel
The French version of this features an orange mousse filling that adds a festive zing thanks to the addition of Grand Marnier liqueur.
Why We Love National Grand Marnier Day
A reason to drink
Let’s be real, for those of us who love a good cocktail (or boozy desserts), drinking holidays give us a reason to explore and expand our horizons, as we try new drinks and acquire new tastes. And let’s not forget that social drinking is thoroughly enjoyable, too.
National Grand Marnier Day is the perfect excuse to try something entirely new in the kitchen. From desserts to meats to sauces, this liqueur is versatile and adds pizzazz to everything it’s incorporated into.
Because the Grand Marnier brand originated in France, it opens up a whole world of knowledge and culture to us as we learn more about the cognac and its origins, and develop an appreciation for the richness it brings, just in terms of knowledge itself.
National Grand Marnier Day dates