Liqueur Recommendations
Posted: 08 January 2011 09:25 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I am slowly building up my stock of liqueurs for baking. ( And of course for the occasional sip smile ) I have bought the following so far - Grand Marnier,  Kahula, Frangellico and Chambrod.

I am just curious as to what are everyone’s favorite liqueur and any recommendations.

I would really like to add the following flavors to my collection:  Amaretto, Vanilla, Lemon, Cherry, Strawberry, and chocolate.  I just am not sure which brands are good and which ones I shouldn’t bother with.  Can you tell I don’t drink hardly at all.  I can’t stand the taste of beer.  I can only tolerate very sweet wines mixed with gingerale. I prefer mixed drinks if I have one.

Ok, another silly question - I have heard people using bourbon for bourbon whipped cream and flavoring mousseline with cognac.  Well, I have no clue as to what they are.  Liqueur or hard liquor?  What do they taste like?  Would it be worth it for me to add them to my list?  If so, which brands do you recommend?

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Posted: 08 January 2011 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Definitely having some Cognac on hand is a good idea!  It’s absolutely fabulous in ganache!  I’m no liqueur expert, but cognac is a type of brandy, (has to be grown in the Cognac region) I believe.  So you could probably just buy brandy to.  It’s about 40% alcohol so definitely—but is more of a liqueur.  I can’t drink vodka/rye solo, but I can drink Cognac solo!  I occasionally use Kirsch, Navan is vanilla “flavoured” Cognac?  I’m wanting to get my hands on some Poire William eau de Vie—there’s a pear tart in TPB that I am wanting to try—- pears have been fabulous lately and I think this liqueur could be deadly too!

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Posted: 08 January 2011 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I can only tolerate very sweet wines mixed with gingerale.

Liza, I know very little about alcohol, so I can only offer a smart remark in the form of a movie suggestion.  If you like moview, try to find the movie “A New Leaf” with Walter Matthau and Elaine May and wait ... just wait ... for the part about the Mulago Cooler.  Bonus:  This movie is really, really funny and has a happy ending.

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Posted: 09 January 2011 03:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I am curious. What is the difference between framboise liqueur and chambord? Which one is better?

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Posted: 09 January 2011 10:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Liza, perhaps start with the tiny bottles of any new liquor, as they are not all great for sipping.  In addition to the ones you have, you might consider:

-Amaretto (di Saronno, if you don’t object to the price),  great for syruping classic genoise.

-a reasonably good cognac for ganache and for brandied cherries (I haven’t used it in buttercream).  The best cognac/brandy I have come across for ganache is actually an Armenian brandy, if you have a local Armenian community you might want to consider it.  It’s a hard liquor made from wine.

-if you like the idea of bourbon whipped cream, perhaps a little Maker’s Mark bourbon (wonderful with pecan pie).  It’s hard liquor (whiskey), so use less than with a sweet liqueur like Amaretto or Frangelico.

-I also use a fair amount of gold rum for ganache, brioche, gateaux Breton and Basque, and the odd buttercream (pineapple).  It’s also hard liquor.  My personal preference is for Appleton Estate Gold VX rum, I’ve never been a big fan of Myer’s dark (though it’s a good brand and many people love it). 

-Perhaps a bottle of very good quality Kirsch (cherry eau de vie), which goes with many things. If you decide to get one, spring for a good one as the bad/cheap ones are truly awful. 

You mentioned Vanilla and Lemon- I have a bottle of vanilla cognac (Navan) and I can’t quite decide if I really like it or not.  The balance of cognac/vanilla is pretty heavily slanted towards cognac, and there are definitely some ethereal, floral flavors that are unusual.  I haven’t tried it yet with mousseline or genoise.  For Lemon, I do like limoncello, but I’m not sure it’s vital to a collection, I don’t use mine very often.

Editing to say, I use brandy/cognac, rum and Grand Marnier the most often, followed by Amaretto and Frangelico.  I use limoncello, bourbon and marsala only occaisionally, the marsala is only for Tiramisu, but as it isn’t very expensive but is so very, very good in Rose’s Tiramisu, I would get it if you decide to make that.  I haven’t yet sprung for a good bottle of Kirsch, but I should as I would probably use it regularly.

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Posted: 09 January 2011 11:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks so much everyone.

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Posted: 10 January 2011 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Good thread- definitely a learning experience for me.

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Posted: 10 January 2011 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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michaelnrdx - 09 January 2011 07:51 AM

I am curious. What is the difference between framboise liqueur and chambord? Which one is better?

Chambord is a sweet, dark reddish-purple, black raspberry liqueur.  It has a lower alcohol content than hard liquors.

I’m not sure what framboise liqueur is.  If you mean raspberry eau de vie, then it is red raspberry (not black) flavored, not sweetened, and higher proof than a liqueur.  Technically, it is a clear brandy. 

If, on the other hand, you’re talking about a true liqueur, it will be flavored, colored and sweetened (as opposed to the distilled, clear, and unsweetened eau di vie).  A Johnny-come-lately to those of us die-hard classicists. smile

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Posted: 10 January 2011 11:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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For some of these liquor, if you go to a big liquor store, they often have small bottles of it that cost anywhere between $1 to $3-$4. I know they have small bottles of grand marnier, frangelico, amaretto, chambord. Can you tell I’ve bought them?

I do not like the taste/smell of bourbon - I think it’s horrid by itself, but it does wonders to whipped cream. When I made the pecan pie and need to use bourbon I buy a small bottle of it. Cost me $1.50 smile.

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Posted: 10 January 2011 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Yes, bourbon is magic with pecan pie!  I haven’t yet found any other place to use it where it is as good, so I concur a small bottle is best. smile

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Posted: 10 January 2011 11:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Are any brands preferable? I bought only 1 liquor so far. We don’t drink at all so there is nothing in my house.  I needed a dark rum and on that day, Martha Stewart had a show where she used Myer’s Jamaican Rum.  I do need to get a bourbon and/or cognac. Should I look for any particular brands?

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Posted: 10 January 2011 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Bourbon- there are a lot of opinions and loyalities among bourbon aficionados, but I’ll risk an uproar and say that I like Maker’s Mark.  If the small bottles only feature Wild Turkey (not the liqueur), well, then I’d go for that, or maybe even Jack Daniels, if the other two aren’t available, though it isn’t considered a true bourbon. 

Cognac/brandy- the best I’ve ever put into ganache is from Armenia, a gift from a student studying here.  I can’t read the label, as it is in Armenian, but there are a number available here in the U.S. in well-stocked liquor stores in major cities.  Now that I’ve used all of that, I’m currently using a French VS, but it isn’t quite the same, sigh.

Perhaps someone else will chime in with an enthusiastic cognac recommendation?  If you were going to drink it as well as put it in ganache or cherries, I’d opt for something like Delamain Pale/Dry, or Henessey VSOP, but they are pricey.

Can you tell I once worked as a bartender?

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Posted: 10 January 2011 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I use Myers Jamaican Rum and it’s good. But I’m not a liqour expert at all. Usually when I buy liquor like bourbon or brandy I go for small bottle and the cheaper one.

Julie - I was getting really impressed with your knowledge of brand and types of alcohol! I was sitting here thinking that Julie is very knowledgeable, she even knows liqour stuff!

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Posted: 16 January 2011 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I knew I had some notes around, and I just found them.  This is from a cookbook called Baking —it’s that really big one by that guy (helpful, no?).*  Anyway, as I say, I know nothing about this, but these are my notes:

Eaux de vie (Kirsch or framboise) should be French, German or Swiss
Bourbon should be “straight” not “blended”
Rum should be dark rum, perferably pot-stilled, from Martinique
Cognac should say “cognac” and not just “brandy.”  Can be old and rare or young and fruity.

Add to cooled mixtures (cool simple syrup, also) or flavor and aroma will evaporate.

FWIW!

—ak

* Looked it up—it’s by James Peterson

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