I just wanted to give a quick shout about a new product. Cointreau Noir appeared at the end of last year without a lot of fanfare, but it's a pretty big deal as far as a new spirit. Years ago in 7x7 I wrote a column on the difference between Grand Marnier and Cointreau. Well this new release from Cointreau only blurs the lines.
First of all, it's very good. A blend of regular Cointreau and an aged Remy Martin Cognac, it's got the signature orange flavor of Cointreau, but whereas that original was bright and sharp, almost to the point of being shrill, this is mellow and tinged with notes of vanilla, spice, and nuts. In short, it's much more like Grand Marnier. I love Grand Marnier, but don't use it for mixing as much as I use Cointreau, whose brightness I think really lifts cocktails. Grand-Ma, as it's known, is great for sipping, over ice, as a float and in some cocktails, particularly when merged with other oak-aged spirits like whiskey, brandy or even an oak-aged wine like Chardonnay.
Cointreau Noir is in between. It's got the signature Cointreau shade of orange flavor, but incurs on Grand Ma territory a bit with that mellow Cognac flavor. I like it a lot. It's tagline is "Nothing to add," however, I have a feeling that it might work well in some drinks. I'll report back after some experimentation. The only drawback on that front is that it's priced like a good cognac: $63.99 at Bevmo. Ouch!