An interview—and a cocktail—with Grand Marnier's Master Blender
Patrick Raguenaud, Grand Marnier’s Master Blender and president of the Professional National Cognac Bureau in France, recently visited Canada. He spent a few minutes talking with Drink with Me about cognac trends, Grand Marnier's range and the new Grand Marnier Cuvee Louis Alexandre.
The Louis Alexander—a blend of 82 per cent fine old VSOP Cognac and 18 per cent liqueur made from wild oranges—was created as an homage to Grand Marnier's founder, Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle, who created the original Grand Marnier more than 100 years ago.
"The appeal and excellence of this exquisite creation was recognized by Louis-Alexandre’s dear friend César Ritz, who suggested he give Grand Marnier its current name, stating it was 'a grand name for a grand product,'" according to the Grand Marnier team.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the Cuvee Louis-Alexandre. What makes it special?
A: The objective was to create a Cuvée between Grand Marnier's Cordon Rouge and the Cuvée du Centenaire. The character is between the orange and the Cognac, between the strong orange character of the Cordon Rouge and the sophistication of the Centenaire.
Q: How do you recommend serving the Louise Alexandre?
The character of the Louis Alexandre allows for a great versatility. It is a light, delicate product with a very subtle taste. Everyone can drink it neat, with ice or in cocktails.
Q: And what about the Cuvee du Centenaire? Tell me a little bit about it.
A: It is a great and sophisticated product with a rich complexity and a unique taste. It is really a great product made with a XO Cognac, which give a complexity and length, with a mellow character.
Q: What sort of challenges did you face, creating the Cuvee Louise-Alexandre, something new for a brand as iconic as Grand Marnier?
A: To be humble—this is the challenge.
Q: How is climate change impacting you and your region?
A: We harvested our grapes earlier than in the past, so we can maintain our quality, which is essential.
Q: As president of the National Cognac Bureau, what are some of the trends you are seeing globally?
A: The main trend is growth in (demand for) quality, sophistication and origins. The Cognac and Grand Marnier are a full expression of this demand... I am very confident for the future of Grand Marnier.
And below, an easy recipe from Raguenaud and the team at Grand Marnier, for your next cocktail party...
The Grand Marnier Grand 75
In a champagne flute, pour 1.5 oz Grand Marnier (Louis-Alexandre or Cordon Rouge)
Add 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Top with 2 oz Champagne
Lemon or orange twist, to garnish