It’s a birthday! Today we celebrated my sister’s birthday with a family dinner at PF Changs. It’s always great to get the together with the family, but when done with a family dinner I could always use a drink! When everyone was enjoying their deserts served in shot glasses the choice seemed obvious – time for a first on davedrinks – shooter!
- 0.5 ounce Frangelico
- 0.5 ounce creme de banane
- 0.5 blue curacao
This is a “pousse-cafe” drink – so you have to careful making this. Start with a clean shot glass, and pour in the Frangelico. Next slowly pour in the creme de banane over the back of a spoon, being careful not to mix the ingredients. Finally add the blue curacao over the same way and you have a Blue-Eyed Blonde!
- It’s a family soother.
- Nutty, bannana-y with a hint of orange.
- This would be a great alternative to a sweet treat after dinner!
- Dave’s Rating: 8/10
- Strength: 6/10
- Sweetness: 8/10
- Theis is a great shooter – looks fun and tastes that way too!
Time to learn something.
I am not sure how exactly I came to this conclusion, but I was always under the impression that orange liqueur was orange liqueur, and for fun there were various grades/types that you could select. There was the poor mans version – triple sec in all its generic forms. If you were in the mood for crazy colors you could opt for blue curacao. Then once you graduated college and could afford a little better you could upgrade to Cointreau. If you were crazy you then go all the way for the Grand Marnier – for the baller in you.
Funny thing is, I was wrong. While they are all technically orange liqueurs, they are each made in a very distinct way with different ingredients. They can all be drunk as an aperitif, often over ice or used as the ingredient of a fun libation. Here is the summary:
- Triple Sec. The generic standby. This is actually a type of curacao, but not as sweet as the other varieties.
- Curacao (including the fantastically blue version I sampled here). This is a specific type of liqueur made in the Dutch West Indies using dried sour orange peels. Surprisingly, it was originally made with fruit from the island of Curacao.
- Cointreau. This is technically another curacao, but it has no relation to its Caribbean cousin. This is made from a complex recipe, but the primary difference is that it made from a base of grape brandy – who knew? There is also a secret mix of plant ingredients included to enhance the flavor.
- Grand Marnier. This once should be different – it is the only one that has a brown coloring. This is a further refinement of a curacao, this time using cognac as a base. To mellow the taste it is also cask aged. This is fine enough to enjoy neat if you are no inclined.
Now I know how they are different – how do they taste different? To be honest I had never tried any of these outside of a cocktail recipe, so no time like the present for a taste test.
- Triple Sec – smooth and sweet. When sampled alone almost has the taste of an orange tic-tac. While it is certainly sweet, it is not as sweet as I was expecting.
- Curacao – sweeter, harsher, and in this case blue! While I have to say it is only subtly different from the Triple Sec, it tastes like a less refined version.
- Cointreau – one word – sweet! This is a whole different level of orange liqueur. The smell lures you in with the pleasant hint of orange peels, but the taste is powerful, almost spicy.
- Grand Marnier – totally different again, very much the taste of cognac, and the orange flavor is almost secondary. Not as sweet and definitely more robust a flavor.
Now you know – there is a difference, so my years of reckless substitution are over!