We live in an exceptional era for cocktails. As our appetite for high quality ingredients grows, manufacturers are responding with interesting, unique, and even historic offerings. Case in point: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Ancienne Méthod ($24), a “19th century” dry curacao introduced by cognac maker Pierre Ferrand in 2012. Ferrand Dry Curaçao was painstakingly crafted in cooperation with noted cocktail historian David Wondrich, and is designed to evoke the type of orange liqueur that would have been used in some of the earliest classic cocktails. Immensely drinkable on its own, the spirit has a creamy vanilla flavor and hints of sweetness, balanced by a bitter orange peel finish. At 80 proof, Ferrand Dry Curaçao also has the backbone to stand out and shine against rum, rye, brandy and other like-minded spirits.
This is indeed a serious cocktail ingredient, and will make spectacular classic cocktails such as the Sidecar or Corpse Reviver, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with it. Consider this creation from Death + Company’s Brad Farran, the Julius Orange. This cocktail showcases a generous pour of Dry Curaçao for a playful take on every mall-rats favorite sipper, the Orange Julius.
Julius Orange (from WSJ.com)
2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Ancienne Méthod
½ ounce Cruzan Single Barrel Rum
½ ounce lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla syrup*
½ teaspoon sugar cane syrup
1 dash orange bitters
½ ounce heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker, adding cream last. Shake hard with ice. Strain into a rocks or Collins glass over crushed ice. Garnish with nutmeg.
While this recipe may be touted as a summer sipper, I think the heavy cream, winter citrus, dark spirit and nutmeg make this highly appropriate for an after dinner winter sip by the fire. The Dry Curaçao is really the star here, as the drink bursts with clean, not too sweet and almost bitter orange flavor. The vanilla syrup plays off of the rich vanilla and caramel notes of the rum to add depth and roundness. This is a playful yet surprisingly complex cocktail and a great way to showcase the versatility of the Dry Curaçao.
*Make vanilla simple syrup at home by adding 2 cups sugar to 1 cup boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Split one quarter of a fresh vanilla bean and place in six ounces of the rich simple syrup for 20 minutes, then strain and let cool.