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K&L Best of 2010 Awards: Liqueurs

This award was a close call, but interestingly enough I had these both for 1 and 2, and so did David.  That makes it an easy dual award.  The K&L Liqueur(s) of the Year award goes to:

David D picks: Firelit Blue Bottle Coffee Liqueur - I must first off say that I am just as floored with the Marie & Fils 25 year Pineau des Charentes, but the Firelit Coffee Liqueur dominated this year's liqueur sales.  That's not to say that I'm picking it solely because of sales - the Firelit is freakin' amazingly good.  The coffee comes through in pure, concentrated tones and the sweetness is just present enough to balance it out.  Dave Smith came through in the clutch with this liqueur and proved that he is a force to be reckoned with over at St. George.  This is what I will be buying my family members for Christmas this year.  It's the kind of thing that people taste and say, "Wow, that's great!"

David OG picks: Marie & Fils 25 Year Old Pineau des Charentes - Nicholas Palazzi, where did you come from?  All of sudden you walk into our lives and bring us these amazing Cognacs and Cognac-based products!  All of a sudden you blow our minds with what we thought brandy could be!  The 25 year old PdC is from one barrel distilled in 1985 that sat in France until Nicolas decided to bottle it.  There is nothing in the port, sherry, or liqueur world that can touch this product.  It is simply spellbinding.  Everyone who has tasted it has freaked out.  We look forward to many more dealings with Mr. Palazzi and his exquisite bottlings. 

In other news, I decided to experiment with some of the Chartreuse & Chocolate cocktails I read about in the Cocktail Chronicles today.  The idea sounded great and we have a nice little Creme de Cacao on close out. 

I decided to make both the Green Glacier and the Prospector.  The Green Glacier was my wife's favorite with it's bold flavors and spice complemented by the Angostura bitters.  I, however, prefered the Prospector with the addition of orange liqueur to round out the texture.  I like the combo of chocolate, orange, and herbs - very tasty.  I also got the secret recipe for Bar Agricole's newest Egg Nog cocktail and I LOVED it - brandy, rum, eggs, milk, sugar, nutmeg - delish!  So creamy and Christmas-y.  I will be making this drink for my family this Christmas Eve, and maybe in the morning as well!

-David Driscoll

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Reader Comments (10)

What do you recommend for a quality dark creme de cacao? I was able to score a bottle of the Marie Brizard white creme de cacao which is excellent but the dark was sold out.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFil

The Joseph Cartron is great, but I've had it for over a year and have never sold one bottle. It's down to $12.99 instead of the normal $26 and still no one wants it!

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid D

Sounds like a deal, I'll order a bottle next time. What are your thoughts about carrying Marie Brizard products? Their apry is best in class (imo) but rothman and orchard is not bad. I get more of the pit taste in the apry, somewhat reminiscent of maraschino. Either way, they make some fine products.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFil

Allow me to be ignorant about the cognac/brandy world for a second. I'm confused by the makeup of the Pers Fils. Is it Brandy? Cognac? Wine mixed with Brandy that was aged a while?

What's the shelf life on it? Approachable to wine/dessert wine drinkers who don't usually drink liquor?


December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStrongLikeCask

Dan - Pineau des Charentes is like port, but with cognac instead of Portuguese brandy and with French wine instead of the three Port red varieties. Brandy is added to the wine before all the sugar is fermented and that creates a sweet fortified liqueur that can be aged in a barrel, much like a Tawny port.

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Thanks, David!

Would you also be able to give guidelines for how long it would last (both before opening and after opening)?

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStrongLikeCask

That's the downside. They don't last like whiskies, They oxidize like port, so maybe 3 months before it really starts to turn?

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Nothing that a full house over the holidays can't take care of, then.

Thanks, again!

December 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStrongLikeCask

That Cartron stuff is delicious! Normally a whisky drinker, I have a soft spot for dessert drinks, and have trouble finding chocolate liqueurs that I like period, but especially ones that are affordable. When you mentioned you had a good one on closeout, I ordered a bottle and got it yesterday and... yum. Didn't even need to A / B it with the crummy stuff from the nether regions of the cabinet. It's lovely, complex, actual-chocolate-chocolate taste that has some variety across the palate and into the finish. I might have to lay in another bottle if you're discontinuing it.

December 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel H

Just to be clear, I know I'm nitpicking and this post is old and probably no one will ever read it, but Pineau de Charentes differs from Porto in that it is actually cognac added to fresh grape must (fresh pressed grape juice), not actually vinified wine. This is not done to arrest fermentation as in Port, but to preserve the must and create a delicious apertif/dessert wine. It can be aged for long periods of time depending on quality as long as the proof stays above 30. Below that level bacteria can growth, since the sugar levels are pretty high. Young Pineau will oxidize rather quickly like a ruby port, but I suspect this guy will act more like a tawny giving you several weeks to enjoy its magnificent depth.

December 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid OG

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