At the close of each summer season there are a few things that comfort me knowing my flip-flops will shortly be replaced by fleece, and one of them is Grand Marnier. I fell for this soul-warming orange liqueur back in my days of baking and pastry classes at The Culinary Institute of America.
It worked so well with sweets: we folded it into mousse, whipped it into cream, mixed it into all things chocolate, and yes we sipped it too.
The camaraderie of the kitchen helped us weather those dreary winter days in Hyde Park New York, but it was our evenings at Augie E's* (paying homage to the revered Auguste Escoffier — if you think you are food geeks, we were super culinary nerds) that really got us through. Believe it or not this was an on-campus bar where we'd head after class to have a drink and hash out our war wounds from the day's battle in the kitchen. After a day of taste-testing olive oils, or butchering half a calf we loved our down time and the drinks were all part of the experience.
Sipping Grand Marnier warmed me up. I like the sweet syrupy orange flavor, but on a recent visit back to that squat bottle I found my palate had dramatically changed. Instead of abandoning my old fave I remembered how well it played with other flavors so I reached back into the bar to find it a suitable mate.
Grand-Ma, as we lovingly called it, and still do in my house, is excellent when mixed with fruit combos especially Açai. So here's a cocktail to take you from the light and fruity side sips of summer into the richer more soul soothing drinks of fall and winter. Order some crispy fish tacos for takeout, mix up one of these and you'll have a very happy, happy hour in 10-minutes time.
The Grand Veev Cocktail
2 ounces VeeV, Açai spirit
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce acai juice
Lime wedge for garnish
In a shaker filled with ice add the Veev, Grand Marnier, lime juice and Açai juice.
Shake and strain into a glass filled with ice.
Add a wedge of lime for garnish.
* Augie E's was sadly closed during my time at the CIA. I'm not exactly sure why, but could think of million reasons. No matter the memory of it lives on, perhaps not on Google, but with any pre- '98, alumni.
Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices (and advice) with the world. For more info check out www.maureenpetrosky.com or follow her on Twitter @maureenpetrosky.
(Images: Maureen Petrosky)