For Cocktails or Cakes: Orange Liqueur

Ingredient Spotlight

Orange liqueurs like Cointreau and Grand Marnier have got it going on. Blend a shot or two into a top-shelf margarita and then add a few tablespoons to cake batter for an orange-y warmth. A bottle of orange liqueur in your cupboard is like liquid gold. What's your favorite brand?

If you've never tried orange liqueur on its own, give it a sip next time you're mixing a cocktail. It's silky, warming, and bursting with pure orange essence. Most orange liqueurs are made from by infusing a mix of sweet and bitter orange peels into straight alcohol, much like making limoncello. Grand Marnier gets an additional depth by using brandy as the infusing medium.

The same sweet-sour quality that makes orange liqueurs such a snazzy cocktail ingredient also makes them a great ingredient in the kitchen. When mixed into baked goods, orange liqueur adds just a hint of orange-y goodness. For a more powerful punch, use it in frosting or syrups. Good-quality orange liqueurs can be served all on their own as a pre-dinner aperitif or an after-dinner digestif.

Feeling the urge for some orange now?! Take a look at these recipes:

Cocktails:

The Lucien Gaudin: Gin, campari, orange liqueur, and vermouth
The Knicker Twist: Vodka, orange liqueur, lime, and apricot jam
Poinsettia: Cranberry juice, sparkling white wine, and orange liqueur
The Golden Dream: Orange liqueur, Galliano, orange juice, and cream
All About Margaritas: Tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice

Other Recipes:

Blood Orange Syllabub
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Tarte Aux Pommes
How to Make a Sweet Bread Pudding
Sustainable Seafood Stew

What's your favorite brand of orange liqueur and what do you make with it?

Related: Make It Now, Gift It Later: Crema di Limoncello

(Image: Emma Christensen)