Want to give your margarita or sidecar a little spin? Try a triple sec that’s a bit different — based on yuzu instead of orange. This new, limited edition offering comes courtesy of Maison Ferrand and longtime partner David Wondrich, whose Dry Curacao is a high-end bar staple.
Here are all the particulars:
“We wanted to create a Curaçao that showcases the fascinating aromatics of Yuzu in a sophisticated 19th century style brought forward by brandy and cognac. This would not have been possible without the learnings and research that David and I had done many years before when creating the classic orange Dry Curaçao from historical recipes. With our team, I traveled to Corsica and Morocco to understand the many aspects of Yuzu. Our research led us to the beautiful Moroccan citrus estate of L’Agrumiste. We are very proud of the end result, with its beautiful aromatics of citrus complemented by an unparalleled complexity and gourmandise due to the presence of brandy and cognac. I must say, this was really a feat to distill and blend. We love creating these one of kind expressions, most of which we enjoy with friends here at the distillery. It makes me extremely happy when a first sip puts a sparkle in the eyes of the drinker. In the end, this is why we work so hard,” says Alexandre Gabriel.
Sourced from L’Agrumiste, a biodiverse orchard in the Mediterranean specializing in more than 250 exotic fruit varieties, the Yuzu grown here are typically harvested in the fall via a strict hand-picking process. For Ferrand Dry Curaçao Yuzu, to capture the true essence of the citrus, the fruit are left on the trees after they’ve reached their peak ripeness and harvested late in the season, past their peak maturity. “We established that we should not be using the Yuzu harvested in the fall, but rather wait for a late harvest in February. By then, the fruit has lost some of its juice to the benefit of delicious and concentrated flavors and aromas of sweet Yuzu that are great to distill,” says Alexandre. This late harvest technique concentrates the aromas of this exceptional citrus, allowing the team at Maison Ferrand to capture incredible pastry notes, which marry extremely well with the Ferrand Cognac base.
The Mediterranean climate, with its ideal balance between mild winter and abundant sunshine in the summer, accompanied by irrigation only, gives the citrus their exceptional flavor. A fertile land for several thousand years, the orchards at L’Agrumiste have an exceptional terroir and have been growing citrus fruits since the time of Homer’s mythology. The L’Agrumiste team have chosen a traditional agricultural method to preserve the health of the land – weeding by hand, leaving certain areas untouched to encourage the proliferation of species – and have started the process for 100% organic certification.
To make Ferrand Dry Curaçao Yuzu Late Harvest, a maceration of the whole Yuzu is infused in a grape spirit for one week. This infusion is then slowly distilled in Ferrand’s stills. In the 19th century, Master Blenders used the technique of vegetal infusion to bring forward the aromatics of oranges. Resurrecting this long-forgotten tradition, Ferrand infuses their botanical ingredients in a grape spirit. The Yuzu distillate is then married with a touch of Yuzu infusion, a hint of bourbon vanilla, brandy, and Ferrand Cognac. Et voilà!
The liqueur, a bright yellow in color, is indeed “dry” as Ferrand’s classic curacao is: From the nose alone you can tell its sweetness has been tamed, prompting a slightly bitter-sour aroma that’s more citrus peel than juice (or syrup). Meyer lemon mixed with mandarin orange is how I’d describe the nose best. The palate has some sweetness but again it’s quite tame, a sweet and sour affair that pops with lemon peel and a hint of tropicality — more mango than pineapple. The finish is both sharp and rich, offering a lengthy denouement with a touch of vanilla in the mix.
I found the way it paired with blanco tequila in a margarita to be outstanding, and it works wonders with brandy, too.
A / $36 (700ml) / cognacferrand.com