If you look around the bar world, there are of course numerous classics among the ingredients. Whether you’re thinking of red Italian bitter liqueur, certain French elderflower liqueurs or intense monastery liqueurs that are no longer so easily available: in all of these categories, there is one world-famous brand that basically everyone knows and it’s hard to imagine (bar) life without it. However, the fact that I have now listed three liqueurs is more of a coincidence – even though today will also be about a liqueur. (provided test product)*
Admittedly, some bartenders try to make the statement that it is not the brands that dictate what happens, but the bars themselves. Jörg Meyer from Hamburg’s Le Lion is certainly a well-known example of this; in the past, he has repeatedly encouraged people to think about this topic. But that’s not really the point today.
I’m more interested in a product that has become one of the classics I mentioned at the beginning: Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao. It’s hard to imagine a bar without it – and if you ask professionals and amateurs alike for a Curaçao recommendation, the name Pierre Ferrand is almost always the first to come up.
If you search this blog, you will quickly discover that I wrote an article about this bottle almost exactly seven years ago. In it, I not only presented the product, but also explained a lot of basic facts about curaçaos and orange liqueurs in general. Today, however, I have the honor of reviewing a bottle that is now more or less newly available on the market as a sibling product: the Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Yuzu. Like its big, famous brother, this Curaçao is also based on a blend of cognac and brandy. With 158g of sugar per liter, it is a liqueur (which is given above 100g/l), but the sugar content is still rather moderate in comparison, which justifies the addition “Dry” to a certain extent. During production, yuzu fruit is first soaked in brandy for a week (for all those who are unfamiliar with this fruit: it is a citrus fruit that is primarily Japanese, but also common in China, with a very complex, spicy and aromatic flavor profile) and then distilled on copper stills. In addition, an infusion of spices (including vanilla) and fruits (yuzu and lemons) is produced by macerating them in brandy for several months. Finally, the distillate and a small amount of infusion are combined, mixed with vanilla, brandy and cognac and rounded off with sugar to create the final product. Finally, it is bottled at 40% vol.
I am very curious to see to what extent this is a new, innovative take on the classic Curaçao.
Aroma: The Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Yuzu is already appealingly complex on the nose. Yuzu notes are immediately present, which combine with notes of other citrus fruits. I find lemons, mandarins and even associations with classic oranges, but the specific yuzu characteristics remain at the forefront. This is followed by herbal notes, some fresh mint, a hint of clove, rich vanilla, a little pepper, but also floral tones.
Taste: An appropriate sweetness, which is by no means too strong, brings the aromas of the liqueur to the palate in an appealing way. The spicy bitterness of its big brother is paired with a beguiling citrus freshness, which is also characterized by the bitter-spicy peel and is therefore very convincing. Spicy, herbal tones are also present here, giving the liqueur depth and complexity.
Finish: long and spicy-fresh
On the label of this bottle, the manufacturer also advertises the collaboration between Ferrand and the US cocktail historian David Wondrich in the conception of the liqueur. The same narrative can also be found on the label of its big brother, which aims to recreate the orange liqueurs of the 19th century. Reason enough for me to take my cue from those 19th century drinks and mix a yuzu twist with the Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Yuzu. My choice fell on the Honey Moon cocktail from Hugo R. Ensslin’s “Recipes for Mixed Drinks” from 1917 – that doesn’t quite put me in the 19th century, but it’s very close, while stylistically the drink fits into that period anyway (and may even have its origins there). The version with the Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Yuzu is a Japanese twist, so to speak, which is why I will simply refer to the drink as Honeymoon in Japan.
Recipe “Honeymoon in Japan” (based on Hugo R. Ensslin, 1917):
6 cl Calvados Domaine du Coquerel Pommeau Barrel Finish
1.5 cl Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao Yuzu
1.5 cl D.O.M. Benedictine
2.25 cl lemon juice
2 dashes Celery Bitters
Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously over ice and strain into a chilled glass. Sprinkle with the oil from an orange zest.
Garnish: Orange zest
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.