Drink recipe: Rouge Noir

I’m heartened to see how the bar industry is pitching in to help benefit the crisis in Haiti. This morning I walked past Wildwood BBQ; they’ve created a special cocktail and 50% of all proceeds from the drink will go to help the earthquake victims in Haiti. Sunday night I’ll be headed to a “Hearts & Cocktails for Haiti” benefit at BAR*CELONA.  And while not strictly bar-related, dynamic food writer Ramin Ganeshram is organizing a Food 4 Haiti cookbook sale and food festival on Jan. 30 (I’ve donated a signed copy of Spice & Ice for auction, among the many, many other books that will be on offer.)

But the earthquake also potentially affects a spirits brand I was recently introduced to:  Combier’s Liqueur d’Orange and Royal Combier both are made with orange peels sourced from plantations throughout the island of Haiti.

So it makes sense to add Combier to the list of do-gooders: the company will donate 20% of all earnings from January 20 until March 1, 2010 to Doctors Without Borders – Emergency Relief Fund in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

With this in mind, I’m featuring a Valentine’s Day drink made with Combier Rouge, which the company describes as “light and fruity with hints of pepper and licorice.”  Although I didn’t detect much in the way of pepper when I tried the liqueur, it does have a  rich ruby color (it’s made with black cherries), and pleasing cordial-like sweetness balanced with a touch of bitter orange and spice.

Like Chartreuse and Benedictine, apparently Combier Rouge is another in the currently fashionable family of monk-made (or at least monk-invented) liqueurs. According to the press materials:  “The original composition for Rouge was first conceived in 1632 by the Reverend Mother Gautron of the Benedictine Abbey of Samur, and became so popular that it delighted the court of King Louis XIV.  True to tradition, it is still produced much like it was nearly 400 years ago.”

Rouge Noir Cocktail

Rouge Noir

1.5 oz Combier Rouge
.5 oz Combier Orange Liqueur
4 oz brut
1 Orange zest

Pour Combier’s Rouge and Orange Liqueur in champagne flute. Top with champagne. Garnish with 1 orange zest.


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