Homemade Grand Marnier Clone
While this is a project that is simple, it is definitely one that requires forethought. At a bare minimum, this liqueur takes 2 months to be ready. And yes, it will be delicious at 2 months, but if you go all out, whole hog, pedal to the metal and give it the full six months to age you will be rewarded with an amazing depth of flavor and smoothness. Of course, if your patience is anything like mine, you’ll want to try it sooner, so do what I do: divvy the batch into two containers, one for now and one for later. ~or~ Double the batch! You could quadruple it for the same price as a 750ml bottle of the real deal. And I think you’ll find that this is not only just as good as the ‘benchmark’ but even better!
- The zest of 8 oranges (gently washed and toweled dry before hand). Take care to get the zest only- no white pith!
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 4 cups brandy (Using a better quality brandy or cognac will result in a much smoother sipping finished product.)
- optional, 1 teaspoon liquid vegetable glycerine (This creates a finished product with a more velvety mouth feel.)
Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the sugar over the zest in a mid-sized bowl or mortar and squish together with a pestle or the back of a heavy spoon. Continue smooshing and adding sugar 1/4 cup at a time until the sugar and orange zest are almost paste-like. Transfer this mixture to a large, clean jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour the brandy over the mixture and stir well. Cap tightly and age 1-3 months, shaking weekly, in a cool, dark place. (Basements are usually perfect for this!)
After at least 4 weeks (the longer you let this age, the better it will be!) shake the jar well and pour the mixture through a fine mesh stainless-steel strainer into a bowl or large measuring cup with a spout. Rinse the strainer and the jar that you used to age the liqueur. Line the strainer with cheesecloth or a clean tea towel and pour the liqueur back into the aging jar. If using the liquid glycerine, stir it in at this point. Cap tightly again and continue aging for an additional 1-3 months.