This post is part of a partnership with Gran Gala. All opinions are my own. You can learn more about my preferred orange liqueur here.
It’s finally here – the first official day of Spring! Winter always seems to drag on and on here in New Hampshire, but lately these longer days make it feel like warm spring breezes are just around the corner.
I’m welcoming the new season with plenty of fresh and fruity cocktails, and today I’m sharing two recipes I’ve created with Gran Gala Orange Liqueur. I’ve loved Gran Gala for years, long before I ever knew how to make a proper cocktail. Years ago, I used to make a frozen blender cocktail with strawberries, Gran Gala and tequila that wasn’t too shabby, and looking back, it was sort of a strawberry margarita. The quality of the orange flavor vastly improved my improvised cocktails at the time, and as my interest in craft cocktails has grown, I’ve continued to stock a bottle in my home bar.
If you’re not familiar, Gran Gala is made with Italian VSOP brandy, giving it a depth of flavor and smoothness not found in your average triple sec liqueur. One of the very fundamentals of creating a good cocktail is quality of ingredients, and the orange liqueur category is definitely one where quality is immediately noticeable in the flavor of the final drink. Whether you’re making a simple sour or a complex tiki drink, I highly recommend keeping a quality bottle of orange liqueur on hand. You can really taste the difference!
The first cocktail I’m sharing is a riff on the classic Corpse Reviver No.2. The Corpse Reviver No.2 is a perfectly balanced blend of gin, orange liqueur, lemon juice and the white aperitif wine, Lillet Blanc. It’s great any time of year, but I’ve put a warm weather spin on things by muddling some fresh raspberries and swapping out Lillet Blanc for Lillet Rose, a blush-hued aperitif wine made from red and white Bordeaux wines, herbs and fruit. I’ve used Gran Gala in place of a basic triple sec liqueur, adding richness with its brandy base. This Spring Reviver is fresh, fruity, sweet and tart – the perfect thing to sip on in the garden in the late afternoon. Ahh, I can’t wait to enjoy happy hour outside again!
Next up is a simple, fairly low-ABV cocktail that’s perfectly suited to a Sunday brunch on a warm spring day. This Italian-themed bubbly drink features Prosecco, Gran Gala, fresh pink grapefruit juice, and apricot brandy. The bright, crisp flavors of citrus and apricot blend beautifully with bubbles and taste like an afternoon in the Mediterranean. Always working on my citrus garnish game these days, I saw this cocktail as an excellent opportunity to try out a new grapefruit peel leaf design. For more citrus carved garnishes, check out some of my latest posts over on Instagram.
What are your favorite Spring cockfails?
1 oz London dry gin
1 oz Gran Gala Orange Liqueur
1 oz Lillet Rose
1 oz lemon juice
.25 oz simple syrup (if necessary, to taste)*
Instructions: Muddle raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and plenty of ice and shake until chilled. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a raspberry.
*Raspberries can be a bit tart and I found the cocktail to be more balanced with the addition of a quarter ounce of simple syrup. If your raspberries are perfectly ripe and sweet, feel free to omit the syrup.
1 oz freshly squeezed and strained pink grapefruit juice
.5 oz Gran Gala Orange Liqueur
.25 oz apricot brandy
Instructions: Add first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Fine strain into a champagne flute and top with chilled Prosecco. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.