We avoided orange liqueur for a long time.
Save for the occasional batch of Margaritas, our bottles languished on the shelf, held hostage to a reputation tarnished by overly sweet snifters and neon-blue drinks.
But our feelings are changing, thanks to bartenders who are thoughtfully incorporating orange-flavored products--both new and classic--into drinks.
We’ve come to love newer-to-the-market products like Combier Liqueur d’Orange ($32) and Pierre Ferrand’s curaçao, both of which are calibrated for mixing. (Try the former in a Sidecar and the latter in a Rum Crusta.)
The real darling of the cocktail menu, however, is Licor 43 ($40), a Spanish import that has recently risen from obscurity to heavy rotation at all of our favorite bars.
The liqueur differs from others on the market in that it is not strictly orange. Citric tartness is mellowed by vanilla notes, resulting in a flavor akin to aged rum.
Licor 43 is flexible in a way that other liqueurs aren’t: We’ve tried it paired with gin at Marvel Bar in Minneapolis, and matched with mezcal in a warm Toddy variation at Contigo in Austin (see the recipe). Rum works as well: At Eastern Standard in Boston, the Ponce de Léon cocktail combines Licor 43 with rum, sherry and orange bitters.