Liqueurs are a major part of any bars existence, with many flavours used within many a creation or sipped over ice. Orange, hazelnut, coffee, elderflower, they’re all pure, one single flavour in a bottle. But there is a trend, a trend that can be said to have started with the likes of Grand Marnier, blending cognac with oranges from the Caribbean. Domaine De Canton can also say that they’ve gone along the same path, effectively bringing ginger and cognac together alongside ginseng and vanilla. But how do we come to know and ultimately enjoy?
Domaine de Canton can give its birth to an inspiration. The French tradition in which sweet and fresh elixirs were fortified by eaux de vie and cognac gave way to the production of Domaine de Canton, nodding to a time where spicy and aromatic elixirs became popular with the French during the time of colonial Indochine. However, I’d like to point out that there are actually two births to this story –
Under the name ‘The Original Canton Delicate Ginger Liqueur’ the liqueur was produced until 1997 in Doumen, a district of the city of Zhuhai in the Pearl River Delta of China’s southern Guangdong province, near Macau. It was sold in limited quantity in the United States before high-end Asian fusion cuisine became popular. In its original formulation, the liqueur’s ingredients were advertised to include six varieties of ginger, ginseng, ‘gentle herbs’, ‘finest spirits,’ brandy and honey. Its strength was 20% abv and it was sold in decorative glass bottles of various sizes. The product’s stay on the market lasted from 1992 to 1995 and was officially discontinued after 1997.
Ten years later, John Cooper revived the name and idea by producing a new ginger liqueur called Canton Ginger & Cognac Liqueur. Canton Ginger Liqueur followed a new recipe and John decided to produce it in Jarnac, France. The new formula stayed steady in its packaging, housed in the now award-winning bamboo-shaped bottle. Launched in New York City in August 2007, it was a year later that it changed its name once again to what we come to recognise, Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur.
So how is it created, and more importantly, differs from the original?
Ginger from Vietnam is peeled and cut by hand before being macerated with a small-batch blend of herbs and spices in France’s Aquitaine region. It is then married with VSOP and XO Grande Champagne Cognacs, Tahitian vanilla beans, orange blossom honey from Provence and Tunisian ginseng – all natural, fresh and without preservatives or colours.
Sounds like a great combination, but how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Domaine De Canton – 28%
Light and fragrant on the nose with a developing ginger aroma. A thick texture on the palate, with light notes of ginger and a bitterness coming through from the herbs. It mellows quickly, with dashes of the vanilla and honey blending slowly. Short.
Good on its own, but I think even better within a cocktail –
The Gold Rush
50 ml Domaine de Canton
25 ml Bourbon
12.5 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
Build all ingredients into a mixing glass. Shake vigorously and strain into a Martini glass. Optional cherry garnish.
A great addition to any bar, whether your favourite or your own. It’s different, the bottle looks great and it’s versatile too. Give it a go!
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