Thursday, January 19, 2006

Searching For La Creme


This week my wife and I took a spiritual journey through Scotland--enjoying the airs and the flavors of the Isle of Jura, Macallan, Glenmorangie and Glenfiddich. More plainly, we sampled various brands of Scotch at a tasting hosted by Cady's Grill & Bar in Depot Town, Ypsilanti.

It is time to restock my bar. I have some Irish whiskey, a bottle of Absolut, some Johnny Walker Red, a couple cream liquers and a bottle of Gusana Rojo Mezcal. I want to add on.

Learning to mix cocktails was a goal never quite realized though I have a stainless steel cocktail shaker, a Benson and Hedges booklet of drink recipes and a very old bottle of Jock Collins bar syrup. I don't even have a favorite alcoholic drink. Still looking for la creme de la creme.

So far as the Scotch whiskeys we sampled, I liked the Macallan, which our host said also scored very well in Michael Jackson's Malt Whisky Companion. (Not that Michael Jackson) The missus didn't have a favorite. In fact, the faces she made when sipping reminded me of a one-year-old's first experience with creamed spinach.

"You're destroying the ambiance," I warned her.

So my search for the perfect apertif continues. My Virginia friend Bob intrigued me years ago with what he said was a "must find." Creme de Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is a very fine, expensive Cognac liquer. Creme de Grand Marnier must be truly special. But I could not find it. Neither could Bob. I kept my eyes open over the years in the occasional liquor store. I assumed Bob did too.

Then recently when I brought up the subject again in an e-mail, Bob said that Creme de Grand Marnier is not imported to this country any longer. It may only be purchased in Europe. He mentioned his wife had brought him back two bottles after a trip to Scandinavia.

"And, no, you can't have one," he quickly added.

Well, I responded that I owed him one wild goose chase then.

Over the holidays I spent time searching for what my Australian internet buddy Peter termed "the food of the gods." Ricadonna Asti, a sparkling white wine produced in a small Italian vinyard. I don't drink wine particularly, but I thought it would make a good gift for the wine lovers on my list.

Stopping by the area's largest wine store, I asked the wine adviser about it. He said he wasn't familiar with the brand, adding that he was more of a fan of Australian wines. I wanted to say, "Well, this wine was recommended by an Australian. What kind of a wine steward are you?"

Never did find Ricadonna Asti. My Canadian internet buddy Trucker Bob suggested I locate a bottle of 12-year-old Gibson's whiskey. I'm hoping that will be easier.

21 Comments:

Anonymous Peter said...

Hi Dave, the linking gods were certainly at work there.... Scaaaary.
If you revisit your Australian Wine Loving Store again, try for a bottle, or three, of "Asti Spumante" don't be put of by the name, This is an Australian wine which is very similar to the Ricadonna.
Good luck.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Me1issa said...

I'm afraid I can't really add to this conversation. I'm not much of a drinker myself and not knowledgeable about any of this. But I did want to say hello and wish you a good evening.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Sounds like you had a blast! My hubby and I love to visit wine vineyards. It's so neat to see those giant oak casks, and hear how the wine was made. At some of the Italian festivals I go to, they have grape-stomping contests.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Kristy said...

Sounds like fun! Of course, I'm one of those people who buy wine based on how pretty the label is. And I like coffee liqueurs because they always come in the best bottles!

10:46 PM  
Blogger bornfool said...

So you can tell the difference in the different brands of scotch? I probably couldn't, but I'm more of a beer and wine person. Although I do enjoy an occasional gin and tonic or whiskey sour. Oh yeah, and margaritas...wonderful margaritas.

5:52 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

You didn't like the Glenfiddich? Send it to me. All you can.

For vodka: SKYY. Smooth as a baby's butt.

10:36 AM  
Blogger schnoodlepooh said...

You know, I think beer is pretty easy to find. ........ burp.

11:00 AM  
Blogger poopie said...

I've never tasted Scotch. Being the redneck that I am, I tend toward beer ;)

7:49 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

I'm with Poopie. I had one sip of scotch in my life, and I thought it was the worst thing I ever had. I'm all about beer, baby!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

What a great trip you and your wife had, even without the grog.
Sorry about the acquaintance of
yours who came to such an unhappy
ending. We should all live for the
moment. It may be all we have.
Thanks for your visit to Herons Nest. Cheers.

5:23 PM  
Blogger WordWhiz said...

Perhaps Peter could send you some of that Creme de Grand Marnier from his side of the pond!!

5:26 PM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

We have a bottle of Perrier Jouet Champagne on ice to celebrate the almost cinched victory for the Seattle Seahawks!!

6:26 PM  
Anonymous vicki said...

I knew it! I knew it! As soon as I was halfway through this post I knew Hoss would have been here and said Skyy!
They didn't let you try the best stuff: Balvinie.
I think it would be fun to be a "mixologist."

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ran across your blog while searching for Grand Marnier Creme myself. I TOO am a fan of the Creme De Grand Marnier. I'm sorry to tell you this.. but Grand Marnier stopped production of this delicious concoction over 8 years ago. Up until a few months ago it was only available in Europe (France, mainly). Some bottles are being sold in Japan and on eBay. The freshness of them is LONG past. Don't be tempted to buy them or drink them. Here is a link to Grand Marnier to show you more of the bad news.http://www.grand-marnier.com/gmv2/us/grand-marnier.htm

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent 15 yrs looking for a bottle of Creme de Grand Marnier. Not any where in US, Mex.,or Canada.
One day I was refinancing a Greek restaurant in Tucson, AZ and after having dinner was in the lounge area listening to live Greek music and look up at different bottles of liquor behind bar and to my surprise there was a bottle of Creme de Grand Marnier. I ask my host if he had any more - "yes" he still had two more from a case he'd bought several years before. Asked him if he knew what Tequila brandy "Aguvaro"(liquid gold)was - he said no - I offered to trade him for the Creme de Grand Marnier - and he agreed. End of story - I now have an unopened bottle of Creme de Grand Marnier storied with my rare wines and vintage ports. Sometimes life is good!!

1:12 PM  
Blogger joe kay said...

i have an unopen bottle of creme de grand marnier in the original box. If interested e-mail me at joekay4653@optonline.net

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read your comments Here I am with a bottle of Guess what? "Creme De Grand Marnier" in my hands unopened and I will have a sip one day for you. found it in an old cellar.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jdub21.... I just got bacc from france and got 2bottles of creme de grand marnier if anyone is intrested....

1:52 PM  
Blogger ryan jenkins said...

I have a bottle of Creme De Grand Marnier Liqueur which comes in a decorative tin box. I'm wondering what it's worth?

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Factory said they finally completely discontinued making Creme de Grand Marnier for distribution everywhere in 1999. They also said it was only good for 1 year because of the cream and should be kept refrigerated.

I was searching for some because our 5 bottles, unopened in the box, kept in lower level which is cooler, have turned to a rubbery solid. I opened just one of them, the rest are not liquid.

There are people trying to sell these old ones, but don't buy them. Factory said even if were a liquid it would be unsafe to drink because of the cream. They are only useful as a collectible.

It was the best but they couldn't compete with the cheaper versions.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Factory said they finally completely discontinued making Creme de Grand Marnier for distribution everywhere in 1999. They also said it was only good for 1 year because of the cream and should be kept refrigerated.

I was searching for some because our 5 bottles unopened in the box, kept in lower level which is cooler, have turned to a rubbery solid. I opened just one of them, the rest are not liquid.

There are people trying to sell these old ones, but don't buy them. Factory said even if were a liquid it would be unsafe to drink because of the cream. They are only useful as a collectible.

It was the best but they couldn't compete with the cheaper versions.

9:44 PM  

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