Gran Gala Orange Liqueur

From the beginning of my cocktail experiments, I have been fascinated by orange liqueur, triple sec, curacao, and any other names you might want to line up to describe an essence of orange and a base spirit. I had started with Cointreau, fallen to the bottom shelf with Bols Triple Sec, and climbed halfway back up to find Gran Gala.

As usual, the walk around the ABC store after the first of the month draws my eye towards sales. And on that particular month, I found Gran Gala. Reviews were all over the place, but a blind tasting put it up in the decent realm.

So, purchase made, and back to the Lair. The aroma was sweet and certainly had some orange. It was fine in cocktails, so no complaints. It does bring a punch (of alcohol at 80 proof ) to the punch, so to speak. The only difference from previous or current orange liqueurs I’ve tried is the color. It is sort of a golden brown. Not a big issue, but is does color drinks, where other clear liqueurs don’t (aside from blue curacao) .

Proof: 80 (40% ABV)

Paid: $15 (on sale)

Buy again: Yes

Bols Triple Sec

After trying Cointreau and the realization that sometimes you just don’t like a cocktail and end up pouring it out, I decided to go lower down the shelf for orange liqueurs for experimental cocktails. This time, I left online research behind. I walked into the ABC store and asked the clerk what triple sec was a big seller. The response: Bols Triple Sec. It was a third of the price of  Cointreau at $7.95. Without hesitation, I grabbed a bottle and headed for the register,

Back at the Lair, I unscrewed the top and poured a small amount into a shot glass. I did the same with a bit of Cointreau. The Bols had more of an artificial, or candy, orange aroma. Tasting the two side-by-side surprised me at how sweet they both were. A tiny taste told a similar story, but as always, the alcohol blew away anything else.

I made a scaled down version of a cocktail from each (it could have been a Margarita, it was two years ago). Mixed in with some citrus or another, and with the primary spirit adding its burn, they were mostly identical to me.

It turns out that this would not always be the case, but for now I have learned that a cocktail did not always demand the more expensive ingredient.

Proof: 30 (15%ABV)

Paid: $8 for 750ml

Buy again: No