Combier, Haiti and the Blood and Sand


I have had in my possession for some time a bottling of Royal Combier Grande Liqueur, and while I had wanted to mention it, I wasn’t sure how to present it, as I’ve already discussed Combier’s other bottling and had compared it favorably to Cointreau in its use in cocktails. My first thought was to compare it to Grand Marnier’s premium bottling, the Cuvée du Cent Cinquantenaire but quickly realized that this wouldn’t be fair as a) they are two very different beasts and b) the price point of the two bottles was far too dissimilar ($37 as compared to Grand Marnier’s $250). So there went my idea for a post.

But then a little bit of information crossed my desk that I felt that I absolutely needed to share.  Combier USA announced that the company will donate 20% of all earnings from January 20 until March 1, 2010 to Doctors Without Border – Emergency Relief Fund in response to last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. Combier is especially close to this disaster as the orange peels used in Combier Liqueur d’Orange and Royal Combier are sourced from plantations throughout the island of Haiti.

So if you were looking for a reason to finally try a different triple sec, or were looking for a different cherry liqueur for your Blood and Sands (Combier makes a cherry liqueur as well: the Roi René Rouge), now is the time!

Speaking of Blood and Sands, this little cocktail named after a 1922 Rudolph Valentino movie has been making the rounds here in Seattle, and if you haven’t tried one recently, why don’t you start with this traditional recipe:

Blood and Sand

1 part scotch
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part Roi René Rouge (or other cherry liqueur)
1 part fresh orange juice
shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

I’ve found that I’ve needed to up the quantity of scotch in my Blood and Sands, especially if using a blended scotch. It doesn’t hurt to tame the orange juice and liqueur either. Play around with the proportions until you find a ratio that is perfect for you.

For those of you who are wondering about the Royal Combier, it is a blend of their triple sec, cognac and Elixir de Combier (which includes ingredients such as aloe, nutmeg, myrrh, cardamom, cinnamon and saffron). While I would say that Cointreau is full of raw bright orange zest, I would say that Royal Combier is a darker, muted orange zest with prominent spice notes, notably nutmeg and saffron.

There you have it, a chance to help a hurting country whilst you hurt your helping liver!

Picture by:
Jamie Boudreau