A brandy-based classic with orange liqueur
December is here, so winter holidays are nigh. Send in the oranges! Better yet, pour the orange liqueur.
The Netherland Cocktail overflows with seasonal cheer. And its base spirit is brandy, which excels at warding off winter’s chill.
It’s a nice cocktail, indeed. But you may want to be naughty and have more than one.
Recipe: The Netherland Cocktail
The Netherland Cocktail was created as the house drink for the New Netherland hotel, which opened in New York City (59th Street and Park Avenue) during the 1890s. In 1927, it was replaced (on the same site) by the Sherry-Netherland Hotel.
We learned about this drink from reading cocktail historian extraordinaire David Wondrich. We have slightly adapted his recipe.
This drink takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 2 ounces brandy or cognac
- ½ ounce Grand Marnier (or to taste; see Notes)
- 1 to 2 dashes orange bitters (to taste)
- twist of orange peel for garnish (optional)
- Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Stir (or shake – see Notes) until well chilled (20 to 30 seconds).
- Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that has been chilled. Garnish with an orange twist, if you wish, and serve.
- This drink also tastes great served over ice in a rocks (Old-Fashioned) glass.
- Stir or shake? The “rule” says stir, because all the ingredients in this cocktail are clear (shaking introduces oxygen bubbles, which can temporarily cloud the drink). But we shake anyway – it’s easier.
- Cognac is a type of brandy made in the Cognac region of France. Several good brands are available. Ask your friendly liquor store salesman for a recommendation.
- Or just use domestic brandy, as we do. It’s cheaper than cognac and works fine in cocktails.
- Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored liqueur of the curaçao type. (The other style of orange liqueur is triple sec – an example is Cointreau). The flavors of the two liqueur types are somewhat similar, but curaçao is much sweeter. So you generally cannot substitute one for the other.
- Grand Marnier is a premium curaçao, and it’s a bit pricey. If you want to use something less expensive, try a generic orange curaçao. If you go this route, definitely ask your liquor store for a recommendation – the inexpensive brands of orange curaçao can sometimes be very sweet and cloying.
- Speaking of sweet, you may want to adjust the amount of Grand Marnier (or orange curaçao) you use in this drink.
- David Wondrich recommends 2/3 ounce, though we find that a bit too sweet. But Wondrich also prefers serving this cocktail as an after-dinner drink. If you’re serving it that way, sweeter may be preferable.
- The best orange bitters we’ve tasted are the Regans’ and the Angostura brands. Orange bitters can sometimes be difficult to find, but a good liquor store will carry them. Or you can order them online.
“Good drink,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Though the name always reminds me of Peter Pan.”
“Well I never!” I said.
“That will never do,” said Mrs K R.
“And that will never fly,” I said.
“Never say never,” said Mrs K R. “Speaking of which, shall we have another of these beauties?”
“We better,” I said. “Or I’ll never hear the end of it.”
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