Cuarenta Y Tres

February 26th, 2008

Licor 43, or Cuarenta Y Tres, is a liqueur produced in Spain that uses a recipe claimed to be over a thousand years old. This recipe uses 43 separate ingredients to produce a rather distinctive taste, with a strong vanilla flavour backed with, amongst others, orange citrus and Christmas spices. It is a fairly sweet spirit, but the numerous flavours work well together resulting in a pretty balanced overall taste.

Cuarenta Y Tres is fairly obscure in Britain and the US, but enjoys greater popularity in Europe where it is commonly drunk both alone over ice, in mixed drinks, and even as shots. I have been meaning to give it a try for several months now, but never quite got around to it. However, tonight whilst reading through Paul’s old posts about Tales of the Cocktail I came across a brief mention to a cocktail that sounded really interesting…

Licor 43 bottle with Tequila Manhattan cocktail in background

Tequila Manhattan

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Other than the odd Tequila Old Fashioned my bottle of añejo tequila has been rather neglected so I was excited to find another interesting cocktail to try it in. The Tequila Manhattan Paul wrote about was served by Ryan Magarian as part of a cocktail pairing dinner, and was garnished with a slice of mole salami wrapped around a tequila-soaked dried cherry. Unfortunately unable to recreate this, I decided to serve the drink on the rocks without any further garnish. I’m sure, however, it would be perfectly fine served up too.

Tequila leads the drink with a toffee like sweetness and hints of pepper, which was followed by the vanilla flavourings of the Licor 43. The tequila and Licor 43 played together wonderfully, producing a rounded flavour that contained so many hints of different flavours every mouthful was different. The finish had the usual peppery flavours of tequila, along with a subtle aromatic finish. With just the right amount of sweetness, and such a myriad of flavours, the Tequila Manhattan is a beautifully balanced and very tasty cocktail. Highly recommended.

Golden Retriever cocktail

Golden Retriever

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Searching in Difford’s Guide for other cocktails using Licor 43, I came across the Golden Retriever which was created in 2002 by Dick Bradsell at Alfred’s Bar in London. The combination of Chartreuse and Licor 43 makes for a very sweet drink, with plenty of herbal notes at the start, followed by the familiar vanilla of Licor 43. The orange zest provides a nice hint of citrus that runs through the drink and helps lift it out of the sweetness, though the drink still borders on cloying. Not a stunning cocktail, but an interesting combination of flavours nonetheless.

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Posted in Aromatic Bitters, Chartreuse, Licor 43, Orange Bitters, Recipes, Rum, Tequila, Vermouth

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5 responses to “Cuarenta Y Tres”

  1. keith waldbauer keith waldbauer says:

    I’ve got a neglected bottle of Licor 43 at the bar and have wondered what the heck to do with it. Here’s a recipe I found which might interest you….

    The Silver Lining
    1 1/2 oz rye
    3/4 oz Licor 43
    3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
    1 egg white
    2 oz club soda

    Shake it, strain it into an ice-filled highball, then top with club soda. The drink froths up so you have to add the soda in stages.

    This one comes from Little Branch in NYC. I got the recipe from the 2006 Food & Wine cocktail guide.

  2. SeanMike SeanMike says:

    There’s a cocktail or two in _Joy of Mixology_ that uses it. There’s one in specific I’m trying to think of but blanking on that I bought a new bottle just to try, and boy, did I like it.

    (Stupid brain!)

    I’ve been a fan of it ever since college.

  3. Jay Jay says:

    Keith, I’ve been wanting to try more egg cocktails and gave the Silver Lining a go tonight – was very impressed it was lovely and balanced, and the egg gave it a wonderful look and texture. Thanks for the recipe!

    SeanMike – if you remember do let me know… I’ll keep an eye out next time I look at JoM.

  4. Susanne Aldridge III Susanne Aldridge III says:

    I like to use it in a Key Lime Pie Martini. I had one at a bar that used Vanilla Vodka, Licor 43, lime juice and heavy cream. I searched around a little bit and found a few, and it works really nicely. A very good way to use the Licor 43 (not like I really have a problem using it), it was one of the first alcoholic beverages I ever had since my parents brought that home from Spain.

  5. Wednesday Movie Night … Cinco de Mayo and Vampires (what a mix) | theSpeakista says:

    [...] Tequila Manhattan Recipe adapted from Jays fantastic blog at OhGosh! [...]

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