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…
- 2 shots / 60 ml / 2 oz añejo tequila
- ½ shot / 15 ml / ½ oz sweet vermouth
- ¼ shot / 7.5 ml / ¼ oz Licor 43
- 1 dash Angostura Aromatic bitters
- 1 dash orange bitters
- Stir all ingredients with ice and strain in to an ice-filled old fashioned glass.
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.
- 1 shot / 30 ml / 1 oz light rum
- 1 shot / 30 ml / 1 oz green Chartreuse
- 1 shot / 30 ml / 1 oz Licor 43
- Stir all ingredients with ice and strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange zest twist.
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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