Grand Marnier is a mainstay on bar shelves around the world. The Cognac-based orange liqueur is a staple in the Margarita, America’s favorite beverage, and shots of “GrandMa” have become something of a bartender’s handshake in Rhode Island.
The spirit is also commonly stocked on home bar carts, as its ornate bottle doubles as decor. Unlike most liqueurs, which are bottled in cylindrical glass, Grand Marnier’s uniquely shaped bottles are curvaceous, with a thin top and wide bottom.
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Though the bottle may appear entirely ornamental, there’s a reason for its shape. When crafting the liqueur in the 1880s, the brand’s founder, Louis-Alexandre Marnier, wanted to bottle his triple sec in a container as grand as his spirit. Thus, he took inspiration from the copper stills used to craft Cognac — a key ingredient in the liqueur — to shape the bottles consumers now know and recognize today.
Marnier dubbed the original bottle “Cordon Rouge,” which translates to “red ribbon” for the distinct embellishment that tops the liqueur and is held in place with red sealing wax.
Though much has changed since its initial release, Grand Marnier’s bottle and recipe remain the same, with Cognac at the center of both.