Massenez’s eau-de-vie and liqueurs, trendier than ever – Meanderings through France n° 223
By Annick Dournes & Frédéric de Poligny
Since 1870 Massenez is the gold standard in the world of spirits and liqueurs. For 150 years and through four generations this family distillery makes some of the very best fruit and herbs based alcohols worldwide. Always evolving and creating to be in tune with the times its products are today used by famous chefs and mixologists.
A savoir-faire born in Alsace
The Massenez Distillery is nestled in a small Alsatian valley at the foot of the Vosges Mountains, the Val de Villé. Bugatti and Hermès have also chosen this valley to establish their workshops. It seems that this beautiful green area really breeds excellence! The Alsatian wine route and the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle are close by and Strasbourg is a one-hour drive away, making the Val de Villé an easily reached must-see when touring in Alsace.
But you don’t need to go to Eastern France to taste the Massenez spirits. They are available in many countries in wine shops and of course on-line. Thanks to its innovative spirit and the creation of unusual new products Massenez’s eau-de-vie and liqueurs are the new fashionable ingredients for cocktails and recipes created by renowned mixologists and chefs.
Massenez, the meeting point for lucky fruits
The range of flavours and aromas is amazing allowing the most surprising blends. Apart from the classic but inescapable pear and plum eau-de-vie Massenez makes blackberry, ginger, kirsch, raspberry, rosehip, blueberry, peach, quince, blackcurrant… dozens of different eau-de-vie are elaborated with a unique know-how. Each one is made with premium quality fruits from the whole world, enhancing the aromatic intensity of the original fruit.
Two of them are truly outstanding. The Wild Raspberry eau-de-vie was created in 1913 by Eugene Massenez but in spite of its age, it still is a best seller and was awarded with a golden medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in London in 2020. Only wild berries are used and it takes 5 kg of fruit to make only one litre of eau-de-vie.
The second iconic eau-de-vie is the Prisoner Pear. The making of this spirit takes time and patience. In springtime thousands of bottles in the shape of a pear are hung in pear trees over the flowers. Thus the pear grows inside the bottle and is picked up with its bottle at full maturity. The bottle is then filled with alcohol and slowly aged to allow the pear’s aromas to slowly infuse. Don’t bother eating the pear! All of its aromas have been released in the final spirit and it is absolutely tasteless.
“Golden Eight”, the Massenez’s success story
Morello sherry, lime, ginger, wild strawberry, white mint, cranberry, coffee… once again the variety of fruits and herbs used to make creams and liqueurs seems to be endless. They can be drunk neat but they now have been adopted by many mixologists to make original cocktails. Golden Eight is a case apart. Created in 2017 this liqueur is the “quintessence” of the Massenez spirit. This divine liquid gold is made with an 8-year old pear eau-de-vie paired with vanilla and caramel notes. In only 3 years Golden Eight has conquered the world and is served in stared restaurants and you can also ask for it if you are lucky and travel first class with Air France airways!
“Miss Massenez” and “Garden Party” help you make your at-home cocktails
Today the way to enjoy eau-de-vie, liqueurs and creams is very different from what it was at the turn of the century. To help us update our cocktail experience Massenez has created ready-to-use blends, the “Miss Massenez” drinks. You just have to add fruit juice and ice cubes. “Valentine”, Miss Mojito”, “Pina Colada”, “Miss Dolce Vita” … are a few examples of the 20 different cocktail bases available with which you can create your own blends.
In line with the present “green” trend and vegetable cocktails Massenez has created its surprising “Garden Party” range. It is unique in the whole world and since it was launched in 2016 mixologists love its products and use them to create the wildest drinks. Sold in spray bottles these vegetable and plant based eau-de-vie and liqueurs add a totally new zest to your cocktails. Basil, cucumber, rosemary, thyme, coriander… once transformed in liqueurs develop incredible flavours. Perfect if you’re not fond of sweet cocktails.
“Dom Pacello Royal Orange”, created to celebrate Massenez’s 150th anniversary
It took five years to the Massenez distillers to elaborate this rare liqueur. Once again the making process is a well-kept secret. We were just told that it is made with a blend of dried peels and dried and fresh zests of bitter and sweet oranges from Hawaii, Morocco, Spain, Turkey and Paraguay. Carefully selected the aromatic peels are macerated in alcohol before being distilled. Finally the orange eau-de-vie is mixed with “a certain amount” of “Ile de Ré Doubled Mature” flagship Cognac of the famous Camus House. The final liqueur is an amazing blend of the entire aromatic spectrum of the orange enhanced by the power and character of the Cognac. “Dom Pacello Royal Orange” is a very versatile liqueur that can be drunk neat, on ice, in cocktails, before of after dinner.
“The Royal Kosmos” create by Pierre Boueri:
In a shaker crush a dice of lime and add ice cubes.
Add 3 cl Dom Pacello Royal Orange, 2 cl Wild Raspberry Eau-de-vie and 4 cl cranberry juice
Shake and Pour into a wine glass.
“Golden Eight Spritz”
Place ice in a large glass and pour in: 40 ml Golden Eight, then 30 ml cranberry juice. Add a dash of sparkling water and Crémant d’Alsace or Champagne or Prosecco
In a shaker put some ice cubes, 3 cl of Prestige Raspberry eau-de-vie Maasenez, 2 cl of Lychee (litchi) liqueur Massenez and 8cl guava juice. Shake and pour into a long drink glass.
More recipes, information and shop online at https://en.massenez.com/
Text ©Annick Dournes
Photos ©Frederic de Poligny & Annick Dournes