An orange liqueur cocktail at Crystal Bar of the Hermitage Hotel in Monaco

This Bitter-orange Liqueur From Monaco Is Sunshine in a Glass

A taste of the Côte d’Azur is now available stateside — here's a recipe for how to use it.

For most travelers, Monaco conjures up images of casinos, mega-yachts, and the Grand Prix. But spirits entrepreneur Philip Culazzo wants the glamorous destination to be known for something else: bitter oranges.

This Mediterranean citrus was a staple of Monaco's agricultural economy before the principality ceded most of its land to France in 1861 — and remains somewhat of a national symbol, growing in parks and residential areas around the 480-acre country. Most of the fruits are discarded, too bitter to be eaten raw. But in 2017, Culazzo founded La Distillerie de Monaco, the country's only distillery, with the goal of turning them into something delicious.

"The idea was to create something that is authentically from Monaco," he says. "Something that connects with the past."L'Orangerie, its flagship bitter-orange liqueur, is now available in the U.S. for the first time, in select spirits shops in major cities. It is also available online, along with the distillery's Gin Aux Agrumes — made from seven citrus fruits, including bergamot and citron.

Home bartenders can swap L'Orangerie for triple sec or Grand Marnier, or, for a Monaco-style Spritz, top it with sparkling wine and a slice of orange. Culazzo prefers to drink it chilled on its own as a digestif. Visitors can also find the liqueur at local bars and restaurants, including Le Crystal Bar at the opulent Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo.

Le Crystal Bar's "From Monaco"

  • 6 parts L'Orangerie
  • 2 parts gin
  • 2 parts passionfruit juice
  • 1 part lime juice

Shake ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a large martini glass. Serve with an orange twist.

A version of this story first appeared in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Liquid Sunshine.

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