Introduction of Chambord
Chambord, or if you want to address it formally Chambord Royale de France, is a raspberry liqueur native to the Loire Valley region of France.
If you ask Chambord representatives, they will tell you the recipe traces its roots back hundreds of years to the late 17th century. Rumor has it that royalty preferred a drink similar to Chambord when they visited the famed growing region south of Paris. It was not uncommon for liqueur and cognac to be enjoyed before, during, and after meals during the 1600s.
It is important to note that the current commercial version of the drink, known as Chambord, is a liqueur. It is a cognac-based style with a raspberry flavor that is sought after for a variety of cocktails.
Chambord is not typically seen as a standalone beverage but is found in most bars for its pleasant flavor and ability to mix with many other drinks containing alcohol. Beer, wine, and other spirits have all been combined with the French liqueur to create unique cocktails.
While associated with an old recipe, Chambord has a relatively short history. Created in 1982, the brand was recently sold to the Brown-Forman Corporation (2006) and is still owned by that entity today. Other brands under the American-owned company’s umbrella include Jack Daniel’s, Canadian Mist, and Woodford Reserve.
Given its primary use of being a cocktail mixer, the price for a 750ml bottle of Chambord can be a bit shocking. There are many factors involved in its high price point including the ingredients, growing region, processing, and presentation.
There are opportunities for less-expensive alternatives in the same raspberry liqueur genre but it may be worth considering the minimal amounts used for an average cocktail recipe.
Here, you will see the different reasons for the Chambord price point and some ideas for alternatives if you are looking for another option.
Chambord ensures only the best ingredients are used in its proprietary recipe. While black raspberry is the descriptive flavor in the liqueur, there are several other exclusive ingredients that are sourced from high-end outlets.
The process for making Chambord is a little complicated and we will discuss it further, however, the ingredients include the following premium items:
Prime Real Estate
As we have mentioned, Chambord is produced in the exclusive Loire Valley region located south of Paris, France. The area spans about 310 square miles (800 sq km) and is also called the Garden of France because of its propensity for fine agriculture including vineyards, orchards, and artichoke farms lining the Loire River.
Famed for its fertile soil, perfect climates, and superior wine products, the Loire Valley is an exclusive region that naturally demands a higher price point.
A Three-Step Process
Time, effort, and extensive knowledge are combined with first-class ingredients to make Chambord. The combination of these factors could lead to the higher sticker price seen on bottles of Chambord.
Step One After selecting the finest blackberries and raspberries the berries are pressed for their juice. The berries are then set to soak with French spirits for four weeks. Already, time is becoming a factor in the production process.
Once the four weeks is up more French spirit is added and two weeks more must pass. The berries are then pressed and relieved of all the juice and natural sugars. This provides the basis for the Chambord.
Step Two The base created in step one is blended with juices extracted from black currants and black raspberry. The base is then blended and left to rest with the Madagascar vanilla and French cognac. The company refuses to name its combination of herbs but the mystery herbs and the citrus peel are also added to rest for an undisclosed amount of time.
Step Three The master blender will blend the new Chambord with other older productions of the liqueur for the perfect finished product, in his opinion.
As you can see, the ingredients and expertise likely go a long way toward the final price point of a bottle of Chambord.
A Bottle With Flair
The Chambord bottle may be one of the most recognizable on the shelves of bars and liquor stores around the globe. There are multiple renditions of the bottle now but all represent elegance and sophistication, as intended by the designer.
The original design was modeled after a globus cruciger which is an often golden globe adorned with a cross. The history of the design goes back to the middle ages and represented authority in certain faith groups. You can certainly see the point the design was attempting to make.
The design and packaging may not be terribly impactful on the price but the impression of prestige makes the price point seem more reasonable. Chambord is widely seen as a premium liqueur and is packaged and priced accordingly.
Outside of recipes for shooters, or a blended shot of spirits, most mixologists would likely recommend keeping Chambord nearby as the raspberry mixer of choice.
However, if you cannot stomach the pricing for Chambord or just prefer an alternative, there other options available. Here are a few raspberry liqueur selections that will likely cost less than Chambord.
Common Chambord Prices List
Chambord Noir Orange Liqueur
Common Recipes: What to mix with Chambord
Chambord is certainly not known for its standalone drinkability. It could be sipped as an aperitif or digestif (a drink had before or after dinner) but is typically combined with other ingredients in the form of a cocktail.
Here are several typical cocktails that feature Chambord (or alternative raspberry liqueurs).
The French Martini
The classic martini has seen many variations since its inception and common belief says that the French Martini came about during the 1980s. In any case, it is a simple twist on the gin or vodka drink. This recipe features vodka but could be substituted with gin if desired.
Pour ingredients into a shaker over ice. Shake well but not until your arm hurts. Set up a martini glass or some fun Millennial variation. Strain into said glass and enjoy.
This quite possibly could be the easiest cocktail you ever make but friends and guests will be thrilled with your creativity. Pro tip: use a lighter beer or wheat beer in this recipe.
Pour beer into a glass (hopefully, it is slightly larger than 12 ounces). Pour Chambord over the top. See? A cocktail in five seconds or less!
I hope you have not been using some sort of raspberry flavoring in your raspberry cocktails up to this point. If so, there is no time like the present to change. This classic Cuban cocktail features a berry twist.
A tall glass is best for mojitos so get one ready. Throw the mint and raspberries down in the bottom. Muddle them together releasing the mint fragrance and squishing the berries. Scoop some ice in. Place the lime slices on the ice. Pour the rum and Chambord over everything. Some add ginger ale as a topper, as needed.