What to do with my Pineau de Charentes?
December 10, 2012 9:28 AM   Subscribe

Looking for cocktail recipes featuring Pineau des Charentes.

A work colleague just gave me a large bottle of Pineau des Charentes, as she wanted to get rid of it, and I mentioned I knew of at least one cocktail I could make with it, The Per Se. But now I'm hoping to find other fun things to do with it.

Unfortunately most of my searching tends to show recipes for overly sweet-looking approaches, whereas I was hoping to find recipes that might be a bit more alcohol-forward and leave the pineau in a supporting role (like the Per Se does). Any thoughts? Bonus points if you can find a good Bourbon cocktail that uses it.
posted by jrb223 to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Creole Lady is made with Madeira, which is a different fortified wine. I'm not familiar with the taste of the one you have, so the substitution may be imperfect, but you can experiment:
1 1/4 oz rye or Bourbon whiskey
1 1/4 oz Madeira wine
1/4 oz grenadine
shaken with ice, strained into cocktail glass, served with a maraschino cherry.

If your Pineau is more like sherry than Madeira, you can try the Bizzy Highball:
1 oz bourbon
1 oz sherry
1 dash fresh lemon juice
Fill with soda
Serve in a highball glass

Or the Croton, which is just 1.5 oz bourbon 3/4 oz sherry, shaken, strained, served with a twist.

That's what I'd do--I'd search for cocktails made with other fortified wines (Madiera, port, sherry) and just play around with it.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:42 AM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: The Pompadour is going to work for you here. (A slightly fancier recipe.) And here's a nice writeup on Pineau as a cocktail ingredient.

Not sure about mixing bourbon with it, but one path to experiment along might be that of the Sazarac or Vieux Carré, with dashes of absinthe/pastis and bitters. Will take some fiddling to get the sweetness right: Pineau doesn't have the herbal or astringent qualities of a vermouth, so it's definitely not a straight swap in a Martini.
posted by holgate at 9:47 AM on December 10, 2012

Best answer: I've heard that it makes a decent substitute for Lillet Blanc.

For something more spirit-forward, Rachel Maddow makes a "Pineau Martini."

2 oz. gin
1 oz. Pineau des Charentes

Abigail Gullo (former NY bartender at Fort Defiance/The Beagle, now in New Orleans) has created the Tango Til They're Sore:

1 1/2 oz Pineau des Charentes
3/4 oz Legendre Herbsaint Original 100 proof
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz lemon juice

This Charentes Shrub looks interesting as well but requires some work for the infusion and shrub:

1 ½ oz. rye whiskey
¾ oz. Earl Grey-infused Pineau des Charentes (Pineau des Charentes is a French aperitif available at well-stocked wine shops)
½ oz. rosemary-pineapple shrub
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
2 oz. IPA (Sierra Nevada works well)

There is also a prolific poster (bostonapothecary) on eGullet who experiments a lot with Pineau des Charentes.
posted by kathryn at 9:57 AM on December 10, 2012

holgate's link mentions pineapple juice. We do this with pineapple juice, bourbon and sherry:
3/4 oz bourbon
3/4 oz sherry
1/2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
shake, strain, no garnish

and this with port:
3/4 oz pineapple juice
3/4 oz brandy
3/4 oz Port
1 dash grenadine
1 dash orange curacao
shake, strain, no garnish

The in description holgate's link makes me think it might swap with Lillet in a few things.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:58 AM on December 10, 2012

Pineau isn't really a sub for anything oxidized like Sherry or Madeira, nor is it a decent sub for Port. Its a little like vermouth without the aromatics but quite a bit sweeter.

Lillet includes quinine, so it has a bitter edge that is totally lacking from Pineau. And it isnt' as sweet.

Basically you need a lot of citrus to make it not be cloying.
posted by JPD at 10:37 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's sweeter than Lillet Blanc, but it's definitely a better sub for that than an Italian vermouth. I'm not sure about using it instead of sherry/madeira/port -- to me, Pineau feels more like a diluted spirit than a fortified wine -- so what comes to mind for me are cognac cocktails with some kind of sweetener (liqueur, sweetish fruit juice or just sugar) or perhaps even ones with mead as an ingredient.
posted by holgate at 10:37 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like using the In My Bar tool at Webtender. Select your Pineau de Charentes from the list, assume you have regular supplies, and choose "Can miss three" under Additional Ingredients. Came up with hundreds of cocktails.
posted by xedrik at 6:34 PM on December 11, 2012

Response by poster: The Pompadour is fantastic, definitely what I was looking for. Rachel Maddow's martini was interesting, though if I make it again I'll change the proportions to something more like 2.5 gin to .5 pineau I think. This weekend I'm going to start experimenting with Pineau and Bourbon based on the other suggestions here. Hopefully it won't be awful :-)! Thanks everyone!
posted by jrb223 at 8:04 PM on December 11, 2012

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