These days, it seems like new cocktail ingredients are being developed all the time and young, scrappy craft brands are launching with every passing week. It’s undoubtedly a thrilling time to witness. It also makes us appreciate the longevity and legacy of brands that have withstood the test of time. Marie Brizard, established in the mid-18th century in France, is one of those brands. While Marie Brizard's offerings have expanded and evolved over the centuries, the brand's deft hand with flavoring their trademark liqueurs remains the same.
It all began in 1755, when the Marie Brizard & Roger company was founded by its namesake, an entrepreneurial French woman — despite the fact that women were rarely allowed to sign legal documents (much less run companies) at the time. (Learn more about Marie Brizard's compelling journey.) Legend has it that Brizard received her much sought-after anisette recipe from an ailing sailor she helped nurse back to health. Brizard chooses to open her business in the port city of Bordeaux, giving the company greater access to ingredients from around the world via the burgeoning spice trade.
Nearly a decade later, Marie Brizard perfects the recipe for the company’s signature (and once, eponymous) anisette in 1763, and begins producing it commercially. Eline Madrona, the company's global category director, explains that the length of time between the brand's founding and the finalizing of the anisette recipe was attributed in part to the months-long voyages required to obtain ingredients from all around the world (such as vanilla from Madagascar). Though the portfolio of liqueurs would inevitably expand in the coming decades, Marie Brizard's anisette still remains tightly linked to the company's identity.
That anisette gets a moment of royalty in 1765, when it’s presented to the King of France, Louis XV, and his court. (Try the cocktail named for this momentous occasion, the Louis XV, with cognac, egg white, and — of course — that fit-for-royalty anisette.)
In 1766, Parfait Amour joins anisette in Marie Brizard's portfolio. (Try a recipe with Marie Brizard's Parfait Amour, the Elixir.) That addition would kickstart the brand's evolution: within about two decades, Marie Brizard's portfolio included a range of liqueurs, brandies and aged wines.
Approaching the mid-19th century (1827-1829), the anisette starts going worldwide, with Marie Brizard expanding its trade to French and Spanish empires, and exporting to the United States and South America. In 2016, Marie Brizard's products could be found in over 120 countries.
1855 marks the company’s first major award, taking home a medal from the Universal Exposition in Paris. (Marie Brizard would go on to garner numerous medals and awards, including in the U.S. in 1876 at the World Expo in Philadelphia, France in 1900 and Argentina in 1910.)
In 1880, Cacao Chouao — a decadent chocolate and vanilla liqueur — joins the Marie Brizard family. A little more than a decade later (in 1894 and 1896), Cherry Brandy and Apry would follow. (Try a recipe with Marie Brizard's Apry liqueur, the Golden Dawn.)
260 years and 10 generations later, Marie Brizard's brand — which is still family-owned, by the way — continues to thrive. Cheers to this brand's longevity, success, and (of course) their delicious anisette.