The story of Marie Brizard liqueurs begins a long, long time ago. Definitely way before smart phones, and definitely way before television, the airplane, electricity and the telephone. It was also a time before women were free to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit, and certainly a time before they were recognized as equal citizens. That’s what makes this story a particularly compelling one.
About the woman
The year was 1755, the place was Bordeaux, France, and the star of the show was a fierce, 18th-century female entrepreneur by the name of Marie who became famous for her delicious Anisette.
“Marie created her company at a time when women were not allowed to sign company documents,” notes Ludiwine Angelini, senior global brand manager for the brand. In order to establish her brand, then, she had to get creative. Marie opted to marry a family friend named Jean-Baptiste Roger who could “open accounts and sign the necessary legal papers,” while she — the one with the true know-how — took care of everything else.
Marie Brizard represented female leadership and innovation at a time when it was an affront to society. She forged a path for women in the spirits industry long before it was accepted. (Photo: Courtesy of Marie Brizard.)
“She was a pioneer and visionary,” says Angelini. “She was also dedicated to her art. She was constantly curious about flavors, distilling and trying new things in her laboratory with ingredients discovered in the ports of Bordeaux and sourced from around the world.”
It’s one thing to be passionate about something, but it’s quite another to be really good at it. Marie Brizard became the first French Master Liqueurist, and her Anisette was so beloved that it was even regularly sipped by members of Louis XV’s court. Fast forward roughly 260 years and 10 generations later, and her brand — which is still family-owned, by the way — continues to thrive.
A lot has changed since Marie Brizard’s inception. For starters, it’s expanded from the anisette to over 60 products, including syrups, flavored liqueurs, essential oils and more. We’ll talk about the other products in a bit, but let’s first talk about the Anisette.
“Unlike other anise-based spirits, Marie Brizard’s is made from green anise, which brings the liqueur a fresher and lighter taste compared to products made with star anise,” explains Angelini. “[It contains] 10 other plants and spices, like dill from India, coriander from Ukraine, fresh lemon peel from Spain and many others.”
Though two and a half centuries have passed, the recipe is still top secret, and the Anisette remains the hero product for the brand.
Other standout products include Marie’s Parfait Amour — a liqueur that combines Spanish oranges and orange blossoms, and vanilla from Madagascar — and the Apry, a liqueur infused with two varieties of apricots from the Rhone Valley, then blended with Gautier cognac from France and rum from Martinique.
“Our liqueur product range is a real partner for bartenders and mixologists with more than 25 different flavors. The line allows professionals from the bar to infinitely create new versions of classic cocktails, like the Old Fashioned, Cosmopolitan and Margarita,” says Angelini. “We also have a range of syrups, which reflects the liqueurist know-how of Marie Brizard in a non-alcoholic version.”
The mission of Marie Brizard is — and always has been — to “fight cocktail democratization” and gift the most refined and curious palettes with high quality products full of complexity and surprise. Seeing as how the brand’s won over 50 medals in global liqueur competitions since 2011 (that’s more than any other brand), they’re certainly living up to that mission.
If you’re new to the brand and looking for a place to start, we suggest beginning with the Anisette. It’s a natural first choice, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the other products. Mix, match, drink and enjoy, but whatever you do, remember that the line would not exist without the fiery, anti-establishment spirit and ingenuity of Marie Brizard.