I recently attended a lunch at Goldie’s hosted by Mandarine Napoleon – an orange liqueur based on Napoleon Bonaparte’s favorite drink. The idea to investigate inspirational quotes by Napoléon Bonaparte was spurred by a coaster spotted at the event that read, “The word impossible is not in my dictionary.” I like that saying – a lot.
He did and said many horrible things (like women were only good to bear children, grrh!!) as well, but as with most successful leaders, he did impart some nuggets of wisdom. Here are a few of my favorite sayings from the Little General or Boney (historical nicknames for Bonaparte):
“Ability is nothing without opportunity.”
“Death is nothing; but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.”
“Throw off your worries when you throw off your clothes at night.”
“He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.”
“Victory belongs to the most persevering.”
“If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.”
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
“Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.”
“Great ambition is the passion of a great character.”
More about Mandarine Napoleon
Mandarine Napoleon, first bottled in 1892, can be used in any cocktail that calls for orange liqueur, like a Margarita or Sidecar. Mandarin infused cognac was a real treat in Bonaparte’s day as the fruit is not native to France (and this was pre-FedEx). In fact, it was Napoléon’s doctor, Antoine-Francois de Fourcroy, who came up with the idea of macerating mandarins in booze and supposedly they shared a glass or two often. Wonder what ailment he was trying to cure in Bonaparte with the concoction?
During the 19th century a Belgian chemist, Louis Schmidt, discovered the recipe of Napoléon’s drink of choice in the physician’s diary and decided to create a liqueur based on the recipe.
With notes of spice like cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, plus green and black tea notes, it is a lovely fall sipper after a meal, served neat or with one ice cube.
Cocktails featuring Mandarine Napoleon, made by Goldie’s head bartender Brittani Rae included:
Le Commencement – Yuzu bitters, Sage, Sparkling Water (my favorite of the three, featured in headline photo)
Milieu – Pineapple, Coconut, Lime, Clove, and Ginger Coconut Foam
Fin – Créme de Menthe, Créme de Framboise, Blackberries, Lemon
For more on the liqueur and the event, check out the lovely ladies’ blog post A Luncheon with Mandarine Napoleon on ThisGirlWalksIntoABar.com (winner of 2012 best cocktail blog by Saveur Magazine).