Bar Cart: Belle de Brillet

The French pear and cognac liqueur usurping spirits.

While they may not have the same prominence as spirits on the backbars of the world, liqueurs are essential components in many classic cocktails and often delicious on their own. A common misconception about liqueurs is that they are dated, relics of a more formal era. However, there is a wide, delicious world to be discovered in the liqueur category, and some are taking aim at younger demographic, looking to shake up what they imbibe.

After an extensive rebranding, Maison Brillet’s Belle de Brillet pear and cognac liqueur is now available across Ontario as well as in Quebec. Drawing on Maison Brillet’s nearly 200-year history in distillation, Belle de Brillet is made with the simple but ingenious addition of Williams pear eau-de-vie, Madagascan vanilla sugar, and water to cognac. Each bottle is made with the equivalent of 18 pears and none of the artificial flavours, caramel, or neutral alcohol that have marked saccharine liqueurs of the past.



Thanks to the high-quality cognac in Belle de Brillet, the nose reads more like a fine XO than a liqueur—only a hint of the pear eau-de-vie’s honeysuckle sweetness and lemon acidity makes it through the rich oak and toffee of the cognac. However, on the palate, Belle de Brillet leans fully into its fruit, with the juicy pear providing a cacophony of flavours for the palate. The slightly honeyed quality is buoyed by bright lavender and ripe banana ester flavours, making for an ever-evolving drinking experience. Try finding all those notes in a bottle of vodka.