Forget your preconceived notions on how Cognac can be enjoyed. Certainly a glass goes well after dinner, with chocolate or with cigars. But if you only drink Cognac neat, you are missing out.
In the pre-Prohibition United States, Cognac was often used as an ingredient in cocktails like the Sidecar or Mint Julep. While other spirits like Vodka, Rum and Tequila have come to dominate the bar scene, in France Cognac is still popular in cocktails.
Cognac is an extremely versatile spirit, mixing well with anything from apple and orange juice to tonic water or ginger ale. Start with one part Cognac to four parts mixer, add ice if desired, then alter the ratio to your tastes.
One drink that’s sure to make you a fan of Cognac cocktails is the Summit. Created by master mixologists in honor of the 2008 International Cognac Summit, the drink is light, refreshing and delicious.
When making a Cognac cocktail, use a younger Cognac like a VS or VSOP. Older or more prized Cognacs are best enjoyed on their own so that you can appreciate their complex flavors.
Here are some Cognac cocktails:
1 lime peel
4 slices of fresh ginger
1½ oz Cognac
2 oz traditional (carbonated) lemonade
1 long piece of cucumber peel
Place the lime and ginger in a rocks glass. Pour in ¾ oz of Cognac. Lightly press the lime and ginger 2 to 3 times using a muddler. Half fill the glass with ice. Stir well for 5 seconds using a bar spoon. Pour in ¾ oz of Cognac. Add the lemonade and cucumber peel. Stir well for 5 seconds using a bar spoon.
¾ oz Cognac
¼ oz lemon juice
¼ oz Triple Sec
1 orange peel
Place ice cubes in a shaker, then add Cognac, lemon juice and Triple Sec. Close the shaker and shake until frosted. Strain into a martini glass using a cocktail strainer. Press the orange peel over the drink.
¾ oz Cognac
3¼ oz Champagne
2 or 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
1 cube brown sugar
1 lemon peel
In a Champagne flute, soak the cube of brown sugar with 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters and place it at the bottom of the glass. Pour the Cognac and the Champagne. Garnish with lemon.
Master mixologist Mauro Mahjoub (pictured above) mixes this drink at his bar, Mauro’s Negroni Club in Munich, Germany.
1½ oz Cognac
¾ oz Cassis
¼ oz red Vermouth
lime, raspberry and apple slice for garnish
In a rocks glass, mix the ingredients and stir. Finish with a splash of soda and add fruit garnishes.
For more cocktail recipes visit cognacsummit.com.
Recipes and photos of the Summit, Sidecar and Champagne Cocktail from the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac