Brandy, You're a Fine Girl
Cognac makes a triumphant return
Cognac, though generally considered a sipping liquor, is moving into the mixing tin.
In truth, it's moving back into the mixing tin. Cognac was one of the most frequently encountered spirits during the 18th and early 19th centuries, giving birth to drinks like Sazerac and early juleps. But its stateside popularity was dampened: first by war, then by the grape-attacking Phylloxera blight, then by Prohibition.
Now its presence has grown anew. At the just-opened Demi Monde in New York City, the cocktail list leans heavily toward brandy, with drinks like the Second Wind, with cognac, Pineau des Charentes, verjus blanc and bitters.
Across the country in Los Angeles, another new bar with French leanings, Pour Vous, mixes cognac with its cousin Calvados, as well as demerara sugar, bitters and orange zest. It’s akin to a newly sophisticated Old-Fashioned.
Cognac producers are also making a push toward the coupe: Pierre Ferrand introduced its mixing-friendly 1840 cognac last year, then came out with a dry curaçao this year. Bartenders are now armed with the tools necessary to create cognac drinks like the Crusta, and its more popular descendant, the Sidecar (click here to see the recipe).
You can’t keep a good grape down.