Day three of the series leads me to do two things – come up with a drink with none other than our own iStevi, hostess of “Two at the Most”, a fellow LiveJournal refugee who found her way out onto a hosted site, but also to write up my article that I promised to the Mixoloseum on cognac.
Cognac, I feel, is often a misunderstood liquor. People have an impression of it that it’s only for the rich, while that’s not true; on the other hand, when introducing people to the subtypes of brandy that are available, or even for other drinks, cognac is often easily used as an example because people are familiar with it. All cognacs are brandy; not all brandies are cognac, it depends on where they come from. (There are other requirements, too, but that’s the big one, at least, in my humble opinion.)
And where cognacs come from is the French area known as, well – Cognac.
I won’t get into Wikipedia-esque detail on VS versus VSOP versus XO, or the other different types. The important thing to remember when using cognac in drinks, in my opinion, is to remember that while cognacs vary, you can use a cognac to replace a brandy but not vice versa. Cognacs, in my experience, tend to be richer, and often sweeter – in my opinion – than other brandies from similar areas. Armagnacs might be able to replace a cognac, but really, if a drink is so specific to request a cognac you should use it.
Not that many do. You might see a “special” version of a drink using cognac that has it instead of brandy, but only a rare few use cognac as an ingredient, and there’s one in particular that I know catches more than a few eyes.
I know this because on the last, admittedly hazily remembered, night at Hummingbird to Mars I was offered one – and the bartender (I want to say it was Owen) I seem to remember was surprised that I knew what it was (and drank it anyways). If you’ve got the Regan’s The Joy of Mixology you might already know where I’m going…
Tremblement De Terre (Earthquake)
2 1/2 ounces cognac
1/4 ounce absinthe
1 lemon twist, garnish
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish.
Now, I’ve had that drink, and it’s a killer. Not bad whatsoever, in my opinion, but oof!
My favorite cognac right now is Chalfonte VSOP. I just got word that it’s back at my favorite liquor store, Ace in DC, and that makes me very happy. It’s not expensive but it’s quote luscious in its taste. My goal is to make sure I have a bottle of two to enjoy in the snow, around a big bonfire, with family and friends next winter. It was that goal last winter but never happened.
Still, I need a drink for a blogger or mixologist for tonight, and I thought of that drink and Stevi’s blog name. Hmmm. It seems to insinuate that you can only have two of her drinks in a night, and what’s a good drink to base that off of, in addition to her love of Peruvian horses, I thought – oh. I know.
Two At The Most
1 1/2 ounces cognac (Chalfonte VSOP)
1 ounce pisco brandy (Macchu Pisco)
1/4 ounce + 1 dash absinthe (Kubler)
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1-2 dashes Peruvian bitters
Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandy soaked cherry, which sinks to the bottom, and a lemon twist.
Yummy! But that’s quite a bit of booze there, so be warned – you won’t want to have more than two at the most!
[Third in a series of drinks named after bloggers, mixologists, and random others who'll hopefully be at Tales. The first post in the series is here.]