- In Cognac today, spirits master Alexandre Gabriel
and his venerable House of Cognac Ferrand produce one of the world's most coveted Cognacs - Pierre Ferrand Cognac. It was first imbibed as a mixable spirit back in the 1800s and after a bout of phylloxera, Cognac was only considered in measured amounts as an after dinner drink.
Hundreds of years ago, Cognac was considered the vodka of Europe. While its finest eau-de-vies were sipped in snifters at the end of a meal, Cognac also flowed freely in the cocktails of the day. But the phylloxera plague of the late 19th century wiped out most of France's vineyards. Without vineyards, there could be no wine, and without wine there could be no Cognac. What was once a plentiful and widely used spirit became rare and prohibitively expensive. Cognac became as scarce as hen's teeth, and drinks made with Cognac became rare indeed.
Cognac has gone back to its roots as one of the finest ingredients to make a superb cocktail and is experiencing a rebirth - a renaissance if you will - all over the world, in bars and restaurants and the homes of wine, food and spirit aficionados. Cocktail historian David Wondrich
and five master mixologists from around the world - Romee de Goriainoff
from Paris/London, James Meehan
from New York City
, Chris Bostick
from Los Angeles, Bobby Heugel
from Houston and Lynn House
share their favorite Pierre Ferrand cocktails. A few of those are listed here.
Author, writer and cocktail master Wondrich says this about the nectar that is Cognac and Alexandre Gabriel "Back when the American art of the cocktail was first coming together, no spirit was more prized by mixologists than good French Cognac, and with good reason - the kind of simple, forthright drinks that the great 19th-century bartenders specialized in demanded quality ingredients. Fortunately, modern bartenders are rediscovering Cognac and modern Cognac makers are rediscovering bartenders."
The Oz (Lynn House)
"El Tigre' cocktail by Bobby Heugel. (Courtesy Photo: Savona Communications)
• 1˝ oz. Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
• 1˝ oz. Plum Wine
• 1˝ oz. Gruet Blanc de Noir
• ˝ oz. Lemon Juice
• ˝ oz. Apple Cider Vinegar Gastrique (see below)
Combine all ingredients except Gruet in a mixing glass, add ice and shake until well chilled. Serve in a coup and float Gruet on top. Garnish with a lemon twist.
To make the gastrique:
Combine three cups apple cider vinegar and 7 cups of sugar in a saucepan; simmer until reduced by half. Cool before using.
El Tigre (Bobby Heugel)
• 1 oz. Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac
• 1 oz. Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
• ˝ oz. Luxardo Bitter Liqueur
• ˝ oz. Simple Syrup (1:1 Sugar to Water)
• 4 Dashes Fee Brothers Barrel-Aged Bitters
• 2 Dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
For more information go to www.pierreferrandcognac.com