I hate brandy. And by association, cognac too. So as you can imagine, when I received three bottles of Remy Martin VSOP Champagne Cognac to experiment with, I was less than enthused. Although the mention of Champagne did illicit the tiniest bit of elation. My dislike for cognac is directly correlated to a wild weekend of hardcore rock ’n roll straight-from-the-bottle swigging of Klipdrift when I was 16. Even with the seemingly indestructible liver of an angsty teenager, I still vomited for nearly the entire day after.
Anyway, after a few chilling flashbacks, I figured I’d tackle the task with an open-mind. In fact, I took the experience incredibly seriously. If I could find a way to enjoy cognac, I’m pretty sure anyone could. And I’m happy to say, I did enjoy every single one of these three concoctions. Not even in the strictly tolerable sense either. I could actually go on to drink these again. And I will.
I’m no mixologist. I also don’t have a plethora of ingredients and tools on-hand to create complex creations. So this one’s as difficult as it gets. It was conjured up by a group of 20 renowned bartenders at the International Cognac Summit in 2008. Hence its name. Apparently the freshly squeezed, artisanal kind of lemonade works best here, but the trashy store-bought sugary stuff tasted great too.
- 4 thin slices ginger
- 1 slice lime
- 40ml (roughly 1.5 shots) Remy Martin VSOP
- 60ml (1/4 cup) lemonade
- Peel of cucumber
Place ginger, lime, VSOP, and ice into a glass and stir/muddle. In other words just agitate all the stuff a bit to release their flavours. Top with lemonade, and rub the rim of the glass with the underside of the cucumber before dropping it in.
This was definitely the group favourite. It’s an epic balance of zesty, sweet, and refreshing. That cucumber makes it a real winner.
Totally made this one’s name up. How clever am I? It’s loosely based on a similar-ish cocktail I found online consisting of sugar, Creme de Violet, vermouth, champagne, cognac, and fresh orange. Creme de Violet?! Didn’t even know that was a thing! I had a bottle of bubbly in the fridge, as well as near-forgotten cherry liqueur from last year’s cherry chocolate Christmas trifle. Those would work as suitable substitutes right?
- 1tsp sugar
- 1 shot VSOP
- 1 Tbs cherry liquer
- Bubbly to top (I used D’Aria’s Pop Song because it’s cheap, cheerful, and sweet making it a good fit here)
- 1 slice orange
Place sugar, VSOP, and cherry liqueur in a wine glass or tumbler. Stir to dissolve sugar, and top with bubbly. Garnish with fresh orange.
This one wasn’t as well received as The Summit. But to be honest I think my friend’s just didn’t see it brunch-time potential. This with your Eggs Benny or French Toast would be so delish.
This one’s pretty much a simple mixer, but it’s yum and makes for a quick pitcher of deliciousness when required. Weirdly it’s actually similar in flavour to The Summit, just less nuanced, and less fancy. The below makes a single glass, but you could multiply it to fill a jug, jar, or punch bowl.
- 1 shot VSOP
- 1 slice lime
- Ginger Ale to top
Muddle the VSOP and lime, and top with Ginger Ale and ice. So simple!
So I’m proud to announce that I am now a brandy and cognac convert. Thank you Remy Martin for forcing me to work through my trauma. I may even set aside the gin and red wine every now and then in favour of a quick Summit cocktail. I still have a bottle of VSOP left, and will again be indulging in some of the finest champagne cognac very soon.