Pierre Ferrand Cognac: 1840 Original Formula

Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac

We don’t see many cognacs at Simple Cocktails, probably because like higher-end scotches, cognac is rarely used in a cocktail. Because of some of my cigar pairing work, though, I’ve had the opportunity to taste Pierre Ferrand’s 1840 Original Formula Cognac.

The 1840 Formula is Ferrand’s base cognac, retailing at about $50. The flavor is subtle, sweet and fruity, with notes of pear and caramel – an excellent after-dinner drink. A cigar pairing with the 1840 Formula should be mild so as not to overpower the cognac.

I used Pierre Ferrand to make Sidecars at a cocktail party, and it made for excellent drinks that were very popular. Here’s the recipe I used:

Sidecar

  • in a shaker, add:
  • 2 oz cognac (or brandy)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass with half the edge rimmed with sugar
  • garnish with a lemon wedge

Podcast 112- “It is a phenomenal time to be a drinker right now.” (Jordan Silbert Interview)

q-drinks-flavors

Greg talks to Jordan Silbert, creator of Q Drinks about their history and the importance of a great cocktail mixer. Special thanks to Q Drinks for sponsoring the podcast.

Download Episode 112.

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Sparkling Paloma

q drinks sparkling paloma

I’ve been excited to crack into my stock of Q Drinks products since they recently became a Simple Cocktails sponsor, and one of the first drinks I’ve made is a twist on the classic tequila-and-grapefruit cocktail, the Paloma. Here’s a simple cocktail with Q Grapefruit:

Sparkling Paloma

  • in a Collins glass filled with ice, add:
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 6 oz Q Grapefruit
  • juice of a half a lime
  • stir and serve with a straw
  • optional salt rim

Special thanks to our sponsor Q Drinks.

Podcast 111- Cooper’s Craft Bourbon and Gin & Tonic

cooper's craft

Black Friday? Greg mentions CamelCamelCamel. We taste Cooper’s Craft Bourbon. Jeff loves boxes. Greg talks about the Gin Old Fashioned. Snow shoveling. “The box of Q.” We make a Gin & Tonic with Q Drinks. Did we mention Jeff loves boxes?

Download Episode 111.

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Podcast 110- Revel Stoke Flavored Whiskies and Thanksgiving-in-a-Glass

turkey

Thanksgiving extravaganza! “Just like Willy Wonka.” Gin, not Jim. We taste Revel Stoke pecan and root beer whiskies. Greg & Jeff talk about hunting. We make a Thanksgiving-in-a-Glass cocktail. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Photo by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Download Episode 110.

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Book Review: Shake. Stir. Sip.

shake stir sip book

There is no shortage of great cocktail books on the market, though there are a even larger number of crummy ones. Because of this, you have to be careful that you stick with the writers and bartenders you trust to show real care for the craft of cocktail-making, people who are present in cocktail culture and who know the great bars and bartenders of the world.

Kara Newman is one such person, someone who’s well-connected in New York craft cocktail culture, but is also known well nationwide for her writing in Wall Street Journal or Wine Enthusiast. Kara seems to know all the great NY bartenders and has recently put together a compilation of her knowledge into a great new book: Shake. Stir. Sip. More than 50 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts.

Now, I’m aware of a handful of equal-parts cocktails, especially the Negroni or the Last Word, but Newman has assembled a great list of cocktails that my readers will love: they’re simple. Organized by how many parts they’re made of, from 2-part cocktails to 5-part cocktails in the end, Shake. Stir. Sip. consistently offers familiar cocktails that reflect the current state of the craft scene (mezcal, amaros and chartreuse, anyone?). All recipes are easy to assemble and, even better, easy to remember!

Shake. Stir. Sip. is beautifully photographed by John Lee and each 2-page spread includes a cocktail photo with it’s name and ingredients and the opposing page has backstory and the instructions for making it. It’s a good cocktail book for those with smaller home bars, too, as the recipes won’t overwhelm those with limited ingredients.

Shake. Stir. Sip. is available in hardcover or Kindle here from Amazon.

Book Review: Bourbon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of an American Whiskey

fred minnick bourbon book

Since I got a preview copy this summer, I haven’t been able to get my nose out of Fred Minnick’s newest book: Bourbon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of an American Whiskey. I’ve been pretty clear about how much I’ve loved Fred’s other book, a tasting guide called Bourbon Curious which I always keep handy as my favorite “drinking dictionary.”

Dubbed the Bourbon Authority of the Kentucky Derby Museum, there really is no other expert I’d put above Fred in his field, and he’s the perfect person to write a bourbon history book, which Bourbon… is.

The big question that Fred addresses in the book is one that has been debated for decades: who invented bourbon? Historically, that prize has gone to Baptist minister Elijah Craig (especially if you ask the Elijah Craig whiskey company), but Fred’s access to historical documents tells a different story (though probably a harder one to market than the Craig legend).

Minnick does a great job of telling a story about something that’s a lot of fun (drinking bourbon) and keeping the tone and the historical stuff just as fun, too. Bourbon is a comfortable, sometimes funny, read. I imagine some liquor companies may ruffle at the accurate historical analysis of the legends of their founding fathers, but Fred knows his stuff, and if you need to know absolutely everything about bourbon, look no further than this book.

Buy Bourbon: The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of an American Whiskey from Amazon.

Buy Bourbon Curious from Amazon.

Hear our podcast interview with Fred about Bourbon here.

Podcast 109- Drapò Dry and Bianco and Pineapple Bang

orange bang

Bad with homework. Sonny and Cher. What is vermouth? Lisa hates merlot. Greg’s vermouth stories are here. We taste Drapò Dry and Bianco Vermouths. Perfume application advice. We welcome Q Drinks as our sponsor. We make a Pineapple Bang Cocktail. “I’m waiting for the call from SkinnyGirl.”

Photo via myvalleynews.com.

Download Episode 109.

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Dalmore 18

dalmore 18

Dalmore is a highland distillery in Scotland and has been distilling since 1839. The highlands are the largest whisky-producing region of the isle and boast and of the biggest names in the country. Highland whisky is generally very mild and accessible, and The Dalmore is no exception.

At about $100, The Dalmore 18 is one of the older malts in Dalmore’s regular range and is aged in American ex-bourbon casks for 14 years, then 4 more years in sherry butts. As a result, this malt is fruity and sweet with a mild palate and long, pleasant finish. Compared to bolder scotches, this malt is quite mild and is great sipped neat after dinner as a digestif. Cigar pairings are a good fit, of course, but choose a milder Dominican stick so you don’t overpower the subtleties of the whisky.

The flavor and cost are in line with each other, offering a complex and cool profile at a price range that’s to be expected from a distiller of this caliber and a scotch of this age.

Here’s our Dalmore 18 tasting on the podcast.

Podcast 108- 100% Agave Comparison and Oh Cherry

ole smoky moonshine cherries and white lightnin

Old man talk. We compare Sauza mixto and Sauza 100% agave head to head. The results are (maybe) surprising! Wiser these days? Greg’s “40-year-old Fashioned.” We make the Oh Cherry cocktail, props to Neil Diamond, Journey and the Four Seasons. Here’s our previous moonshine tasting episode: Podcast #10. “Now it’s bad.”

Download Episode 108.

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