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:
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
This is one of the few cognac reviews you’ll find here at Simple Cocktails, but that’s not really intentional. It’s just that cognac can be pricey and is mostly intended for sipping, not cocktail-making. Hennessy is really one of the big names in cognac and has released a limited edition bottle to celebrate 250 years in business, designed by American artist Ryan McGinness.
So what is cognac exactly? Cognac is brandy (distilled from grapes) that is specifically distilled and aged in the Cognac region of France. Like brandy, there are 3 common types of cognac:
V.S. – very special. The youngest type of cognac.
V.S.O.P. – very special old pale. An older and more expensive cognac.
X.O. – extra old. Cognacs in this range usually start at $100, though they can command thousands or tens of thousands of dollars if they’re old or unique enough.
Hennessy has chosen accessibility with this limited edition bottle, it’s the V.S. blend, which retails for the usual $30-40. V.S. is a blend of dozens of cognacs and is aged 8 years. Cognac has long been the preferred accompaniment to a cigar, and this one has the subtle flavor of sweet red wine, and the barrel notes of vanilla and a little bit of caramel. Definitely the right flavor profile for a cigar.
Cognac is not particularly appealing to the younger drinking crowd and I imagine this bottle art is a way of generating interest from them. It glows under a blacklight, a particularly cool effect in a nightclub. The artwork is modern and beautiful too, and if you’re looking to pickup a moderately-priced cognac, there’s not reason not to grab this beautiful bottle with quality cognac inside.