cognac Feed

My first story for the LA Times Magazine is now online. It is in the Sunday, December 7, 2010 print edition. (Photo by Bartholomew Cooke) The story is a brief airing of a pet peeve: Why are there so few cognac cocktails being served when we're supposedly in the midst of a classic cocktail renaissance? The article also includes four recipes from Damian Windsor of the Roger Room. Read and enjoy! Read more →

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Importer Nicolas Palazzi brought in a delicious barrel of cognac that I sampled earlier this year. Soon to arrive on US shores is another import project, a long-aged Pineau des Charentes. In announcing the new bottling, Nicolas sent a great and very practical description of pineau, how it is made, and why we don't see too much of it outside of France and Belgium. I have pasted it below. After the general description I've pasted specifics as to the bottling that he is importing. If you are not familiar with what Pineau des Charentes is, no worries, no-one is; only... Read more →

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I finally got the press release for Remy V, the new product debuting in September in two trial markets- the San Francisco Bay Area and Atlanta. I'd heard the word on the street about this and posted a couple hints to my Twitter feed and Facebook page last and this week, but this was the first I got an actual press release on it. Remy V is not a cognac because it is unaged- just double-distilled on the lees like cognac, chill-filtered, and rested before bottling. They're releasing the product with cocktail recipes from mixologist Charles Hardwick. I guess the... Read more →

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Sleeves! Sleeves! Sleeves! Everything in sleeves! Moet-Hennessy found the hot new look of the season by putting sleeves on all their products. Perhaps they were inspired by the champagnes they put in sleeves a few seasons ago, like this attractive ice jacket for Veuve-Clicquot. Sassy! Then they did the same thing with flasks of Hennessy V.S. just this year. So fresh! SO funky! Thinking ahead for fall, they knew it would get chilly, and said, "SLEEVES FOR EVERYONE. EVERYONE GETS A SLEEVE!" So they did one for Chopin vodka. It's the puffy jacket for potato vodka. FABULOUS. Read more →

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I am a big fan of distillery waste. Not bathing in it, but learning about it. In most cases where a grain is distilled into whiskey or vodka, the spent grain (after all the sugar has been removed to be fermented) is sold off as animal feed. In Cognac (at Hennessy anyway) the spent lees (grape parts) are taken to an industrial distiller to get more alcohol out of them, and the "heavy sediments" of the grape juice go for cattle feed and for use in pharmaceutical products. In tequila production, the spent fibers from the agave pinas are sometimes... Read more →

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The Blue Dog, as three different people told me, is "the place where everyone ends up," as it's open until three in the morning. I got there a little before 1AM on Saturday night and it was jammed. The long bar had five or six bartenders working at the same time. The cocktail menu didn't look terribly appealing to me with the exception of a couple drinks. After a short and understandable wait, I ordered a Spruce Moose, which calls for Rittenhouse rye, calvados, maple syrup, and orange bitters. Despite the crowd, the bartender took his time and made it... Read more →

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I received a sample of Paul-Marie & Fils Cognac, a brand independently bottled by Nicolas Palazzi. Palazzi is buying single casks of cognac and hand bottling them unfiltered and at full cask strength. He apparently has a few bottlings under different names and this is the first under the Paul-Marie & Fils label. The one he sent me to try is the Devant La Porte barrel, meaning "the barrel in front of the door". Devant La Porte was distilled in 1951 and bottled in August of 2009. The cask produced 257 bottles at the full 51% alcohol and they retail... Read more →

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I'm increasingly interested in how different alcohol production/control and marketing bureaus differ from each other in their approach to promoting their common interests. The Scotch Whisky Association leads by litigation and has good information on its website, but doesn't seem to do all that much outreach to press. Neither tequila's CRT (regulatory agency) or the CNIT (industry bureau) is doing a good job of any sort with regard to PR, seemingly leaving brands to do the work. Lately I've noticed the Cognac Bureau, the BNIC, adding new programs, hosting events, and launching online tools that are actually useful. Go cognac!... Read more →

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