It’s hard to believe, but cognac used to be an everyday drinking spirit, your first choice for invigorating a bowl of Punch, stirring up into a morning “Cock-Tail” or constructing a mighty Julep. And why not?
Impeccably distilled in copper pot stills (the way it still is today), aged in oak and blended by the original masters of the art, cognac was and is a perfectly-balanced spirit, rich enough to give a drink body but not overpoweringly woody or smoky or anything other than delicious. In other words, the same characteristics that make sipping a good cognac such a comfort and a delight make a well-made Sidecar, Ritz, or Crusta about as good as a cocktail can get. Small wonder it’s been the choice of princes and pirates, poets and playboys and discerning drinkers from English Prime Ministers (Winston Churchill’s capacity for vintage cognacs was legendary) to American actresses (for her contribution to victory in World War II, Tallulah Bankhead made the ultimate sacrifice and gave up her cognac French 75s for the duration). But why let them have all the fun?
– David Wondrich, Brooklyn NY