The Cognac & Brandy Insights report launched this week by the IWSR states that ‘Cognac sales will continue their remarkable recent momentum’ into 2018. Cognac has certainly worked its way back into the hearts of the drinks trade over the last year, whether for sipping, food pairing or in mixology. This was clear to see at the Cognac Experience, an immersive cognac tasting hosted by Phipps on behalf of the BNIC this month.
This month 17 Cognac producers convened at East London’s TT Liquor with one main aim; to demonstrate the diversity within the category. From VS (Very Special) designed specifically for mixology, to rare vintage Cognacs, over 71 different products were on show for guests to explore, taste and compare.
The Cognac Resurgence
A large part of cognacs’ resurgence is the increased demand for high quality cocktails. All over the world, a new generation of mixologists, both professional and amateur, are seeking authentic and versatile ingredients to create showstopper cocktails. Cognac, with its diverse range of aromas, contributes a smoothness and intensity to cocktail creations that mixologists have been taking advantage of since cocktail making first began. Guests to the Cognac Experience were given the opportunity to experiment with different flavour profiles during a very special mixology masterclass hosted by Joe Hall – Cognac enthusiast and general manager at renowned Bethnal Green bar Satan’s Whiskers.
While Cognac carved its spot in mixology from the outset, it also has excellent food pairing qualities that are often overlooked. Experience sur Mesure is a chef and sommelier partnership from Cognac who are pioneers in cognac and food pairing. The pair have developed the perfect pairings to inspire any audience, focusing on different styles of Cognac at different temperatures to bring out the best in a variety of foods. Attendees to our food pairing masterclass were taken on a journey through the styles, experiencing delicious and often surprising food pairings – from frozen VS Cognac with caviar to XO with dark chocolate.
Charlotte Charret, Head Bartender at The Coral Room attended both masterclasses. She commented; “I think that Cognac is one of the world’s most refined spirits. No other distillation of fruit or grain can equal Cognac for its nuanced bouquet or its artful balance of power, subtlety, and warmth. It is also a versatile drink, as it can be enjoyed neat, with food, as a long drink, or in your favourite cocktail.”
Alice Lascelles, drinks columnist for the Financial Times, author and presenter summed up the day on her Instagram post. “An excellent Cognac tasting today – reminded me how much I and a lot of bartenders love Cognac. Lots of great new discoveries. Will be interesting to see if Cognac can kick start the renaissance it deserves”.