This month’s box, Its beginning to look a lot like Cognac, was designed using Hennessy V.S. Cognac, a spirit which has been around for over two centuries and is now the most popular cognac in the world, selling over 50 million bottles a year. Made using a strict list of select French wine grapes and aged in Limousin oak casts for at least two years, the result is a beautifully balanced amber spirit which features a complex aroma of dry oak, hazelnuts and vanilla with a palette of green apples, orange, ginger, cinnamon and clove. A fantastic warming spirit for cold winter months, Hennessy V.S. is the perfect compliment to the cocktails found within this month’s Crafty Cocktails box.
Rock Center Sour
Within the layered complexity and chaotic veneer of any metropolitan area, resides a creative muse which takes this energy and brings forth beauty, light and expression. It is not a coincidence that the best food, drink, art and music are born in cities, as their energy usually nurtures the spirit of the artists found within it. This complex sour reflects that ever-reliant source of expression, taking its roots in the ‘New York-style’ sour, with an extra emphasis on cosmopolitan intricacy. Starting with a sweet yet distinguished base of Hennessy V.S. Cognac, layers of flavour are added by elements such as Les Charlatans Cocoa Beetroot syrup, Red wine molasses, Prosyro Zap solution and, of course, egg white, to bring in a velvety frothiness that compliments the dryness of this sour. Walk the streets of the city, take in its sights, sounds, and, most importantly, tastes, with this drink that is inspired by its arduous nature.
Sugar Plums Dancing
The night was dark, and down in the bar
The tender was shaking, the best drink by far
It was dry, sweet and so full of spice
That everyone agreed, it was incredibly nice
With elderberry, bitters and crushed sugar plums
It complimented perfectly the Christmas to come
So sit back by the fire, take in the glow
Of family and friends and a drink that’s just so
Crafty's Champagne Cocktail
The laughter of friends, the low atmospheric pulse of a classic bassline on the speakers, the clink of glassware as people cheers to health and good times. These are the feelings we chase at this time of year, and the perfect party cocktail always helps with creating this sought-after vibe. This champagne style cocktail is sure to add a touch of class to any gathering, boasting a delicious range of classically inspired ingredients, such as Rootside Aromatic-ish bitters, Bubbles syrup, and Champagne-infused dehydrated orange, with a touch of raw sugar for sweetness and soda for that quintessential effervescence which perfectly compliment the dry, fruity notes of cognac. Full of flavour and classic elements, this cocktail will definitely tickle the fancy of any party guest and is sure to bring many a *clink* to your next gathering. And really, isn’t that the sound you want to hear?
As the days become colder and the nights become longer, many of us search for ways to stay cozy, wrapping ourselves up in blankets, digging the toques and gloves out of storage, building crackling fires and, of course, sipping on libations that bring warmth to the belly and a sparkle to our eyes. For the Crafty Cocktails team, no spirit is more warming or more complimentary to the winter season than brandy. Its amber colour, its fruity, oaky flavour with notes of spice; it is the perfect winter spirit, albeit an underappreciated one. And no brandy is more coveted than cognac, which is brandy that is exclusively distilled in the Cognac region of France.
Seeing that brandy is the perfect holiday spirit and cognac represents the pinnacle of brandy distillation, it seemed only right to make cognac the star of this month’s box, Its beginning to look a lot like Cognac, a box which not only reveals the potential of cognac as a base spirit, but also gives you a trio of delicious cocktails which are sure to get you in the spirit of the season.
However, cognac is an extremely complex spirit with a storied history, so familiarizing yourself with it a little is extremely valuable in understanding the flavour contained within it as well as its pivotal role in cocktail culture. Far too often brandy is viewed as a spirit which is of the ‘old tradition’, serving as the base for cocktails such as the Alexander or Sidecar. For many, these types of drinks are better left in dusty recipe books than on menus of modern cocktail bars. While there is some relevance to this, as these cocktails represent a very different era of bartending and cocktails, cognac is an extremely nuanced spirit, featuring many layers of flavour, from dried fruits such as apple, plum, cherry, apricot and grape, to warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and tobacco, all of which are amplified by its dry, oaky finish which brings in tannins to fortify its spectacular flavour.
All of these elements are the result of two things: both the strict selection of wine grapes used to distill cognac as well as the thorough and time-tested aging process which has been developed over centuries. The grapes used in making cognac are very specific and there are only a handful of varietals which can be employed, including Ugni blanc, Colombard and Montils. While the ‘wine’ which they produce is often extremely acidic, after a lengthy distillation process in a traditional Charentais-style still, the spirit becomes smooth and balanced, but still possesses the fruity yet dry profile of a good French white wine. Once distilled, the cognac is placed exclusively in Limousin oak barrels for at least 2 years, but many are aged for much longer. The aging process gives the spirit its deep, amber colour, while at the same time balancing the complex flavour profile and providing a dry, oaky finish. The result is a complex spirit that is all at once sweet, dry, fruity, acidic and full of spice and flavour.