Browsing Tag

Pierre Ferrand

Features

ROCKS STARS: TOASTING TALES AT TEN

August 22, 2012

By David Ransom

This year, Tales of the Cocktail celebrated its tenth birthday by doing what it does best: throwing a conference for the spirits industry that is unrivaled in its scope and size, and unmatched in its dedication to providing the bar industry with a forum to share ideas, learn from its legends, try new products, and move itself forward.

I could wax poetic about the program, which under the close supervision of founder Ann Tuennerman (aka: Mrs. Cocktail) has grown in ten years from being a one-day happy hour and dinner to a six-day extravaganza of seminars, tasting rooms, awards programs, meet and greets, parties, and more parties. But we all know that, and there are plenty of other columns that can tell you what seminars were new this year, what products were launched, and who won what award.

Instead, I’d just like to let you know what I considered to be the most interesting experiences and trends at Tales this year. So let’s get to it…

Most interesting spirits trend: Anything white. Whether it was white whiskey or moonshine, Pisco (either kind, see below), grappa, white rum, gin, or some new vodka made from a particular type of grain grown only on Mars, white spirits seems to be all the rage this year with the mixologist set, who are using it to create wonderfully crafted, clean, well thought-out cocktails. Cheers to that!

Honorable mention should go out to the liqueur category. Four wonderful products stormed Tales this year: Mandarine Napoléon was re-introduced, Cognac Ferrand’s Dry Orange Curacao, which made its debut earlier this year, won best new product at the Awards, Lillet’s delightful Lillet Rose made a big splash (and was also runner-up to Ferrand’s Dry Curacao), and Marie Brizard showcased it’s new Essence line of liqueurs during its U.S. Cocktail Competition Finals on Friday, at which, I am honored to say, I was a judge.

Marie Brizard winner Robert Montero and his Sunny Crusta

Most interesting seminar: Without a doubt, the most interesting, and also most entertaining, seminar I attended was The Pisco Wars: Peru vs. Chile since 1613. These two countries have been vying for Pisco dominance and authenticity for generations, and that all came to a head in Continue Reading…

Features

PROOF THAT YOU LOVE ME

August 19, 2012

High proof Cognacs return the spirit to cocktails
By Francine Cohen

Photo courtesy of Pierre Ferrand

Every year, without fail, the spirits world experiences two phenomena; one a little disheartening and the other REALLY exciting. The disheartening one (let’s get it out of the way) is that numerous new brands flood an already crowded marketplace and either are totally indistinguishable or so god awful that they stand out for their appalling packaging or wretched juice (or both). The good thing that happens every year is that we see another spirit category slide into the spotlight. As this happens we are gifted with the luxury of shifting our attention to rediscovering exquisite spirits and exploring new ways to use them.

Cognac has proven itself a spirit worth considering this year (and in years to come); particularly as high proof expressions are being made readily available — a boon for cocktail creation. The presence of high proof Cognacs on the shelves just may be what the category needs to revitalize its image and move away from its “Cognac is just for the hip-hop crowd and rich old people’s sipping enjoyment ” reputation. High proof Cognac makes for a great cocktail ingredient.

Not to mention an historically accurate one. Philippe Pichetto of Louis Royer Cognac, the producer of Force 53 a high proof Cognac bottled at 53% ABV (www.louis-royer.com), explains, “Historian Dave Wondrich has eloquently traced the history of Cognac cocktails.” Pichetto points to Wondrich’s writings on www.experiencecognac.com where Wondrich documented that brandy-based drinks, with Cognac often specified as (in Wondrich’s words) ‘the best of the best,’ have long been part of the libations pantheon. According to his Cognac cocktail research Wondrich unearths evidence that Cognac has been a cocktail staple dating back to punches favored by the English and juleps and sours embraced by their American counterparts, as well as in seminal cocktails like the Sazerac from New Orleans, the Crusta, the Brandy Cocktail and the Coffee Cocktail. Though Prohibition and its after effects froze the development of cocktails for many years thankfully that time is well behind us. Wondrich remarks, “We truly have entered a new Golden Age of the Cocktail and Cognac continues to play a large role in today’s modern cocktails!”

Modern day mixologist Chad Solomon, one half of drinks consultancy Cuffs & Buttons operated with his partner Christy Pope (www.cuffsandbuttons.com), is pleased to see this resurrection of the powerful spirit. He recognizes, “Cognac has been a little late coming to the table in the craft cocktail revival where gin and rye were the first embraced and revived. Cognac lagged behind. In the last two years that tide has turned and Cognac has moved to take its place shoulder to shoulder.”

Solomon attributes Cognac’s slow re-starting role to history, concurring with Pichetto. He comments, “If you compare the way Cognac has been viewed and its role in 19th century – it was a pre-eminent cocktail spirit. But then we had the philoxera epidemic, world wars, and Prohibition – all those things emerge from that time peior and during the last part of 20th century it’s been pushed to a sipping spirit. That’s been to its detriment.”

Its return to its natural place in cocktail development pleases Pierre Ferrand’s president, Alexandre Gabriel (www.pierreferrandcognac.com) , “Cognac was there at the birth of the unique cocktail culture here in the USA. Cognac works so well for cocktail because it is a grape (fruit) based spirit and because it’s distilled Continue Reading…

Don't Miss

DON’T MISS – FERRAND 1840

December 15, 2011

By Seánan Forbes

A product of passion, tradition and collaboration, Pierre Ferrand’s new-old Cognac – the 1840 – is built for industry.

More and more, bars and restaurants take pride in serving classic cocktails. That requires pouring the right spirit in the glass. As Ferrand Vice President Guilaume Lamy observes, “Cognac was the base for mixing in the nineteenth century.”

It pays to know your history. These days, customers do – and they expect the highest quality ingredients from the bar as well as the kitchen, with respect for source and tradition.

So it was a perfect time for Ferrand to dip into the past and reproduce a period cognac. For Ferrand, Lamy says, “this is a historical thing to do: to reconstruct a cognac that was drunk back in 1840.”

Alexandre Gabriel, Ferrand’s owner, didn’t work alone. In a different kind of spirit – one of international creativity – he invited a friend, American author-historian David Wondrich, to join the project. Wondrich remembers the call. Gabriel said, “I’ve got this project you might be interested in . . .” Bringing history alive? There’s not a drop of doubt.

According to Lamy, Wondrich’s input was vital. “Alexandre is very knowledgeable about taste. For history, David is Continue Reading…