With more than 150 bottlings to choose from, including a variety of vintage spirits dating back to the early 20th century, the Brandy Library is the best place to enjoy cognac in New York and possibly the whole country. And Flavien Desoblin, who opened the venerable institution in 2004, not only has 14 years of experience serving drinks but also is an enthusiastic cognac evangelist.
We couldn’t think of a better guide to this oft-misunderstood liquor, so we asked him for some key pieces of advice.
IF IT’S YOUNG, MIX IT:
For cocktails, Desoblin advises that you pour a younger spirit like Courvoisier VS, Frapin VS, or Leopold Gourmel Premieres Saveurs. Citrus, nutty, and floral flavors play well with cognac, so try fixing classics such as the Sidecar and French Connection. Also, "a young cognac with ginger ale on ice works wonders when it’s hot," Desoblin says. We recommend his Jarnac Ginger, a brandy-based spin on the Dark ‘n Stormy.
IF IT’S OLD, DRINK IT STRAIGHT:
"As soon as there is any depth or complexity with a cognac," Desoblin says, "it should not be used in cocktails." Save those pricey XO and hors d’age spirits for sipping. Aged brandies have very delicate and subtle notes, and he suggests having them without mixers, food, or even cigars. Desoblin prefers his cognac "after dinner with little distraction. Prerequisites: no stress, anger or loud people around!"
NO WATER, NO ICE:
"Water tends to make cognac too bland, unless you deal with a cask-strength bottling, which is rare," Desoblin says, "and ice just kills it." In general, serve the spirit neat, at room temperature or slightly cooler. The traditional snifter, with its wide, balloon-shaped bottom and narrow top, is the ideal vessel, Desoblin says: "It allows for swirling and therefore the liberation of aromatic compounds."
FIND A GREAT DEAL:
Cognac beginners need not fret; there’s a wide range of excellent spirits available for less than $50. A few suggestions from Desoblin: Pierre Ferrand Ambre, Hardy VSOP, Cognac Park Borderies Single Vineyard, H by Hine, Normandin-Mercier VSOP, Louis Grimaud VSOP, and Vignoble Grateaud Bouquet des Borderies.
STOCK UP NOW:
If you’ve ever thought about building a brandy collection, you’d better get started. Due to huge demand for expensive XO bottlings in Asia, many large cognac producers are running low on older stocks. Soon, "on top of being hard to find in the U.S.," Desoblin says, these coveted spirits "will be of a lesser quality as well."
Click here for the recipe for the Jarnac Ginger cocktail.
This story was originally published at 5 Tips: Cognac. For more stories like this, subscribe to Liquor.com for the best in all things cocktails and spirits.
The Hennessy Tonic
The Hennessy Tonic is an uplifting spring cocktail for a warm afternoon and is as invigorating as soft spring rain in April. The recipe lets fresh lime take centre stage, accompanied by Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège and tonic water – a drink made easy at home as you unthaw.
45ml Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège
Top with tonic water
Put ice cubes to fill the glass. Pour in Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège. Top with tonic water and garnish with a lime wedge.
A cool-weather classic, the American 75 cocktail is a take on the all-time classic French 75. By lightening it up with bubbles and adding a hefty hit of cola, this drink transforms into the perfect brunch go-to – light and vibrant with flavour, this one's for drinking slow.
45ml Hennessy V.S
25ml cola syrup
15ml fresh lime juice
2 dash angostura bitters
Top with Chandon Brut
Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice, except for the Chandon. Shake to chill. Strain into a wine glass. Top up with Chandon and garnish with a lime twist.
It's festive, citrusy, and oh-so-easy to make! The Sidecar cocktail requires just three ingredients – Hennessy cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice – perfect for spring sipping, with its crisp taste. This drink originated in the Ritz Hotel Bar in Paris and has been delighting cognac lovers for over a century, and there's a good reason it remains a hit!
50 ml Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège
15 ml Cointreau™
15 ml lemon juice
1 orange zest
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice cubes. Shake vigorously until well mixed and well chilled. Strain into a glass and garnish with orange zest.
Looking for a drink with a little jolt? The Coco Colada, with its velvety play, is sweet enough to perk you up and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time. The cocktail recipe calls for both Amaretto and chocolate syrup, paired with the richness of the Hennessy Very Special cognac. Accent it with a cherry and an orange slice to make it a memorable experience!
45ml Hennessy V.S
60ml coconut cream or Piña Colada mix
15ml chocolate syrup
10ml lime juice
Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice. Shake until chilled. Pour entire contents of shaker into hurricane glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.
Tea Ceremony Cocktail
Green tea, with a hint of citrus is a sure sign of spring, and the Tea Ceremony Cocktail puts it to good use. The five-ingredient drink has a gentle floral flavour with a unique twist, thanks to the Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège cognac – traditional and botanical flavours make this Collins glass cocktail a real beauty.
45ml Hennessy VSOP Privilège
15ml Grand Marnier
60ml strong green tea chilled and unsweetened
15ml fresh lemon juice
30ml simple syrup
Combine all liquids in a shaker tin and shake until well chilled. Strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a twist of orange and a mint sprig.
Easy Cocktail Recipes: Cognac Concoctions Perfect for Winter
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“One of my bar regulars—one that I would now call a friend—had asked me to bartend for his 50th birthday party in Copenhagen some years ago. It’s rare that I get to visit a place and have locals show me all the best restaurants and bars. It was an unforgettable trip filled with great food, drink, and people. I already had an affinity for aquavit, so I was pleased to taste other brands and styles that aren’t available in the U.S. I think I created at least three new aquavit cocktails after that trip. I was obsessed. And when I tasted the Åhus Aquavit recently, I knew I wanted to create something for Wonderbar with it. It’s definitely pushing the clientele here a bit, but I hope they love it as much as I do.” —Jessica Gonzalez, beverage director at Wonderbar, Beacon, NY
0.5 oz. Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac
0.5 oz. black pepper-infused Cocchi Americano
0.75 oz. Dolin Dry vermouth
Method: Combine, stirred, and serve up—with a brandied cherry garnish.
“This Coffee Spritz is a perfectly smooth digestif. The ingredients are simple and provide the right amount of energy and elevation to your everyday spritz.” —Tiffanie Barriere, mixologist and member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Atlanta, GA
Method: Build in a wine glass over ice. Garnish with an orange wheel.
Piero Procida, food and beverage director at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills
“How many varieties of spiked eggnog can you possibly make without it just tasting the same after a while? The Cognac Latte is a new way to celebrate the winter season with class. After an incredibly challenging year, why mess around? Go all out and splurge on some Hennessy and an old Zacapa Rum! Enjoy a Cognac-laced nog complemented with cocoa and spiced vanilla notes from Ron Zacapa Centenario 23, a booster of Mr. Black cold brew, and the velvety texture of barista oat milk just to add that extra level of lusciousness and of course, heavy whipped egg. A holiday staple reimagined topped with grated cinnamon bark and nutmeg.” —Piero Procida, food and beverage director at The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
0.5 oz. Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur
1 oz. barista oat milk, Oatly preferred
Method: Add Zacapa, Hennessy, Mr. Black, simple syrup, oat milk, and 1 whole egg. Dry shake for 30 seconds, add ice, and a quick heavy shake. Fine strain into a coupe. grate cinnamon bark and nutmeg on top.
“Pears, much like apples and pumpkins, are a fruit associated with the colder months. A light drink with a savory taste, Hennessy VSOP works well with the juicy sweetness of the pear and is contrasted by the tartness of fresh-squeezed lemon juice along with a few dashes of plum bitters to add complexity. Overall, a rustic and pleasant drink that isn’t difficult by any stretch to make—and it will certainly make for a memorable experience.” —Donny Largotta, Beverage Director at The Chester (Gansevoort Meatpacking), New York City
0.5 oz. pear-infused simple syrup
Method: Combine ingredients and shake. Serve on the rocks.
“When the cold months rolls around it’s time for some dark spirits. This drink highlights the sweetness of the Cognac—along with the spiciness of the rye. The combo makes it a complex, interesting, and well balanced. An overall fantastic drink. I can’t recommend it highly enough.” —Gavin Humes, food and beverage director at Scratch Restaurants
4 dashes Angosutra bitters
Campari (ideally in an aerosolizer)
Method: Add all ingredients except the Campari to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass. Spritz the cocktail with Campari. If you don’t have an aerosolizer, just drop a few drops of Campari on the top of the glass. Finish with a twist of orange peel, rub the peel on the rim of the glass, and discard.
LA VIE EN ROSE
“La Vie en Rose essentially means to see the world through rose-colored glasses. And this cocktail is designed to help you do just that. With Cognac, Champagne, raspberry, absinthe, and rose water, this drink is a healthy dose of romance and escapism that we all very much need this year.” —Hannah Chamberlain, founder at @SpiritedLA
Method: Shake first four ingredients before fine straining the ingredients into a glass that’s been rinsed with absinthe. Pour in the Champagne until it reaches the brim. Garnish with rose petal.
D’USSÉ HOT TODDY
“When the weather starts to cool and I feel a crispness in the air, I switch out my fruit-forward cocktail ingredients for spiced, aromatic flavors that mix perfectly with D’ussé’s pleasant and full-bodied smoothness. A Cognac hot toddy is typically my go-to: It’s an easy-to-make crowd pleaser that’s perfect for serving at home—plus it packs a good kick. All you need is D’ussé VSOP, hot black tea, and honey—and you’re all set.” —Sullivan Doh, Global Brand Ambassador at D’ussé
1 orange peel, for garnish
Cinnamon stick, for garnish
Method: Steep tea in a glass mug. Add Cognac and honey syrup, then stir. Garnish with orange peels and a cinnamon stick.
“This recipe is one of my favorites because it’s so simple and easy to make that you will feel like you’re the cocktail master of your kitchen. The flavors of the Apothic Red combined with the Cognac, cinnamon, and lemon juice is perfect for these cold months.” —Josue Romero, spirit consultant, The Garnish Guy (@the_garnishguy)
Ingredients (2 Servings):
Cinnamon stick, for garnish
Method: Place all the ingredients into a heat resistant container, including the garnishes, and stir until all the ingredients are fully combined. makes two servings.
LA CONGA BLICOTI
“This cocktail is named after a French jazz song by the iconic Josephine Baker, and I wanted it to capture the song’s refined but playful sense of fun. It’s similar to the classic sidecar cocktail, but the banana, lime, and demerara give it a nice tropical update. It’s easy to make and very easy to drink.” —Hannah Chamberlain, founder at @SpiritedLA
Method: Shake all ingredients (other than the garnish) and double strain them into a coupe. Garnish with banana chips and tropical flower.
“Drinking a sidecar transports me to a dimly lit cocktail bar in Cognac. The aromatics and floral aromas produced by the forgotten Colombard grape variety balances really well with the complex orange aroma of Ferrand Dry Curaçao and the acidity of the lemon.” —Nico de Soto, beverage consultant and owner of Danico in Paris and Mace in New York City
2 oz. Ferrand Ambré Cognac
0.5 oz. Ferrand Dry Curaçao orange liqueur
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a coupe and garnish with orange twist.
Follow me on Instagram (@kalindahao) and Twitter (@karlaalindahao)
I cover all things luxury lifestyle—with a focus on food, spirits, and travel. I'm the former digital director of the Haute Media Group. I've also done time at The New
I cover all things luxury lifestyle—with a focus on food, spirits, and travel. I'm the former digital director of the Haute Media Group. I've also done time at The New York Observer, Metropolis magazine, Lifestyle Mirror, and Tatler Philippines. And I have very deep thoughts about life's finer things—like red meat, brown liquor, and green M&Ms. Follow me on Instagram: @kalindahao
Hennessy Mule Cocktail
- 1.5 oz Hennessy Very Special
- 3.5 oz ginger beer
- Garnish: lime wedge and/or fresh ginger slice
- 1.75 oz Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège
- 0.75 oz sweet vermouth
- 2 Angostura bitter dashes
- 1 orange twist
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with 8 ice cubes. Stir for 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled champagne coupe. Garnish with an orange twist and serve immediately.
Mint Julep Cocktail
- 1.75 Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège
- 8 mint leaves
- ½ oz simple syrup
- Fresh mint on branch to garnish
Place the mint leaves in a tall Julep glass and gently press with a pestle to release flavors. Add the other ingredients along with crushed ice. Mix vigorously with a bar spoon. Complete with crushed ice to fill and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Hennessy Sunset Punch Cocktail
- 11 oz Hennessy Very Special
- 17 oz water
- 5 oz Gin
- 2 oz orange liqueur
- 2 cups simple syrup or 3 cups sugar
- 9 oz lemon juice
- 4 oz Hibiscus Grenadine
- 1 grapefruit cut into ½ wheels
- 1 orange sliced into wheels
- 2 lemons cut into wheels
- 2 limes cut into wheels
- 20 dashes orange bitters or other citrus bitters
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar as much as possible. Add a large block of ice to chill the punch before serving.
French 75 Cocktail
- 1.5 oz Hennessy Very Special
- 0.5 oz Simple syrup
- 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
- Top with sparkling wine or champagne
- Garnish: lemon twist
Build directly in a flute glass.Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.
All cognac recipes courtesy of Hennessy!
For more of our favorite drink recipes, visit this page!
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Shrimp Scampi Recipe with Cognac
Shrimp scampi with cognac is my dad's creation and it's an easy and quick seafood starter full of flavors. So, let’s see what we need to make shrimps scampi with cognac.
Watch video recipe: (Italy Unexplored Exclusive Footage)
Beautiful cherry tomatoes
1. So, now you put a nice amount of extra virgin olive oil in the pan. When the oil is nice and warm, you put half onion that you cut into small pieces.
2. And now, you put the cherry tomatoes, we are using about 12 of them. Now it’s time to put some nice rosemary inside, just to give that beautiful taste to the sauce.
3. I think now it’s time to put the shrimp inside and a glass of white wine.
4. Because we are using one kilo of shrimps, we’re going to add 50 ml of cognac. The cognac will give the nice taste to it.
5. Now, we need to cover this for about five minutes, but you can't open it all. It has to be nice and locked.
6. After 5 minutes, we are ready to open it. And here we have an explosion of aromas. And explosion of flavors of the Adriatic Sea.
7. And now it’s time to serve this shrimp scampi with cognac made by my Dad.
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- 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ cup fresh sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup brandy
Cut chicken breast into 1 inch strips. Season with garlic powder, black pepper, rosemary and seasoned salt. In a small skillet brown chicken strips in hot oil. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Add mushrooms to skillet and saute for 3 to 4 minutes over medium high heat. When mushrooms appear slightly browned, add heavy cream and cognac, STIRRING CONSTANTLY so that cream does not curdle.
Reduce sauce until desired consistency is reached. Add chicken strips to skillet, stirring so that they are coated with sauce. Cover and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.
Pat steaks dry and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare the peppercorns.
Place the ground peppercorns in a medium skillet with the 4 tablespoons of oil and heat it over medium-low temperature about five minutes, until you can smell the peppercorns infusing their essential oils into the olive oil. Remove this mixture to a measuring cup or small bowl, add the tablespoon salt and mix well. Wipe the skillet out well with a paper towel.
Coat both sides of the steaks with the peppercorn mixture. In the skillet, heat the butter and the other tablespoon of olive oil over moderate-high heat until hot, just until it starts smoking, then sear the steaks for 4 minutes (3 – 3½ minutes for thinner steaks) on each side for medium rare. Transfer steaks to serving plates.
Pour off excess fat from the skillet and add the cream and Cognac. Boil the mixture, scraping up browned bits, until the sauce thickens and coats back of spoon, about 1 minute. Season the sauce with salt and spoon over steaks.
- 6 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
- 2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
- 3 tablespoons cognac
- ⅔ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
Put mustard seeds, 1/3 cup water, cognac, and vinegar in a bowl and stir to completely submerge seeds. Cover and let sit at room temperature 2 to 3 days.
Whirl mustard mixture in a blender with brown sugar and salt until smooth.
Make ahead: 2 weeks, covered and chilled.
Your imagination's the limit when it comes to making flavored mustard. All you need are mustard seeds or dry mustard powder, and then the seasonings are up to you.
Mustard seeds or mustard powder?
Mustard seeds: Use when you want a whole-grain, crunchy texture. The three types are yellow, aka white (Sinapis alba), the mildest and used mainly in American-style mustards and for pickling brown (Brassica juncea), zestier and used in European-style mustards (like Dijon), for pickling, and in Indian cooking and black (B. nigra), also used in Indian food they're interchangeable with the brown. Seeds need to soften in liquid for 1 to 2 days before you make mustard with them.
Mustard powder: For silky smooth mustard. It's nothing more than ground mustard seed, and the most common brand is Colman's, a blend of white and brown seeds. Mix the powder with liquid (like water or beer) and let it sit overnight to fully hydrate and develop flavor. Don't let it sit longer, though, or it will taste harsh.
The Seven Principles of HACCP
The application of this principle involves listing the steps in the process and identifying where significant hazards are likely to Occur. The HACCP team will focus on hazards that can be prevented, eliminated or controlled by the HACCP plan. A justification for including or excluding the hazard is reported and possible control measures are identified.
Principle 2 - Identify the Critical Control Points
A critical control point (CCP) is a point, step or procedure at which control can be applied and a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels. The HACCP team will use a CCP decision tree to help identify the critical control points in the process. A critical control point may control more that one food safety hazard or in some cases more than one CCP is needed to control a single hazard. The number of CCP's needed depends on the processing steps and the control needed to assure food safety.
Principle 3 - Establish Critical Limits
A critical limit (CL) is the maximum and/or minimum value to which a biological, chemical, or physical parameter must be controlled at a CCP to prevent, eliminate, or reduce to an acceptable level the occurrence of a food safety hazard. The critical limit is usually a measure such as time, temperature, water activity (Aw), pH, weight, or some other measure that is based on scientific literature and/or regulatory standards.
Principle 4- Monitor CCP
The HACCP team will describe monitoring procedures for the measurement of the critical limit at each critical control point. Monitoring procedures should describe how the measurement will be taken, when the measurement is taken, who is responsible for the measurement and how frequently the measurement is taken during production.
Principle 5 - Establish Corrective Action
Corrective actions are the procedures that are followed when a deviation in a critical limit occurs. The HACCP team will identify the steps that will be taken to prevent potentially hazardous food from entering the food chain and the steps that are needed to correct the process. This usually includes identification of the problems and the steps taken to assure that the problem will not occur again.
Principle 6 - Verification
Those activities, other than monitoring, that determine the validity of the HACCP plan and that the system is operating according to the plan. The HACCP team may identify activities such as auditing of CCP's, record review, prior shipment review, instrument calibration and product testing as part of the verification activities.
Principle 7 - Recordkeeping
A key component of the HACCP plan is recording information that can be used to prove that the a food was produced safely. The records also need to include information about the HACCP plan. Record should include information on the HACCP Team, product description, flow diagrams, the hazard analysis, the CCP's identified, Critical Limits, Monitoring System, Corrective Actions, Recordkeeping Procedures, and Verification Procedures.
HACCP Does not Stand Alone
The application of HACCP does not stand alone in a food processing facility. The plan must be built on other food safety programs. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) that are practiced by the processing facility will support HACCP plan and will address food safety and food quality issues that are not critical for the reduction of food safety hazards. Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP's) are required in federally inspected meat and poultry operations and address procedures for clean facilities, equipment and personnel that are necessary for all products produced in a facility.
If you’re going to give it a go, make sure you include our 5:2 recipes that are low in calories but high in nutrition.
Weight loss and good health can be achieved by following a healthy, balanced diet. Find your perfect portion size, guideline daily amounts and nutritionally balanced breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks:
How to eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet for women
A balanced diet for men
A balanced diet for vegetarians
A balanced diet for vegans
Want facts and information on other diets? Read more about other popular weight loss plans:
The dopamine diet
More popular diets
This article was last reviewed on 16 September 2019 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a Registered Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food