About last night:
I was invited to go on an adventure with Rémy Martin. My love for Cognac runs deep! Bring it!
We kicked things off at Gotham Bar & Grill. It’s a nice spot for the grown and sexy! Started the night with a Joie de Vivre cocktail, which has Remy XO ( $28). I was also introduced to Rémy’s new permanent expression, Tercet, new to the US as of this week. It’s created by three artisans: Rémy Martin's Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau, Wine Master Francis Nadeau, and Master Distiller Jean-Marie Bernard. They worked together to distill, blend, and form the new Cognac. It’s great neat and in classic cocktails. Before we left, I had a Sazerac made with Remy 1738. PS- Make sure you have the lobster rolls at Gotham. They are so good. 🦞
Next we hit, Thalassa, a Greek restaurant that’s been serving up high end seafood in NYC since 2002. Had more Tercet and a little Greek wine with some fabulous food including the Spanakopita, Shrimp Youvetsi with Orzo, Greek dips, and Wild King Shrimp, and Tartare Trio. Somehow at the end of the night I ended up with samples of Greek olive and sea salt. Turns out, Thalassa, came to be due to the family being in the olive oil business. Opa!
It was one fabulous night. Shout out to @gothamnewyork and @thalassanyc for their hospitality. And an even bigger shout out to @kimberlyfisher1 for inviting me on the ride.
I was recently at a wine brunch where a guy asked me what my favorite spirit is. As usual I replied, “Cognac”. He seemed a bit shocked as he started to tell me that all of his banking colleagues selected Scotch over Cognac and nobody is drinking Cognac. He picked the wrong person to say that to, because I know different. Cognac is actually going through a bit of a renaissance. I immediately school him on some very specific Cognac information.
Cognac is known as the “king of brandy’. It’s had the reputation of being a spirit for older men or rappers. All that made it sound old fashioned or scared some people away. With the help of bartenders putting more Cognac in cocktails and the history of the spirit being a larger part of the conversation, people have started to catch on that Cognac is spirit that they shouldn’t ignore.
Since the booze market has changed, Cognac houses are responding to a new generation of drinkers. While you have probably heard of Hennessy and Remy Martin which are two of the larger Cognac brands, there are other brands that you should try such as CAMUS Cognac.
Maybe you are asking yourself, why you haven’t heard of CAMUS (pronounced Ka-Moo) ? That being said, they are the 5th best selling Cognac, which isn’t to shabby. They are also still 100% family owned making them the top independent Cognac. The company still thinks of themselves as the new kid on the block since the other top Cognac brands have been around 100-150 years longer than them. One could call those years a big advantage. CAMUS didn’t enter the US market until 2010. They have a little catching up to do. However, they seem to be gaining on the bigger brands and making some waves.
As a way to show off their fierce spirit, CAMUS recently revamped their packaging to appeal to new Cognac drinkers. The design has the house’s emblem, the clover leaf, engraved on the bottle with the signature of Cyril Camus, the current CAMUS President. I hope I get to talk Cognac with him one day. I love that he is leading the way in captivating more drinkers to this elegant and versatile spirit.What I know for sure is that once people try CAMUS, they tend to fall in love with it. Be prepared to have it as a staple in your home bar. To get you going with CAMUS cocktails below is a recipe for spin on the margarita.
2 oz. CAMUS VSOP Cognac
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. Cointreau
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.
When you ask someone which cocktail they love, the Negroni may be the first thing that comes to mind. It’s such a phenomenon that you can find one on pretty much any menu, or simply request it at a bar. As I mentioned in an earlier column, Anthony Bourdain loved this drink so much that he called it “the perfect cocktail”. There’s even a Bubbly Negroni that was invited for Valentine’s Day; the sex appeal can’t be denied.
This year, the cocktail turns 100 years old. We have two guys to thank for the libation with a love story at the heart of it all.
The Negroni is named after Count Camillo Negroni, who was known for being quite a character. The Count went into his favorite cafe and wanted an Americano (created by Gaspare Campari) with a bit more alcohol. That’s when a bartender replaced the soda for gin, and just like that a famous cocktail was born. There are three main ingredients to make a Negroni: Campari, gin, and vermouth. While you can use any gin or vermouth, there is only one Campari.
Most people know the liqueur because it’s in almost every bar and restaurant around the world. Did you know that behind it all is a love story? As you know back in the day, people named everything after themselves, which is why you probably won’t be surprised to find out that in 1860 a man named Gaspare Campari started a small family business to make aperitifs. When he died, his two sons took over the business. It was David Campari who started using celebrities in the Campari posters. Basically, Campari was rocking with celebs before it was cool.
In the midst of it all, Davide Campari fell in love with a famous Italian opera singer, Lina Cavalleri. She was also known as the “greatest beauty in the world”. She was definitely a lovely lady; in regard to singing, let’s just say her looks probably got her hired. Davide fell madly in love with Lina and followed her on a world tour. Today, we might call that stalking, whereas during their time it was thought of as “charming”. As they traveled to Milan, Moscow, and New York, Davide started selling his families products to bars and restaurants. The small family business grew into a worldwide sensation. While the business became a success, it’s sad to say that Lina wasn’t really feeling Davide. She married someone else, while he would pine for her until the day he died.
The love story started off between a man and woman, but grew into the world’s love for a bitter liqueur. I guess that’s what makes the story so bittersweet.
May your love story turn out much better. Enjoy a Negroni or two with your boo during Negroni Week. If you are rocking the single life, get together with your squad and celebrate the single life.
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
There is nothing like a mojito except one with a French twist. Oh la la! Next time you want something to warm you up, mix up this little cocktail with one of my favorite ingredients, St. Germain, a French liqueur flavored with elderflowers. You are going to love it. Cheers!
2 parts white rum
1 part St-Germain
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
10 fresh mint leaves
Lightly muddle mint in Collins glass. Add other ingredients. Half fill glass with crushed ice and stir. Fill to brim with more crushed ice and stir again.
Garnish with lime wedge. Sip. Talk. Dance. Repeat.
You know what’s hot: sexy and sensual drinks. This quick and easy aphrodisiac cocktail will get your senses tingling while bringing out your inner courtesan. Violets are a proper and well behaved aphrodisiac that are great on the taste buds. Then of course champagne is always a sexy addition to any night of seduction or simply for addition pleasure. Cheers!
Blackberry Violet Cocktail
7 ounces champagne
1/4 ounce blackberry syrup
1/4 ounce violet syrup
Fill glass with champagne.
Slowly stir syrup into glass.
Garnish with a violet petal.
I was watching Mexican Made Easy on the Food Network, that Marcela Valladolid is one magickal lady. The whole show was great but when she pulled out the chocolate margarita it was on, aphrodisiac in the house. This is one drink recipe that a courtesan who cooks should have in her bag of trick.
Besides chocolate and Mexican chocolate, there is our fun friend cinnamon in the recipe, plus tequila. This is a mouth full of aphrodisiac, if you don't have a foodgasm with this one I'd be surprise. I got this recipe from the Food Network Mexican Made Easy page. I'd hang out with Marcela Valladolid anytime!
Ingredients: To rim the glasses:
Directions: Combine all of the ingredients, except ice, in a pitcher. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a shaker full of ice. Shake and pour into the prepared glasses. Serve cold.