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.
July officially kicks off BBQ season. Are you ready? That means gatherings with your favorite people as you sip wine and eat your favorite foods from the grill.When you get your squad together for good times and good food, don’t forget to find your summer hit. Thanks to McCormick I will be putting together a few playlists for ambience.
McCormick has been a part of my cooking tradition for as long as I can remember. It all started with my mom who is a fabulous cook. In her kitchen cabinet were some of the well known McCormick spices and seasoning such as: Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, Black Pepper, Allspice and Garlic Salt. Then there’s the Yellow Mustard which I know I put on a fair share of burgers when I was growing up. My main go to now is the Old Bay Season. I guess you could say that it’s 50 Shades of McCormick, they always have something for everyone depending on what’s cooking.
I had the pleasure of going to their event in New York City where they had a music and food experience. DJ Jazzy Jeff and Pitmaster Myron Mixon were in the house to give a demo on a had a big BBQ pit build that plays music whenever something is set on the grill. As Jazzy said, “sometimes people forget how important the music is at a BBQ”. Isn’t it the truth?!
As you get your grill on this summer, don’t forget to season your meats and veggies properly. McCormick has a great variety of seasonings to choose from depending on if you are going with meat, chicken, or veggie options. The right spice could be a game changer when it comes to your dish so don’t be shy when seasoning, get it in there.
Last but not least, don’t forget your playlist. I just created a Pompette Playlist for when you want to drink pink. Afterall, rosé is great for a barbecue that goes for still or sparkling. The recommended wines are either Piper-Heidsieck Sauvage Rosé or Chandon Rosé Brut. It all depends on if you are feeling fancy for Champagne or bougie for California Brut. Cheers!
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.
Rosé is the ultimate sip and chill with your partner or get together with friends kind of wine. While it’s perfect for any time of year, spring and summer, seem to be the time that people fixate on rosé. That means rosé will be popping up at your local wine store any minute. Which one should you try? Decisions. Decisions.
Here are four bottles to help you think pink:
Jon Bon Jovi- Diving Into Hampton Water
When Bon Jovi said he was getting into the wine game, many of us gave a side-eye. Did we really need another rock star with a wine? Turns out the joke was many wine lovers, rosé including me. Bon Jovi worked with this son, Jesse Bongiovi, to put the spirit of the Hamptons into a bottle. The crooner has a home in the Hamptons. That’s rather common for New York based celebrities. He enjoys which is what he has deemed “pink juice” until his son came up with the cleaver term “Hampton water?
The three grapes for the wine are hand-picked in the South of France. It’s produced in Provence to be exact which is where rosé has been perfected. It was named best rosé of 2018 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
It’s the perfect pink juice to sip while chilling at the pool with your boo. Cheers to a sensuous lazy day with your partner. Live it up while you’re alive.
Sarah Jessica Parker- Invivo Rosé
Finally, Sarah Jessica Parker is giving women more of what they want and it’s in a bottle. Parker is tending up with a winery from New Zealand to produce a line of wines that will come out this summer. Now you know rosé is in the mix. It will probably be a big hit considering women will want to see what the Sex and the City diva is conjuring up.
According to Parker, she has always loved entertaining family/friends over a good bottle of wine and food. I guess this is her “inner Martha Stewart” coming out. New Zealand is an interesting choice for her when it comes to wine however the rosé will come from Provence.
It has all the makings of a rosé the have when you gather with your girls and talk about intimate details with your Mr. Big.
John Legend- LVE Côtes de Provence Rosé
Sultry singer, John Legend, has added a fourth wine to his already stellar wine line up. Now you can rosé all day with his LVE Rosé. Legend teamed up with winemaker/dandy Charles Boisset once again to produce the wine. The duo brings the perfect combination to make LVE the ultimate lifestyle wines. The goal is to bring a wine that is connected to luxury, yet still affordable.
The pale pink wine is crisp on the tongue with notes of berries and peach blossoms. This wine would go great with Chrissy Teigen’s Pan Seared Fish in her latest cookbook. It’s safe to call this a romantic dinner at home kind of wine.
Christie Brinkley- Bellissima Rosé
If you want a wine that has a healthy and green lifestyle then Christie Brinkley’s bubbly rosé is where it’s at. She has been a vegetarian/flexible vegan since she was 12 years old. This is why what goes into her wine is so important to her,
The wine is made from 100% organic Pinot Noir grapes with hints of strawberries and grapefruit. The Prosecco is vegan and low sugar so it’s perfect for someone watching their sugar intake.
The perfect wine to pair when your partner is making food on the grill. Light up those candles and make it a cozy night. Netflix and chill await.