Archives for category: Cognac


We’ve been known to have large parties a few times a year.  The sound of dozens of liquor bottles hitting the recycling is our way of letting the neighbors know what they missed.  In other words, we go through a lot of booze when we entertain, and yep, it does get expensive.

We know that buying liquor for our house can be a bit intimidating, so if you’d like to bring a bottle next time you visit, here’s a quick guide to stuff we’ll always appreciate a bunch.  It’s also a pretty good cheat sheet for reliably good booze to bring anywhere.  Most of these should be too difficult to find locally.

Around $20:

In the $20-40 Range:

In the $40-60 Range:

Impractically Expensive Shit:

We’re grateful for anything you want to bring, of course!  If you want to be creative and pick up something not on this list, here are some types of liquor we generally avoid – they just don’t get used, and we don’t mix with them:

  • Vodka
  • Flavored vodka
  • Flavored anything, really
  • Canadian whiskey
  • Irish whiskey

Now back to your regularly scheduled booze news.


A very gracious friend gave me the heads up on Virgin Atlantic’s cocktail competition for their new bar at JFK.  Unfortunately, I farted around until the last moment, so I had to come up with something a) palatable, and b) memorable in name within a few hours.

I think I hit it out of the park on the second one.

Jackie’s O

2 oz Chalfonte cognac
1 oz tawny Port
.25 oz amaretto
dash Angostura bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe.  Garnish with a long orange twist, fashioned into a spiral stemming from the bottom of the glass.  Make your finest Jackie O face and drink up.

Wish me luck!  Prize is a trip to NYC to attend the grand opening.  A girl can dream, can’t she?

Things that I do four times a year:  update the cocktail menu, wash the dogs, and reinstall Windows.  So goodbye light, fruity, rum-soaked summer.  Hello bourbon and rain.  Time for drinks that go well with the smell of the furnace being lit for the first time this season.

I hope someday to make it to The Varnish in LA.  Eric Alperin seems to be doing some magic there, so my ears perked up when he shared a recipe on the Dinner Party Download a while back.  I wrote it down, then forgot about it.  It popped up a few weeks ago when I was editing the recipe database.  Finally got around to making it.

Here’s my new favorite rye cocktail.


1 oz Old Overholt Rye
1 oz cognac (I used Chalfonte)
.5 oz amaretto
.5 oz dry vermouth (I used Dolin dry)
float of Islay whiskey (I used Ardbeg – about three dashes)

Combine everything but the whiskey (or whisky, if you will) in the shaker.  Ice and stir.  Strain into a rocks glass with no ice.  Turn the barspoon upside down over the drink and pour the whiskey on top.  Garnish with an orange wedge and a couple of brandied cherries on a pick.  Think about visiting LA for a conference later this month.  Remember living in LA.  Go back to drinking.

The brandied cherries seem pretty important here.  That tiny bit of boozy juicy goodness that seeps into the drink really brings everything together.

Stock up the liquor cabinet.  More fall cocktail menu selections to come.


Another one from Ted Haigh’s wonderful book.  This seemed perfect for a lazy holiday weekend, especially since the mint is taking over our garden again.  The julep cups were a gift from a friend who knows us all too well, so we even had the right hardware.

Georgia Mint Julep

2 oz Cognac (I used Chalfonte)
1 oz peach brandy
Mint leaves
1 tsp sugar

Dash of water

You have to love any drink that calls for “a dash of water”.

Muddle the mint leaves, water, and sugar in a julep cup (or a rocks glass, if you don’t have generous julep cup-bearing friends).  Add a bunch of crushed ice.  Pour the Cognac and the peach brandy in and stir the hell out of it.  Garnish with a right purdy sprig of mint. 

This is pretty much three ounces of straight liquor.  I’m slowly figuring out that vintage cocktails were all designed to knock the imbiber on his / her ass as efficiently as possible.  I’m going to have to do some adjustment to these; I just can’t kick ’em back like Don Draper did.

Cheers, y’all.