Monday, August 28, 2017

Armagnac-the Secret, Hip Ingredient in Cocktails by Philip S. Kampe

                                                  ARMAGNAC, the New Ingredient in Cocktails

As mixologists, we all know that creativity and innovation set the bar for the industry. Great ideas come from new sources, new products and the discovery of products in the industry that are often under the radar.

One of the tools for the evolution in the industry is the emergence of Armagnac as an ingredient for cocktails, a substitute for whisky, scotch, vodka and various other traditionally used mixers.

Armagnac is not Cognac and is distilled in Gascony, south of Bordeaux.

Armagnac is a brandy, distilled once in a continuous alembic still and left at cask strength (48%) in French oak barrels with no water added. Flavors of orange, plum, prune and apricot dominate the palate, while aromas of smoke and spice create the bouquet, much like that of a Scotch whisky.

Ten grapes are allowed for the production of Armagnac, but, only four are generally used. The most commonly used grape is the Ugni Blanc, followed by Folle Blanc, Baco Blanc and Colombard. Each grape varietal is distilled and aged in French oak separately, because they impart distinctive qualities.

Blanche Armagnac is a traditional young eau-de-vie that has been destined as the compulsory Armagnac that is used as the ‘special ingredient’ for mixologists. It is a clear spirit full of fruit and freshness, a perfect accompaniment for a cocktail. VS and VSOP are aged brown hued Armagnacs used in cocktails.

The cocktail rule: replace white spirits with Blanche Armagnac and brown spirits with Armagnac.

Classic Armagnac Cocktail Recipes

Armagnac Sour
Juice ½ lemon
2 oz Armagnac VS or VSOP
1 cube of sugar
Add one ice cube and shake


Blanche Mojito
2 oz Blanche Armagnac
½ lime
7 mint leaves
1 oz sparkling water
2 tsp brown sugar
Muddle the lime, brown sugar and  mint leaves in a glass, add the Armagnac, lightly shake and top with sparkling water and a mint sprig.

Blanche Sunrise
2 oz Blanche Armagnac
1 oz Curacao
1 oz orange juice
3 oz pineapple juice
Fill shaker with ice, add Blanche Armagnac, Curacao, orange and pineapple juice, shake and strain into a martini glass.
Philip S. Kampe


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