Recently, Courvoisier, a well established French cognac brand organized the “Toast of Paris”, an international competition in Berlin where bartenders from all Germany came to create 2 cocktails made out of Courvoisier cognac. At this occasion, I met Rebecca Asseline, brand ambassador and jury of the event, with who I talked about cognac, where it comes from, how to drink it and where to drink it.
Dear Rebecca, who are you?
I am a cognac specialist and Courvoisier brand ambassador.
What was your first experience with Cognac?
I was introduced to cognac by my parents. My parents were into good alcohol, so as soon as I was in age to drink, they introduced me to their passion. I drunk a Courvoisier cognac and was captivated by the aromas.
Since then I was really into Courvoisier, and one day while I was working at an event where I did a workshop about Courvoisier. Someone from Courvoisier was there and as they saw my enthusiasm about the brand they asked me to join the house as a brand ambassador.
Most people think cognac is rather a men’s drink. What do you say about that?
Actually, cognac in the 1800’s was drunken by women. The wife of Napoleon 3 for example was a huge fan of cognac.
Most people indeed think cognac is very strong and similar to whiskey but it is actually very harmonious and delicate and therefore pleases also women’s palate. At least it is the case for Courvoisier’s cognac.
What’s the best way to drink cognac?
In 1889, a New Yorker bartender created a champagne cocktail made out of Angostura bitters, cognac, champagne and sugar cube. This same cocktail was served at the Exposition Universelle in Paris were the Tour Eiffel was inaugurated. Since then it is a classic and taste every palate.
Another famous cocktail made with cognac is the “Midnight in Paris” made with cognac, ginger ale and a lot of ice.
It is also possible to drink cognac with a meal. Many chefs with who we are working with compose a diner with cognac only. The Courvoisiser VSOP for example with jasmine and almond notes goes very well with fish or cheese while the Courvoisier XO goes very well with desserts.
Where to drink a good cognac in Paris and Berlin?
You can drink very good cognac in some of the best and most chic restaurants in Paris, like at Fouquet’s or Chez Maxime where they serve a cocktail with rose water.
La fable also serves a dessert with a VSOP cognac.
Around Pigalle there are a lot of very good bars more underground where they serve good cognac like for example at Lipstick.
There are also some good bars that serve cognac like at the Prinzipal, Bellmann Bar, Celo Privat Bar and The Grand.
Finally I would like to share with you two cognac recipes, created by Sarah Deuss, winner of the “Toast of Paris” bartender. With the theme “le jour et la nuit” aka day and night, she created two cocktails, an apéritif and one for later at night.
Apéritif cocktail : “Saveur chic
You’ll need 2cl Courvoisier VSOP, 1cl Giffard framboise de ronce, 1cl Picon bière, 1 bar spoon fig mustard, 3 dashes Walnuss-Bitters. Shake all ingredients with ice, poor in a glas and add 5cl cidre brut on top.
Apéritif cocktail : “Danse de Nuit”
4cl Courvoisier VSOP, 2,5cl homemade Granny-Smith-white-Chocolate-Sirup, 1,5cl homemade Grapefruit-Cordial. Shake it, poor it in a glas and fill it with champagne.
Pictures : Courvoisier