Tuesday, May 5, 2009
BOIL UP MY COGNAC BARKEEP! (Part 3)
Parts 1 and 2 went into cyber-space. Either that or Google have a built in editing system that deletes all crap before it is even finished (but how come Richard's blogs exist?).
Anyway here goes...(the shortened edition)
There are many misconceptions in the liquor industry. Centuries of traditions with procedures and protocols can be confusing for new entrants. Things done wrongly are not always out of ignorance however, sometimes it is a case of "a little knowledge being a dangerous thing".
On Sunday evening I was in Rotorua and dined out at a reasonably fancy bar/brasserie.
I had two glasses of wine with my meal (an ordinary Rocca Della Macie Chianti and a reasonable Barossa Shiraz). I noticed that they served Remy Martin XO at $17 a glass. This is a pretty good price for one of the world's great cognacs so I ordered one. I was seated with my back to the bar so didn't see what they had done to my drink. When it arrived it had obviously been warmed. Whether they had pre-warmed the glass with hot water or put a flame under the cognac-filled glass, I don't know. Both of these practices have been accepted by some 'professionals'. The result was that my beautiful Remy Martin XO was virtually undrinkable. To fix it I poured a measure of iced water from my water glass which brought it closer to the ideal temperature. I often put a measure of cold water into my cognac or malt whisky. This takes the edge off the spirit and allows the bouquet to flourish. I noticed a couple at a nearby table (Americans) giving me an odd and supercilious look. I bet that they thought I was a pleb. The bar staff probably did the same but I didn't see them.
This from one of the professional prats on his/her blogsite Epinions.
"I never, ever, mix V.S.O.P. Cognac (or higher grades like X.O. [Extra Old] or V.O.C. [Very Old Cognac]) with soft drinks or mixers. Cognac of this quality is meant to be consumed at room temperature or may be served in a heated snifter, if you are adept in the art -- but I really don't recommend this practice. The simple warmth from your hand, as it holds the body of the brandy glass, is enough. Always serve "neat" with no ice or other liquids. I never dip my cigars in Cognac. "
Now whilst he/she is not as bad as the other 'snob-writers' the information given is not helpful. Real experts say that a little bit of clear cool water enhances the drink. (I am saying a little bit of water Richard, not lemonade OK?)
I marketed Remy Martin some years ago and have been fortunate to have visited their production facilities (or Cellars as we marketers call them). I have tried many good blends with the real experts and the consensus is that warming the spirit negates all the best aspects. Unfortunately the warming practices have slipped into the traditions and the wannabe sophisticates adopt them (particularly Americans).
OK, call me a snob I don't care but good wine, beer or spirit deserves to be consumed at its best.