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Right here Are the Profitable Cocktails From the 2022 Cognac Connection Problem — and the Bartenders Who Introduced Them to Life



Here Are the Winning Cocktails From the 2022 Cognac Connection Challenge — and the Bartenders Who Brought Them to Life

The outcomes are in! The 2022 Cognac Connection Problem noticed over 170 entries, which have been judged and narrowed right down to 10 finalists, together with three grand prize winners. All 10 finalists will obtain $1,000 and have their profitable cocktail recipes featured on this 12 months’s digital recipe booklet. The three fortunate grand prize winners can even obtain a visit to Cognac, France, the place they will immerse themselves within the spirit at its supply.

New to the problem? The Cognac Connection Problem is a digital cocktail competitors initiative that goals to additional educate and encourage bartenders throughout the US about Cognac as a spirit and a area. The competitors is sponsored by the Bureau Nationwide Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), in partnership with  Velocity Rack co-founders Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Combine, and VinePair, and challenges bartenders to make use of Cognac in complementary and inventive methods in signature cocktails. 

Listed here are the 2022 Cognac Connection Problem winners — and their profitable cocktails. 

Grant Jacobs – Alouette (Grand Prize)

Alloute

Grant Jacobs is at present head bartender at Genever in Los Angeles. He says taking part within the Cognac Connection Problem has opened his eyes to the varied function Cognac can play in cocktails. “I’ve a newfound fondness, consolation, and respect [for the spirit],” he says. “I will likely be utilizing this [in my cocktails] going ahead.”

In his Alouette cocktail, Jacobs pairs the intense stone fruit traits of a VS Cognac with sherry, Angostura bitters, and Demerara syrup to create a late-summer/early autumnal model of a Mint Julep. Jacobs says he selected VS Cognac, the youngest expression inside the class, as a result of minimal getting older retains the spirit fruit-forward with fewer oak and vanilla notes. The cocktail is completed with an apricot fan and cinnamon stick garnish, aromatics that improve the Alouette’s inherent fruity and heat spice traits.

Sarah Troxell – 99 Aloha Shirts & a Tiny Umbrella (Grand Prize)

Aloha Shirts

Galveston, Texas’s Sarah Troxell has been working in hospitality since she was sufficiently old to have a automotive and a job, amassing expertise within the entrance of home, within the kitchen, and behind the bar. For the final eight years, she’s zeroed in on craft bartending, which mixes her love of hospitality and visitor interplay with the creativity of meals and flavors. 

Troxell’s tropical cocktail, the 99 Aloha Shirts & a Tiny Umbrella, makes use of a high-proof VS Cognac to assist the spirit stand out towards the flavors of ardour fruit, lime, pineapple, vanilla, and macadamia. “The minerality [of the Cognac] performs effectively with the intense tropical fruits, and the eagerness fruit liqueur helps amp up the floral notes of the Cognac,” she explains. The cocktail is completed off with a salted coconut tincture and garnished with a lemon wedge, mint spring, and — you guessed it — a tiny umbrella. 

John Ware – Cognac / Camomilla (Grand Prize)

Cognac/Comomilla

With over a decade of bi-coastal expertise in hospitality, bartender John Ware has discovered his area of interest melding Italian spirits and ingesting tradition with top-notch cocktails at Forsythia in New York Metropolis. Ware says being part of this 12 months’s Cognac Connection Problem was a “massively academic” expertise that guided his first actual deep dive into the class — and even led him to his new favourite cocktail. 

For his entry, the Cognac / Camomilla, Ware offered a refined tackle the highball that options sturdy notes of honey, cardamom, and chamomile. When it got here to picking the proper expression, he knew the deeper dried fruit and nuttiness present in older Cognacs would overpower the fragile flavors. “I wanted the lightest potential expression of Cognac, and the VS match the invoice completely,” he says.

Justin Brody – Alpine Wizard

Alpine Wizard

After 10 years {of professional} cooking expertise, Portland, Ore.’s Justin Brody began experimenting with constructing cocktails at residence. Presently, he bartends at Takibi, a Japanese izakaya targeted on substances and producers from the Pacific Northwest. He additionally serves nautical cocktails by way of his pop-up, Overland. Becoming a member of the Cognac Connection Problem and studying concerning the results of the various kinds of soil within the Cognac areas has made Brody take into consideration the crop-to-product course of in a brand new mild. 

For his entry, Alpine Wizard, Brody constructed a cocktail impressed by scenes from Hayao Miyazaki’s “Howl’s Transferring Fort.” Though he initially examined the drink with a VS Cognac, he realized the traits of a VSOP suited the drink a lot better. “The wealthy vanilla notes of the VSOP tie collectively the mint and menthol flavors of the Braulio with the clove and cinnamon spice of the Angostura — and make for a fantastic stability with the tropical pineapple and lime,” he says. 

Nat Froikin – Volant Pardieu

Volant Pardieu

Based mostly out of Chicago, Nat Froikin is a double-threat bartender and chef with a background in biochemical scientific analysis. His advanced cocktails concentrate on moral and sustainable manufacturing. Taking part within the Cognac Connection Problem challenged Froikin to re-evaluate his notion of the spirit. “Via this expertise, I’ve higher respect for the best way this Outdated World spirit has maintained historic legacy whereas nonetheless discovering relevance in cultural developments globally,” he says.

In his cocktail, Volant Pardieu, Froikin says he selected to spotlight the holistic perspective of the Cognac area by way of using native substances. For his Cognac, he says solely a single-cru from the Borderies would do. The Volant Pardieu contains a butter-roasted chanterelle mushroom-infused Cognac that pairs the terroir minerality of the spirit with the earthiness of the mushrooms, whereas violet notes within the Cognac convey out the floralness of the drink’s chamomile syrup.  

William Patton – La Mort d’un Roi

La Mort d'un Roi 

William Patton is the beverage director of Bresca and Jônt in Washington, D.C. In his 4 years there thus far, Patton has labored with Chef Ryan Ratino to construct out the beverage imaginative and prescient for each ideas. In the course of the Cognac Connection Problem webinars, Patton discovered himself most fascinated by the similarities between Cognac’s distillation processes and winemaking processes. As such, he was impressed to method using Cognac in his cocktail a lot the identical manner he would make the most of wine. 

For his La Mort d’un Roi, Patton constructed a cocktail with a VSOP, Byrrh, dry sherry, and cherry cordial. Selecting a well-aged Cognac with taste similarities to an XO “helped me obtain the very best of each worlds as the additional getting older time provides some secondary and tertiary notes equivalent to roasted bread, butterscotch, and fig, whereas nonetheless exhibiting the vibrancy of a [VSOP],” he explains. 

Nicole Salicetti – Are We There But? 

Are We There Yet

Nicole Salicetti has been in NYC’s make-or-break bar scene for over 20 years, behind the bar, creating cocktail menus, and educating her friends. In the course of the metropolis’s pandemic lockdown, Salicetti leveraged her expertise as a bartending teacher and started main cocktail-building periods (which she continues to do right this moment). She credit that point, partly, for her newfound appreciation of Cognac, sharing that after having Covid-19 herself, she started to expertise flavors in another way, selecting up on refined notes that she hadn’t seen beforehand. 

Her Are We There But? Cognac Connection entry is constructed as a sensory journey by way of the cocktail’s layers of lavender, genmaicha syrup, Angostura bitters, sherry, lemon, and rose. “I used to be actually impressed by the aroma and palate of the Cognac I selected,” she says. “I wished to construct a cocktail that took you on a sluggish journey along with your senses.” Though Salicetti selected to make use of a VSOP Cognac for her drink, she says her alternative was extra concerning the particular notes of the model she selected, somewhat than the kind of expression. 

Mark Sassi – Le Téléphone Arabe

La Telephone

Throughout his break day, Cognac Connection finalist Mark Sassi can often be discovered outside along with his associate and canine, however when he’s managing the bar at Seattle’s Rob Roy, it’s all concerning the cocktails. In the course of the Cognac Connection webinars, Sassi says he was impressed to study Cognac’s deep connection to historical past and tradition, and the way intimately linked Cognac is to its terroir and the crus the place it’s produced. 

For his Le Téléphone Arabe cocktail, Sassi leaned in on the candy and natural notes present in VSOP Cognac, which is aged for no less than 4 years. Le Téléphone Arabe pairs Cognac with coffee-infused sherry, Cynar, and equal components absinthe, cardamom, and Angostura bitters as a way to spotlight the Cognac VSOP’s notes of caramel, darkish chocolate, and tobacco.

James Wieland – Bonsoir to Cognac

Bonsoir Cognac

Hailing from Milkwakee, James Wieland likes to experiment along with his cocktail substances. Presently working at Twisted Path Distillery, Wieland says he was most impressed to study the entire components concerned within the manufacturing of Cognac “from the acidity, yield, and soil minerality to how distillers ferment their grapes to spotlight the subtlety within the craft from farm to bottle.” 

Wieland’s Bonsoir to Cognac cocktail is a tackle the Negroni, calling for VS Cognac, Lillet Blanc, flower-infused Suze, just a few drops of saline answer, and orange peel garnish. “The French substances are a nod to the traditional cocktail and the Italian origin of the Ugni Blanc used to create the bottom spirit [of Cognac],” he says.

Tara Yadgir – Towards the Waves

Against the Waves

Tara Yadgir began off bartending at a craft distillery in Pittsburgh, although you’ll at present discover her behind the bar at craft cocktail bar Spirit Home in Chandler, Ariz. She says studying concerning the six totally different crus of Cognac and the way the soil impacts the spirits’ getting older time impressed her to search out Cognac from every area and do a side-by-side tasting. 

Her Towards the Waves cocktail is a nod to the ocean and makes use of a VSOP Cognac aged at sea. “A Cognac aged at sea had the flavour profile I wished to spotlight in my cocktail,” she says. “I added manzanilla sherry to boost the briny, salty notes from the Cognac, and a lemon aperitif for brightness.”

Take a look at the 2022 Cognac Connection Problem E-booklet right here.

This text is sponsored by Cognac.



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