The Sun King.
Cognac is a wonderful spirit that I don’t feel is getting used enough these days. Especially as in the early days of the cocktail cognac was the de rigueur mixing spirit. Let’s put things right with a new cognac cocktail. Now it might seem to some that cognac is too good to mix with. Those “some” being those who enjoy sipping on a pricey snifter of VSOP or XO after a good meal and frankly, I totally agree. But fortunately the oft overlooked younger VS cognac is an excellent mixer that turns all it touches to silk and, at least in these parts, costs about the same as a bottle of standard issue Jacky D – or even less if you watch out for special offers like a thrifty Scotsman.
Anyway, if we’re going to create an new cognac drink – and we most certainly are – it seems to me that we should go all out French. It should be a drink fit for a king. A French king. Like Louis XIV. Who they called the Sun King. And who once visited Château de Chambord and tried their famous black raspberry liqueur. Which is also not used nearly enough. But that would be a bit sweet so we’d need something bitter to balance it. Something French. Like Suze. See, some drinks just invent themselves. All we have to do is balance it and then fine tune it. And this drink proves responsive to some standard approaches; a couple of dashes of orange bitters and a thin slice of lemon peel. I must say that I’m rather partial to this drink. While the main ingredients combine together very well there are also times where it seems like one of them tries to elbow its way to the front for a moment only to be pulled back by another one. Maybe it’s a French thing.
The Sun King.
2oz / 60ml VS cognac (I find Courvoisier rather good in the VS department).
0.75oz / 22.5ml Suze.
0.5oz / 15ml Chambord.
2 dashes of orange bitters.
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupé*.
Garnish with a slice of lemon peel.
Toast Louis XIV (1638 – 1715) for sheer tenacity if nothing else.
*By the way American friends, it’s pronounced “Koo-pay“, not “Koop“. That’s a place you keep chickens.