It was Christmas, 1994. I was a teenager and it was the first holiday I was to spend with my boyfriend's family. He had a bearded burly stepfather that worked in the film industry but looked like a logger. He was sophisticated but unquestionably a "Man." I had no idea what to gift him so I asked my dad — a psychiatrist more familiar with hitting golf balls than traversing logs. His response was crisp and unwavering; it seemed to come from the annals of unspoken brotherhood.

"Cognac," he said, "Remy Martin."

My dad was right. And more than likely, his good judgment was the reason my boyfriend's step-pop mourned our subsequent split considerably more than my boyfriend did.

Sure enough, while my mid-'90s heartthrob never returned to the scene, Remy Martin has.

Some might attribute the re-establishment of cognac into my life as a sign of aging. But, I beg to differ. When I had the privilege to attend the pop-up Remy Martin Experience in an otherwise vacant warehouse in Manhattan, I discovered that the barrel-aged grape spirit has simply placed itself into the market in a fresh way, sneaking successfully into today's newfangled (but old school) cocktail culture.

Remy_Martin_Lab.jpgAlthough the "Experience" was marketed about as widely as a speakeasy would have been in prohibition days, the mini tour of the Heart of Cognac Region — including a blending lab, a reconstructed cellar with proper humidity and, of course, a bar — was filled with all ages; sassy septuagenarians mingled with tarted-up 20-somethings and throngs of the 30-ish.   
Perhaps the demographic spread relates to the rather dichotomous finish of the ancient potable. Sipping on an oaky orchard-filled snifter of Remy Martin has the spirit of something that is both hidden and found, elite and accessible, ages old and as modern as tomorrow.

It seems the 1724 House of Remy Martin has found its way into 2011, lending its historical eaux-de-vie to the Calvin Klein glassware of young professionals and to the hands of savvy mixologists from New York to Miami to Toronto. Its Fine Champagne vines are spreading and reaching like never before.

Alas, as much as the cognac house reaches to the past to produce its present elixir, it returns me to my youth only in the Proustian sense. But that's OK — makeup fills in the creases that imagination leaves behind.

Sidecar.jpgSidecar Recipe - By Jim Meehan

1 oz. Cointreau 
2 oz. Remy Martin V.S.O.P
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Garnish with a Lemon peel.

Shake with ice and strain into a sugar and cinnamon-rimmed martini glass.

1 Comments | Add a Comment
Remy Martin (and cognac in general) has at last fast forwarded into the 21st century. It's great to see recipes for cognac cocktails
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