White goods like gin and vodka have been most popular for mixing with juice. But what about brown goods… Can a cognac drink be fruity and does whiskey work in punch? A look back to the 19th century and earlier reveals that brandy and whiskey were often accompanied with fruit juices and fresh fruit. Even into the twentieth century you can find brown goods in unexpected company- like the Blood and Sand Cocktail which combined Scotch Whisky, sweet vermouth, Cherry Herring, and orange juice in equal parts. When I first read that recipe, I was skeptical, until I tasted it. The Blood and Sand Cocktail inspired me to explore utilizing cognac with juice. When Courvoisier commissioned me to create a cocktail for its Millennium bottling, I tried 10 to 15 different variations combining this light and fruity cognac with different juices and sweeteners. One combination stood out from the others. The combination of cognac, Curacao, Pineapple and bitters dusted with nutmeg and flavored with orange zest scored a bull's eye. This complex layering of flavors proved very successful and the drink would appeal to a much broader crowd, including young people who do not usually drink whiskey or cognac.

WHISKEY COBBLER* (Dale's version) 2 oz. Maker's Mark Whiskey
2 lemon wedges
2 orange slices
2 chunks of pineapple (half inch squares) 2 pineapple sage leaves
3/4 oz. Orange Curacao
1 oz. water

Muddle one piece each of the fruits and the pineapple sage with the Orange Curacao and water in a bar glass. Add ice and whiskey and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled double old fashioned glass and garnish with remaining fruit.

 

MILLENNIUM COCKTAIL*
1 ˝ oz. Courvoisier VS Cognac
1 ˝ oz. Pineapple Juice
1 oz. Orange Curacao
Dash Angostura Bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of orange and dust with nutmeg.

One of the most successful whiskey drinks in the last hundred years has been the Old Fashioned. Old Fashioned drinkers can be divided into two camps: those who believe in muddling the fruit and those who don't. I belong to the former, When it comes to muddling I take it a step further than simply muddling an orange and a cherry into an Old Fashioned. I muddle many different fresh, seasonal fruits into my whiskey drinks. Whiskey Cobblers, whiskey Smashes and Whiskey Punches can be prepared by muddling a variety of fresh fruit with sweeteners like Orange Curacao or simple syrup, and herbs such as mint or pineapple sage can also be added. Try peaches when they are sweet and in season and don't be afraid to experiment with tropical fruits like mango and passion fruit.

TROPICAL WHISKEY PUNCH*
2 oz. Canadian Club Whisky
4 one inch cubes of mango
2 lemon wedges
2 Pineapple wedges
1 oz. water
˝ oz. Simple syrup

Muddle all ingredients except whisky in a bar glass. Add whisky and shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge, lemon wedge, and cherry.

 

Beverage Media, October 2001

Brown Goods in
Unexpected Company
By Dale DeGroff