Old French - a cognac twist on the Old Cuban cokctail by Erwan Lebonniec from Kester Thomas.

Old French

Sneaking it in with the mint

So you like mojitos, but it’s not on the menu. Instead the bartender serves you something similar yet different. The characteristic mint-lime mix that you have become familiar with is combined with something unusual and alluring. You can’t make out exactly what it is…

This is precisely where Erwan Lebonniec from Kester Thomas wants to take you. From his perspectice a part of his job as a bartender is to challenge your default choises appropriately in order to expand your comfort zone. Most people won’t order a drink with cognac, so Erwan serves it in a mojito like wrapping, to let his guests discover the qualites of cognac in a familiar format.

Old French - a cognac twist on the Old Cuban cokctail by Erwan Lebonniec from Kester Thomas.4,5 cl cognac Martell VS
2 sprigs of mint
2 cl lime juice
2 cl Champagne syrup*

Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a wine glass on the cubed ice. Top with ginger beer. Stir to mix. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

The Old French is inspired by the “Old Cuban”. It’s a fresh wintery mix with a spicy feeling provided by the cognac and ginger. The cognac is not so noticeable at first sip but the champagne syrup helps it open in the more subtle notes in nose and finish.

Drinks like this will definitely pave the way for cognac to be requested more in cocktails. In this regard Erwan is joining the quest of many Parisian bartenders who are trying to reintroduce this French spirit to its native audience.

*The champagne syrup is made by cooking and reducing champagne left overs from the bar and mixing it with sugar. Using champagne leftovers in this way reduces waste and the result is a syrup that balances acidity and sweetness elegantly and tastes like apple porage made from green apples making you thoughts drift to French apple occhards.

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Thomas Klem Andersen
I believe that true mastery eventually leads to original creation given the right conditions. I love creative cocktails that push the limits of flavor pairing. But I can't deny I have a personal preference for whisky and love everything that is clear and stirred.