Thursday, 13 December 2007

New Drinks and Cocktails

Tea Flavoured Cognac?

I must admit that on a cold winter’s morning I have added a splash of whisky to my tea but I have never contemplated it the other way round!

So-Yang (so-yang.com) is a newly launched drink that is a blend of the eau de vie Cognac and Green Tea. It was originally created by a French woman in her kitchen in Cognac. It’s producers claim that:

“it reflects the qualities of a modern, creative woman and its packaging will appeal to her, fitting perfectly into her elegant world and seducing her with the lightness of its perfume and taste”.

It is served it as a refreshing drink or aperitif, simply on some ice cubes. It’s light, refreshing and pleasingly aromatic – an elegant mix of cognac and tea aromas, mixed with a hint of citrus and peaches.

Green Tea has a history going back over 5000 years and was initally used as an offering and as medicine in China. Buddhist monks started growing it around monasteries. The monks introduced tea to Japan in the 6th Century and later in the 16th Century a Portuguese missionary introduced it to Europe. There began the history of Tea as an international drink.

Eau de Vie

Technically Cognac is a cousin of eau de vie as a true Eau de Vie is colourless and is not aged in oak barrels. The name means “Water of Life” in French and they are made from young, ripe fruits or berries which are fermented, distilled, and bottled rapidly to preserve the freshness and aroma of the parent fruit. While this is the general process for creating eaux de vie, some variants exist and some distillers choose to age their products before bottling.

This term is French for "water of life," and stone fruit, such as cherries, plums, apricots, and peaches, are most frequently used, but berries also flavour some of the best-known eau de vie. The fruits generally have so much natural sugar that the mash reaches 40%, during fermentation, so extra sugar is needed. One of the best-known examples is Kirsch, or French cherry eau de vie, also called Kirschwasser in Germany. It is produced from fully ripefermenting cherries or from their juice, without any additional sugar and alcohol.

Plums are another popular ingredient for flavouring eau de vie across Europe. In Alsace blue plum eau de vie is called Quetsch. In Germany, Zwetschgenwasser and Pflaumenwasser respectively are produced from ripe or fermenting blue or red plums. Mirabellenwasser is a spirit distilled from ripe yellow plums in Germany without the addition of extra sugar and alcohol. Eaux de vie made from quinces and apricots are also enjoyed, low-sugar fruits, such as raspberries, blackberries, and black currants, are at the heart of some equally popular eaux de vie. Their low-sugar content, however, means alcohol must be added to them before distillation, otherwise fermentation will not take place. Framboise, from France, has a mild, sweetish taste. Cassis, made from black currants, is combined with white wine to make Kir, the popular aperitif originally from Burgundy.

Poire William is an aromatic eau de vie, distilled from Williams pears. It has a soft flavour and a sweetish scent, When the eau de vie is made from the pomace, the result is called Pomace Brandy or Marc (wine), sometimes called eau de vie de marc. Liopical fruit eaux-de-vie are produced from bananas, mandarins, mangoes, passion fruit, and papayas.

Cognac over Ice

Since the success of the Magners Cider adverts the world seems to have gone bonkers for drinks over ice – even wines and champagnes are following the fad! Nick and I have previously mentioned Piper-Heidsieck’s Piscine – champagne with ice cubes made of champagne – and Stormhoek’s Couture Rosé wine, created especially so that it doesn’t taste diluted when served on ice.

Now Rémy Martin has launched Coeur de Cognac, “to be enjoyed neat over ice”. Rémy Martin is targeting its latest release at women and a more youthful market.

The drink is a blend of spirits from Rémy Martin's top vineyards in Petite Champagne and Grande Champagne and will not taste like their other brands. It has also been made differently from traditional Cognacs, with a slower distillation process taking place in small pot stills. It is described by master blender Pierrette Trichet as having an "essence of ripe summer fruits" with a "smooth and soft palate".What next? Sherry on ice? Funny you should mention it. The sherry-on-ice campaign of the 1980s was a dismal failure. It’s the only time sherry has been ahead of its time.

New Pre-Mixed Cocktails

Diageo has extended the Smirnoff vodka line with new pre-mix cocktails. The Smirnoff Cocktails Collection will initially include the Grand Cosmopolitan and the Vodka Mojito. Smirnoff Grand Cosmopolitan is a combination of Smirnoff Vodka No 21 (the franchise’s flagship offering), Grand Marnier liqueur, cranberry juice and a splash of lime. The Vodka Mojito is a play on the traditional rum-based Cuban Mojito, combines Smirnoff No 21 with lime and mint flavours.

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com

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