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This Week on “Dinner Classics” with Cocktail Maestro Norm Owen: Cognac

This Week on “Dinner Classics” with Cocktail Maestro Norm Owen: Cognac featured image

This week, Cocktail Maestro Norm Owen takes us back to the 1800s, a time when, instead of rye or bourbon, cocktails were made with that exquisite French elixir: Cognac. We’ll hear about why things changed, and get tips on which common cocktails we should try anew!

The Old Fashioned
Yep – this one was originally made with Cognac! Here’s the old fashioned recipe for the Old Fashioned.

In a rocks glass, place:
.5 tsp 2:1 simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
An orange peel – muddle it in the glass to release the oils
2 dashes angostura bitters
Mush all this around, then add
2 oz Cognac

Stir in the glass until integrated (not too long – taste as you go to reach the right dilution)

Transfer liquids to a fresh glass over a big ice cube, if you have one, and transfer the orange peel for a garnish.


The (original) French 75
This classic is now made with gin, but in the old days it was Cognac.

In a shaker tin, pour:
1.5 oz Cognac
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz 1:1 simple syrup

Shake on ice, and strain into a tall glass with ice.

Top with sparkling wine, garnish with a twist of lemon, and enjoy!

Vieux Carré
From New Orleans, this dates from the transitional period and uses both Cognac and its eventual replacement, rye:

1 oz Cognac
1 oz rye
1 oz sweet vermouth (red)
2 dashes angostura bitters
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 barspoon Benedictine

Stir in a mixing glass over ice until very cold, then pour into a coupe and garnish with a lemon peel (or orange peel if you prefer). Enjoy!

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