Cognac-Tasting Pub Crawl L.A.-Style

To celebrate Cognac Classics Week, Hennessy’s U.S. Head of Mixology & Brand Education (nice work if you can get it!), Jordan Bushell, hosted a select group of adventurous journalists on a mission to explore a trio of the city’s finest Cognac-concocting establishments.

The second annual Cognac Classics Week, which kicks off May 22, is a cocktail program launched in partnership with For Hennessey, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate that its V.S.O.P. Privilege is more than just a sipping beverage enjoyed by rich men with fat cigars. If you weren’t aware, and they wouldn’t be sending their guy around the country to drink with bloggers and Instagrammers if you were, Cognac plays well with others. In fact, it makes for a bold flavor profile as a cocktail component.

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Preparing to set the booze ablaze at Lock & Key. (Photo by Scott Bridges)

The classics will never go out of style: the French 75, the Sidecar and the Sazerac. If you’re paying attention, I gave you a great Sidecar recipe recently as part of my ongoing mission to bring back the elegant classics. But mixologists around town are getting creative with their craft, developing delicious new ways to experience the age-old spirit. To that end, this daring crew of researchers toured three of the hottest spots in town, beginning at recently opened Mama Lion, venturing next to the beloved Lock & Key and concluding the evening on the Strip, at Serafina.

It was a modern-day Los Angeles pub crawl, and because Angelenos aren’t famed pedestrians — it’s a very spread-out metropolis — the “crawl,” was merely metaphorical. In true L.A. fashion, cars were involved. But as opposed to the olde days, in which everyone would drive solo a la “Swingers,” this intrepid team Uber-pooled from place to place.

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Cognac cocktails by candlelight at Serafina. (Photo by Scott Bridges)

In whatever manner you choose to celebrate Cognac Classics Week, whether it’s on its own, whether it’s part of a traditional cocktail, whether it’s replacing the rye in an Old-Fashioned, the scotch in a Rob Roy or the bourbon in your Manhattan, or whether you’re enjoying something entirely novel, raise a glass to the French, who, in addition to political sanity, also make some pretty darn good booze. Cheers.


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