Some things are too good to pass up. With a backlog of 20+ articles for this column, a soft embargo on new products and reviews has been imposed around the Los Angeles Cocktails Examiner. However, a few spirits knew the magic words, and were able to slip the cordon and garner coverage.
Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal are four magic words and four magic numbers that unlatched the gate to my palate. It was the Fig Sidecar that did it.
The Sidecar is a Prohibition-era cocktail (or at least coming after World War I) featuring Cognac (brandy that is specific to the Cognac region of France), Cointreau (or other orange liqueur) and fresh lemon juice. It’s a wonderful drink to experiment with and learn your preferred tastes, as there’s no firm rules on the proportions, so you can skew it to your desire; more lemon juice if you like sour, for example.
Now along comes “The Fig Sidecar”, created by Robert Rouleau, the Beverage Supervisor at the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel:
2 oz Fig-infused Rémy Martin 1738
1 oz Cointreau
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Shaken and poured into a chilled Martini glass with a sugared rim. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Fig infused Remy 1738
1. De-stem and cut in half Black Mission Figs
2. Fill Mason jar with the Figs
3. Fill the Mason jar with 90% Remy 1738
4. Fill remaining 10% with homemade spiced brown sugar simple syrup*
Spiced brown sugar simple syrup = equal parts brown sugar, water, and spices of your choice: nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon recommended.
I didn’t try this wonderful cocktail (yet), but I did procure a comp of Rémy Martin 1738. It’s an A.O.C. fine champagne cognac. A.O.C. is the Appellation d’origine contrôlée, the French certificate of origin, which designates a product’s pedigree. This law was established in the 15th century. “Fine Champagne cognac” means a blend of two crus protected by the A.O.C (from 1938), recognizing the complimentary qualities of Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne. Only 17% of all cognacs are designated “Fine Champagne Cognac” and of this percent, 80% is made by Rémy Martin. It’s technically a VSOP, but Rémy Martin has packaged it a step above, towards XO. Whatever. What’s it like?
It has the attractive reddish-amber color of a good bourbon, the nose of a great grape with a little sting (it’s 80 proof), and a very smooth, almost-Scotch slant (a sweet Speyside, say), that quickly falls back to a grape (wine or port) flavor with a long but low burn with hints of oak, ginger, and candied fruit. 1738 was named as such in recognition of the year King Louis XV granted a warrant for Martin to expand his vineyard. It’s a blend of 65% Grande Champagne and 35% Petite Champagne.
I envision hardcore whiskey drinkers (Scotch or Bourbon) sneaking off to cop a few snorts of this between drams of single malt and stogies. Women, apparently, are also big fans of this very mellow after-dinner delight.
My 200ml bottle was finished off as part of a Widow’s Kiss cocktail variant I threw together, and it turned out quite well:
- 1.5 oz. Rémy Martin 1738 (original recipe calls for calvados)
- .5 oz. Green Chartreuse (original recipe calls for yellow Chartreuse)
- .25 oz. Bénédictine
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into martini glass. Try not to gulp it at once.
Rémy Martin 1738 is priced at about $45 and up for a 750ml bottle, but you don’t need the price to tell you this is a very special liquor.
Disclosure: A 200ml bottle of Rémy Martin 1738 was sent to me free, and finished within two weeks.