The classic golden brandy is warming in autumn but the crystal-clear white version is perfect for summer drinks
White Armagnac? Did you know that such a thing existed? Surely Armagnac is an amber spirit aged in oak barrels for many years? Armagnac is indeed a brandy that has been aged in French oak and it is also the oldest eau-de-vie in France, dating back to 1310. However, that golden Armagnac that you take pleasure swirling in your glass in front of the fire of an evening with friends, began its life as a completely clear spirit distilled from a white wine made from a possible 10 different diverse grapes. This crystal clear ‘eau-de-vie de vin’ that flows from the traditional Armagnac alambics in the autumn is intensely aromatic with fruity, floral and sometimes spicy notes, all depending on the grapes used for the wine. Tasting notes wax lyrical of fresh pears, grapes, jasmine, freshly cut hay, white peaches, mirabelles, Granny Smiths, lime flower, fennel, pepper and herbaceous hints. Here are three Blanche Armagnac cocktails to try this summer.
Created by Jim Meehan at the well-known PDT (Please Don’t Tell) bar in New York City
50ml Blanche Armagnac , 30ml Lillet Blanc, 15ml Dolin dry Vermouth, 6 white grapes, 1 shiso leaf
Muddle the shiso leaf and grapes, then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir with ice and then fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with three grapes on a cocktail stick.
Created by Francesco Turrini from Milk & Honey, London
60ml Blanche Armagnac, 20ml Lillet Blanc, 10ml Campari, 5ml Maraschino liqueur, orange zest
Put all the ingredients into a mixing glass, fill with ice cubes. Chill the blend by mixing with a spoon, then filter into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Extract the orange zest above the glass, then decorate with a maraschino cherry.
Created by Cristiano Beretta from the Black Pearl in Melbourne
60ml Blanche Armagnac, 5ml sugar syrup, 5ml Maraschino liqueur, 5ml Absinthe, 1 dash Angostura bitters, champagne (to top up), lemon zest
Put all the ingredients except for the champagne into a mixing glass, fill with ice cubes, chill by mixing with a spoon then filer into a champagne flute.
Top up with the champagne and decorate with lemon zest.
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