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Rémy Martin V Celebrates Los Angeles Launch


Rémy Martin V

Speaking of cognac, Rémy Martin celebrated the L.A. launch of its latest spirit, Rémy Martin V, at Drai’s last week – the rooftop restaurant/club crowning the W Hollywood. The event attracted an eclectic crowd that ranged from a few jet-setting members of the Monegasque princely family to Jaleel White, the Urk Man himself.
But make no mistake – V is not cognac. So to avoid confusion, Rémy Martin simply calls it what it is: a distilled grape spirit, or, more specifically, an eaux-de-vie distilled from Ugni Blanc grapes harvested in the Champagne region of France – the company’s first clear spirit. Yes, clear. If that’s confusing, think of it this way: Rémy Martin V is like Rémy Martin cognac, but without the barrel aging. (OK, maybe that’s more confusing.)
So how does it taste? It tastes a little like grappa (an Italian pomace brandy), and is similarly phenolic. But it’s subtler than grappa, thanks to double distillation and a special ice-cold filtration process. Rémy Martin V is intended to be a mixing spirit – something that will appeal to a young, club-going, fruity-mixed-drinks-imbibing sort of crowd. Some might call it a marketing gimmick – like Crystal Pepsi, but more fun. You be the judge.  

Cognac Conversations #3: The Cognac Summit Cocktail


Cognac. You know it as one of the ultimate sippers on the planet, but what about cocktails? The answer is yes, from the classic sidecar to the ultra-modern Cognac Summit Cocktail*, Cognac does have a happy home in the world of mixology.

In this third installment of Cognac Conversation, Mutineer Editor in Chief Alan Kropf pays a surprise visit to stand-up comedian/Mutineer Director of Comedy Ben Morrison at his Hollywood apartment to make one of these so-called Cognac Summit Cocktails and prove that literally anyone is capable of whipping up this delicious cocktail at home.

Official Cognac Summit Cocktail Ingredients:

  • 1 lime peel
  • 4 thin slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 oz. VSOP Cognac
  • 2 oz traditional lemonade
  • 1 long piece of cucumber peel
  • 4 or 5 ice cubes

*Because we live on the edge, we strayed a bit from the official recipe in our demonstration and used 2 oz. of Cognac and 4 oz. of lemonade, and while homemade lemonade is always preferred, sometimes you just gotta roll with Americana’s finest: Newman’s Own Old Fashioned Roadside Virgin Lemonade.

The Sidecar Recipe:
By Robert Hess from “Classic Cocktails” in Mutineer Magazine Issue #10

  • 2 oz. brandy (or cognac)
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Shake with ice.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

What? No sugared rim? Personally I find that the sugared rim simply makes my fingers sticky, which is far from desirable. You may of course choose to sugar yours if you so desire, but history is on my side on this since the original recipes also were presented sans rim.

Deep-Sea Vodka Maker Shay Smith of Ocean Vodka



Shay Smith of Ocean Vodka. Photo by Sean Hower

Ocean Vodka is a family-owned Maui company, but their product isn’t distilled on the Valley Isle. This is no great secret; president Shay Smith will be the first to tell you. “Yeah we get criticized by the competition because we don’t distill the spirit here, but we are making it here,” he says. Smith says two factors influence the off-island distillation: a desire to keep the vodka organic, and quality control.

The process by which Ocean Vodka gets to market is fascinating. It starts with organic sugar cane, grown free of pesticides and with no genetic modifications. The cane juice is then distilled by master Bill Scott on the Mainland. This product is combined with MaHalo Hawaii Deep Sea water from Kono’a Koyo U.S.A.—pulled from 3,000 feet below sea level and desalinated—in a Maui warehouse, then bottled by Smith’s parents, Diana and Kyle Smith. The result is 80-proof, virtually flavor-free booze. Its also wheat and gluten free. No other vodka is made this way.

“We set out six years ago to create a Hawaii product,” Smith explains. “Our goal was to be as popular as macadamia nuts, but we didn’t want to make a tourist product. We wanted a local product to compete on the world market.”

It’s working—Ocean Vodka can be now found in at least 10 states, plus Canada and Japan. “We are committed to making a difference to our planet through being an organic product,” says Smith. “And being a Maui company.”

1 comment 07.21.2011 |

Cognac Conversations #2


Cognac. The sequel. What does VS and VSOP mean? Should you buy Cognac out of an aluminum can? These questions and more will be answered as Mutineer Editor in Chief Alan Kropf attempts to educate stand-up comedians Ben Morrison (who also happens to be a regular Mutineer contributor and host of the Mutineer Comedy Festival) and Daryl Wright (also a Mutineer Comedy Festival performer) at the world renowned Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at Universal City.

So You Want to be an Absinthe Connoisseur…Part 2



Photo by Brian Huff Photography

We hope you enjoyed our first entry in our Absinthe Connoisseur series of articles.  Now that you know a bit more about the different types of absinthe available in the marketplace today, we wanted to explain a bit more about how to taste and/or review an absinthe. 

When a person is drawn to absinthe, we believe they’re usually seeking the full and complete Belle Époque experience—the experience of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine and Toulouse-Lautrec: the full and true experience of the most mysterious and romantic drink in history. What did the patrons at the Moulin Rouge and the Cabaret du Chat Noir taste, smell, and feel when they drank absinthe? This is the standard against which we judge modern absinthes. See the full post »

Grand Marnier Introduces Quintessence


Grand Marnier Quintessence

Grand Marnier Quintessence

Since its introduction in 1880, Grand Marnier has been an icon for French spirits and has been residing happily as a top-shelf liqueur ever since. A blend of true Cognacs and the distilled essence of bitter orange, the possibilities with Grand Marnier are endless.

Today, Grand Marnier has just announced the upcoming release of Grand Marnier Quintessence, their first new expression of Grand Marnier since the release of Cent-Cinquantenaire to mark their 150th anniversary in 1977 and Mutineer Magazine is here to breakdown this new libation. As said, Grand Marnier is a blend of Cognacs and the distilled essence of bitter orange, so let’s start with the Cognac.

The Cognacs used to create Quintessence are sourced from Grand Champagne, the most prestigious cru zone in the Cognac region. The age of these cognacs is from 25 to 100 years and have been carefully selected from the Grand Marnier Paradise. Specifically selecting our 1906 Grande Champagne and the 1955 Grande Champagne for the blend. Paradise is a special cellar where all our extra old cognacs are stored. In order to preserve absolute quality from the vintage, the cognac is actually taken out of the barrel after reaching maturity and put in large glass containers and then transferred to the Paradise Cellar. The oldest of our Paradise cognacs is 1875.

More than 20 lots of different Cognacs are included in the final product. Next, comes the orange perfume of Quintessence.

Grand Marnier has used the same bitter oranges selected for all of the brand’s marques. However, to produce Quintessence, a unique, exacting and time-honored Marnier recipe, called “double parfum,” has been implemented. This perfume is very delicate, subtle, fresh and richer than the traditional perfume. To create the “double parfum,” orange peels are macerated with the perfume of the first distillation. This is followed by a second distillation to further refine the flavor and produce the final result: an amazingly tantalizing and delicious flavor.

And lastly, Grand Marnier Quintessence goes to barrels to rest.

Finally, the Cognacs, “double parfum” of orange and sugar are blended together to create the perfect balance and elicit the most beguiling flavor. This is followed by the “marriage time” as the blend ages in small French oak casks. At the end of this marrying period (12 months), the cognac and the perfume are judged to have reached the perfect harmony.

Quintessence is a limited expression that will be on shelves in September selling for $799.99 a bottle.

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The Cocktail Spirit With Robert Hess: The Tequila Old Fashioned


This week’s installment of The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess brought to you by the Small Screen Network brings you the Tequila Old Fashioned. According to Robert Hess, “Think there is only one way to make an Old Fashioned? Think again. Unlike drinks such as the Martini, Margarita, and Daiquiri which have fairly specific recipes, the “Old Fashioned” emerged during the late 1800’s as a way to refer to a cocktail as it was originally made in the “old days”. The old cocktail books would refer to “Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail” so there was no confusion as to what spirit to use. While today it is simply assumed that Whiskey will be the ingredient in your Old Fashioned (or Brandy if you are from Minnesota), that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this style of cocktail with other spirits. So join me as I make mine with Tequila. And since cocktails should be all about celebrating the spirit, I’ll be using a quality tequila, specifically Hornitos 100% blue agave tequila.”

Since July is National Tequila Month and the theme for this #MutineerMonday is Tequila, what better way to spend it than by learning from Robert Hess how to make a Tequila Old Fashioned … and then drinking it, of course!

Tequila Old Fashioned

  • 1 tsp. agave syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2oz tequila


  • Stir with ice
  • Strain into a cocktail glass
  • Garnish with lemon twist

Comments Off on The Cocktail Spirit With Robert Hess: The Tequila Old Fashioned 07.11.2011 |

Mutineer Monday: July 11 #Tequila


Mutineer Monday
The mission of Mutineer Monday is to advocate and promote the fine beverage industry by challenging the masses to “Join The Mutiny” and raise a glass (whether it be alcohol or non) to igniting and inspiring a fine beverage revolution!

Each week, we reach out to our readers, our Twitter followers, our Facebook fans, our contributors, our favorite bloggers and writers, and even our own team — asking everyone to share how they will be partaking in Mutineer Monday. To participate, all one needs to do is indulge in a delicious fine beverage (or two or three) and leave a comment on our blog, on our Facebook wall, or give a shout-out on Twitter using the hashtag #MutineerMonday (and #JoinTheMutiny if you have enough characters). And if you are feeling particularly ambitious, feel free to do all three!

Since July is National Tequila Month, today’s #MutineerMonday theme is tequila. What’s your favorite tequila? What’s your favorite type; blanco, joven, reposado, añejo, extra añejo? Do you have a favorite tequila based cocktail?

Let us know!

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