Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Godet Folle Blanche Epicure XO Cognac

Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Godet Folle Blanche Epicure XO Cognac
Date: April 2024
Author: Inspector X

Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho used to have the Diplomatico series. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.

Godet Folle Blanche Epicure XO Cognac

This cognac is something special, more special than I knew when I purchased the bottle. I know nearly nothing about cognac and just bought the bottle because it looked beautiful with the golden netting around the glass. But it turns out that the inclusion of the Folle Blanche grape is very rare. It is the original grape from the first brandy variety, made for the Dutch. An illness in the variety wiped it almost out in the 19th century, but Godet is committed in using this grape and they are praised for it in the cognac community.

I did sit down with a cognac expert from Pernod Ricard a few years ago, and he showed me that a Glencairn glass is a better choice for cognac then the classic cognac glass. With that in mind I tried this special cognac in a Glencairn and on the nose I got summer fruits, citrus and floral notes with an ocean saltiness. The cognac is light, creamy and delicate with an underlaying layer of spice and earthiness. The sweetness and fruitiness make this a balanced drink with a buttery creaminess. The fruits are summer fruits such as blackberries, raspberries and passionfruit. This will go well with a mild to medium, slightly creamy cigars such as the Rocky Patel Vintage 1999, Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story but an aged Cohiba Siglo II or a Bolivar Gold Medal are also perfect companions for the Godet Folle Blanche Epicure XO Cognac.

Sidecar

There are two stories on how the cocktail got its name. The first is that the first person who ordered it at a bar arrived in the sidecar of a motorcycle, the second story is that the liquid left over after straining the cocktail in a glass was served on the side in a shot glass as a sidecar. Nobody knows exactly which of the stories is true, and we will never find out as the cocktail is more than a century old. It’s most likely the oldest classic cognac cocktail out there and originated during the first world war.

On the nose this cocktail is mild but there is a distinct lemon flavour. The first thing that hits the palate is the sugar from the rim combined with the fruit from the cognac and the orange from the Cointreau. There is a little burn from the alcohol. The earthy, slightly salty undertone of the cognac returns in this cocktail too. A medium to full bodied will be great. As this cocktail is a bit on the dry side, meaning that there isn’t a lot of sweetness, I recommend a maduro cigar to make up for it. I smoked a Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Maduro Robusto, but I bet any other maduro cigar will go well with this cocktail.

And now for the Sidecar recipe:
1½ ounce of 45ml of Godet Folle Blanche Epicure XO
¾ ounce or 22½ ml of Cointreau
¾ ounce or 22½ ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Garnish: sugar rim and an orange twist

Coat the rim of a cocktail glass with sugar and set aside. Insert the cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into the cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twists.

The Japanese Cocktail

This cocktail doesn’t contain any Japanese ingredients nor is it invented in Japan. It was created in 1860 in New York during the first official Japanese mission in the USA. The story is that one of the members of the Japanese delegation was quite a dandy and when he stumbled into Jerry ‘the professor’ Thomas’ bar, Thomas created this cocktail for him. And that’s how the cocktail got its name.

On the nose there is a grassy aroma with almonds from the orgeat. My orgeat is homemade by the way, it’s not so hard to make and tastes better than store bought orgeat in my humble opinion. The cocktail is tart due to the lime with an earthy and fruity sweetness of the cognac. It is balanced, the perfect marriage between the sweetness and the nut flavours of the almond used in the orgeat. I would pick a cigar with a nutty and creamy flavour profile such as the Aging Room Connecticut, a Davidoff Grand Cru, Ashton Cabinet or if you’re into Cuban cigars, then I would suggest something from the Bolivar marca.

And now for The Japanese Cocktail recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Godet Folle Blanche Epicure XO
½ ounce or 15ml of lime juice, freshly squeezed
½ ounce or 15ml of orgeat syrup
1 dash of aromatic bitters
Garnish: lime peel or lemon peel
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime of lemon peel.

Inspector X

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