Recapturing the spirit of the quintessential cocktail days in the 1800s, Maison Ferrand offers Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1840, a revival of the classic thee-star Cognac. Pierre Ferrand President Alexandre Gabriel, with help from cocktail historian David Wondrich have revived the historic Cognac that was launched in New Orleans in honor of their renowned cocktails during the heyday of the old Sazerac saloon and earlier to celebrate the Big Easy’s Tales of the Cocktil, where it had it “official” first U.S. pour.
Jerry Thomas, author of the first bartender’s guide, renowned technician Harry Johnson, Leo Engel, who brought American bar-tending to England, and William Schmidt favored Cognac-based Cocktails, Sours, Punches, Daisies and others. The Mint Julep was primarily a Cognac drink in the early days. Tasting notes for Pierre Ferrand 1840 describe it as a fresh and floral, with darker tannic notes to blend well into a cocktail, punch or julep.
The grapes used for Cognac are from the “Golden Triangle” of the Grand Champagne region, an area that gives greater elegance and unparalleled mouth feel. Ferrand distills leaving skins, stems and some fleshy fruit which insuring both fine body and bouquet. Double distilling in tiny copper pot stills reduce harshness, and aging is done in Limousin oak, which allows lush grape character without an oak taste.
The region authorized to produce cognac is divided into six zones, including five crus broadly covering the department of Charente-Maritime, a large part of the department of Charente and a few areas in Duex-Sevres and the Dordogne. The six zones are: Grand Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderlines, Fins Bois, BonBois and Bois Ordinaire. A blend of Grand and Petite Champagne Cognacs, with at least half coming from Grand Champagne, is known as Fine Champagne.
Cognac-producing regions should not be confused with the northeastern region of Champagne, a wine region that produces sparkling wine by that name, although they do share a common etymology – both being derivations of a French term for chalky soil.
Gastronomique blending is paramount:
Creating a match is what works. Not unlike tequila the lighter flavored go with lighter fare, and bolder cognac’s work with richer dishes. Textures are vital in perfect Cognac pairing, and seafood shines with cold Cognac’s. Cold lobster, seafood and caviar come alive with a glass of Cognac. Try finding a dish that focuses on a note in the Cognac, such as Sea Scallops and Citrus notes of the Cognac will highlight the shellfish’s delicate freshness. The butter brings out the hazelnut in the Cognac. Ham, sausage and duck and pate dishes also blend well with Cognac. Beware of using spices that are to strong to avoid spoiling the Cognac.

By Bonnie Carroll


Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since 1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll’s Life Bites News, and does travel and food reporting on local radio/TV, she also contributes to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle publications, and is a member of IFWTWA and NATJA. Contact her at