Hennessy Cognac is one of the most celebrated and sophisticated spirits in the world. Produced in the Cognac region of France, this twice-distilled cognac is made from Ugni Blanc grapes and is enjoyed with a mixer as a long drink. What is perhaps less well known is its rich contribution to the history of cocktails. As we head towards the festive season, it is worth adding sipping on cognac cocktails – at home or at your favourite bar – high up on your to-do list! 

Khomotso Ledwaba, brand manager of Hennessy SA, the world’s best-selling cognac, says South Africans are used to enjoying Hennessy on ice or mixed with ginger ale, appletiser, tonic or red bull. “But we are excited to put a twist on this summer. Jordan Bushell, Hennessy Global Ambassador of Mixology is visiting the country to educate us about making the perfect cognac cocktail!”

Bushell’s cocktail-making tour forms part of the launch of Hennessy’s new festive season cocktail shaker pack, the perfect gift for summer 2019/20. He says using cognac in cocktails can be traced back to the 1800s around the time of the invention of the cocktail. 

“Some of the most iconic American cocktails, the Sidecar, mint julep and the Sazerac, were made using cognac as the primary ingredient. During the American prohibition in 1920, Hennessy’s success spread internationally, as many of the best American bartenders left the USA and took cognac cocktails offshore. Now ‘modified’ classic cocktails are famed and favoured all over the world.”

Bushell said Hennessy Very Special (VS) is a great ingredient for cocktails because of the intensity of its fruit flavour and the fact that it is aged in French Oak. “Cocktails made from cognac are fuller and more complex than those made from other liquors. Cognac pairs exceptionally well with ginger ale (in Cognac, France, this drink is a staple: Cognac, three parts ginger ale, ice and a citrus garnish), bitters, citrus, dry champagne, mint, lemonade and sugar syrup. 
 
The Hennessy special edition cocktail shaker pack is available in Makro and Pick n Pay from R429. Use it to create a range of wonderful Hennessy cocktails including one of Bushell’s favourites: The Hennessy Orange Sour.