Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/126443
"I have a small backbar," explains Jim Meehan, the mixologist's mixologist behind industry-favorite NYC bar PDT. "But we've always had cognac cocktails on the menu—and we always will." It is cognac's place on every serious bar's "must-have" list that has helped the storied category ride through the trials and tribulations of the post-Prohibition doldrums, from the vodka tsunami to the skinny-cocktail onslaught. From impeccable vintage cognacs to modernized blends, cognac remains a spirit-lover's spirit: notably noseable neat, and fully actualized in a slew of classic cocktails that have made a serious comeback on cocktail lists recently. With history on its side and a slew of dedicated mixologists working hard to keep cognac cool, it's no surprise that as HINE Cognac celebrates 250 years of excellence, the brand is stronger than ever, thanks in large part to its ability to gracefully walk the line between tradition and modernity. "The heart of the house of HINE is savoir-faire," explains François Le Grelle, Managing Director at HINE, referring to the French phrase meaning adaptively adept, able to always make the right move at the precisely right time. "This savoir-faire is an art, and it is so ingrained that it dictates everything we should do. It is not a fashion, and we must not alter our sense of savoir-faire to follow a trend; doing so would kill our brand!" H by HINE Takes on NYC At two of New York's hottest bars, H by HINE is in the spotlight. THE TASTING PANEL asked Jim Meehan at PDT and Jillian Vose at Death + Company to tell us how cognac's mixing it up in the Big Apple. "Cognac is deinitely becoming more popular among consumers, says Vose, "and " I think it is really important to put things that are more unfamiliar in cocktails—that's how they become familiar!" And consumers are deinitely on the path to familiarity. Both Meehan and Vose credit these H by HINE–based cocktails as popular menu items that are working hard to bring cognac to the consumer. Boomin' Granny by Jillian Vose, Death + Company ◗ 1½ oz. H by HINE Cognac ◗ 1 oz. Granny Smith apple juice ◗ ½ oz. fresh lime juice ◗ ½ oz. acacia honey syrup ◗ Sparkling wine to top. ◗ Shake with ice and ine strain into a champagne lute; top with sparkling wine and garnish with Granny Smith apple fan. Tearaway Highball by Jim Meehan, PDT ◗ 1½ oz. H by HINE Cognac ◗ 4 oz. Ithaca Cream Soda ◗ ½ oz. Bäska Snaps ◗ Build in a chilled Collins glass illed with ice; garnish with half an orange wheel. But the HINE brand suffers no mortal peril: "We will succeed into the 21st century by continuing to do what we've done for the last 250 years: We will not compromise on quality and produce only a small amount—but the best." With an incredible array of vintage cognacs dating back as far as 1957 in its arsenal, HINE is, indeed, among the best of the revered old houses. Six generations of Hine family members have steered the brand toward continued excellence, and HINE sources its grapes from Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne, two of the best crus in Cognac. But as the modern consumer has discovered the storied category, Hine has 76 / the tasting panel / may 2013 been quick to put its savoir-faire to use, creating H by Hine VSOP in an attempt to reach a new consumer set. Made from a blend of 20 cognacs aged for a minimum of four years and crafted to the same precise standards that dictate HINE production, H by HINE is au courant as cognac comes. "H by HINE is the result of the demand from the market itself," comments Le Grelle, who says that the product was originally released ten years ago at the behest of the trendsetting U.K. cocktail scene, which called for a younger, more mixable expression of HINE. "H by HINE was, to be honest, somehow intended for mixologists,"