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CONVERSATIONS

Damien Guichard

In Berlin, the Truffle Pig Bar is a speakeasy hidden in the back of the Kauz & Kiebitz, a very popular beer bar in the working-class neighborhood of Neukölln. French mixologist Damien Guichard is a big fan of Cognac. Journalist Marie Raymond met up with him over a Sidecar (Cognac, lemon, Triple Sec).

What is it about Cognac that you love?

– Cognac is an amber-colored, soft and velvety spirit. It is very delicate, yet very comforting. With notes of honey and almond, it is almost like a dessert. Generally speaking, being French, I like working with products specific to their terroir, such as Cognac, especially since France has a long history of regional spirits. But I think what I like most about Cognac is its versatility – it is both very fruity and floral, perfect for spicing up cocktails.

So, how do you work Cognac into your cocktails?

– In lots of ways! For example, I have created a cocktail using unfiltered sake and Cognac with a little lemon juice. It is very light on the palate, with beautiful notes of honey and almond. Until recently, we had a cocktail on the menu made from shiitake mushrooms, amber vermouth, and Cognac. I have also done a new take on the Sazerac by using Cognac infused with fresh mint. And I am a huge fan of the classic Vieux Carré (rye whiskey, red vermouth, Cognac, Bénédictine, Peychaud’s Bitters, Angostura Bitters)!

As a mixologist, do you feel that there is a lot of competition stirred by Cognac brands?

– At the moment, brands are doing a great job promoting their Cognacs, especially by encouraging bartenders to come up with new cocktails. And this is a good thing because these are beautiful products that cocktail-lovers really enjoy. Also, they are considered as exceptional because their rules of production, unlike other spirits, are very stringent, which adds to their exclusive image!

Damien Guichard Truffle Pig Bar Berlin cocktail

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