Situated in the heart of Amsterdam, the innovative cocktail bar Rosalia’s Menagerie has quickly established itself as the place to be – so much so that you now need to book beforehand… Adopting the airs and graces of Dmitri Shostakovich, the impeccable mixology maestro Wouter Bosch composes real tasting symphonies, where Cognac gladly strikes a chord. Interview by Peyo Lissarrague.
You have recently created a Cognac-based cocktail. Can you present it to us?
– It is a reworking of a lesser known cocktail, the Black Velvet, which originally combined brown beer and champagne. I call my version the “Suede” to keep within the “fabric” vocabulary, while radically transforming its composition. I start with a VSOP Cognac, then add in Guinness syrup, strawberry liqueur and three dashes of bitters. I give it a shake then fill the glass with champagne. This creates a lovely mousse that captivates our customers.
How do you use Cognac in your cocktails?
– Cognacs have long been a challenge for me. These delicate spirits have rather unique and particularly fruity flavours that need to be carefully handled. I think it is a test of sorts for many bartenders. You could compare it to a violin in an orchestra, which contributes rich, delicate notes without being overpowering. For it to emerge as the soloist in a concerto, a balanced score needs to be written and the whole orchestra must be in tune. Likewise, Cognac cocktails demand nuance and consistency.
In which other cocktails do you use Cognac?
– We currently have another creation on the menu, the Zocalo, combining Cognac, mezcal, grapefruit, grenadine, orange blossom water, bitters and curaçao. Of course, Cognac is also found in some of the great classics, such as the Champs-Élysées or Sazerac (which I prefer with Cognac rather than rye), where it contributes subtle aromas and richness. I also had the pleasure of working a shift as a guest bartender at the Ritz in Paris, where I served an Old Fashioned signature cocktail made with Cognac.