We were invited by Hennessy to its Essential Summer Cocktail tasting at Commissary at the Line Hotel. An early evening affair on a Wednesday in Los Angeles, the airy restaurant was the perfect setting for the tasting of three spotlighted drinks using Hennessy VS: Coca Mule, Carrot and Splash.
The Coca Mule is a take on a Moscow Mule with the interesting ingredient of Agwa de Bolivia coca leaf liqueur, rounded out by Hennessy VS cognac, lime and ginger beer. Whenever I order a mule, I hope for the fancy copper cup, so I have to confess being a little biased when I get a mule not in one. But the Coca Mule is an inviting drink, especially to come in from the sun to. Adding more than a strong hint, whether you’re partial to ginger beer will determine if this drink is for you. Also, if you’re partial to copper cups or not.
The Carrot was my personal favorite. No, it did not taste like carrot juice. With the striking flavor coming from the agave nectar and passion fruit, this cocktail has a smooth yet full-bodied taste. In a funny way, the consistency is somewhat reminiscent of carrot juice, but I did wonder if they meant to spell it “Carat.” Both satisfying and refreshing, it walks the line between business and casual. You can kiki about money or your love life with this one.
The Splash has more of a citrus appeal, with lemon and a flamed orange twist. The mint and creme peche add extra layers of taste experience by adding fragrance and softening the acidity, but ultimately this is a cocktail that will have you shaking the ice in your glass before you expect. This is a safe choice when deciding whether to barhop or stay put.
I typically drink gin cocktails in the summertime — a gin and tonic while at a BBQ watching the sun set, or even at home eating BBQ-flavored potato chips while enjoying the A/C. Just kidding, I don’t use my A/C (are you trying to run up my electric bill?!). Hennessy VS provided an alternative to my usual summer cocktail, and I was not mad. When I think of Hennessy, I think of my uncles sippin’ yac at family parties. The drinks at this tasting showed me that Hennessy didn’t always have to be Hen-dogg. These drinks were full-bodied and delicious, grown but not old-man. Sure, there were fruit accents (we are talking summer cocktails, after all), but they were far from fruity drinks. Your typical college spring breaker would not be guzzling these down while being Snapchatted by their friends in Hollister hoping to draw the attention of the guys whose boat they’re on.
Instead, you’ll want to sip these drinks while conversing with good friends about your life’s current events and how they fit in your overall journey. (Not to be confused with overalls journey — I hear they’re making a comeback.) You won’t hop out of the pool wanting these drinks for a #hydrationsituation, rather you’ll be more likely dressed in your high-level summer fashion for a sophisticated discussion about how early or late you sleep, or how unwilling you are to settle down with someone. But, hey, it’s summertime. We all know cuffing season is in winter. Cheers to that!
Note: This tasting was hosted. All photos courtesy of Hennessy unless otherwise noted.