This cocktail recipe has been chosen as one of the 101 Best New Cocktails, and was immortalized in gaz regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders: 2011.
Adapted from a recipe by Bradford Scott Knutson, Swing Wine Bar, Olympia, WA
“The subtle sweetness of aged balsamic pairs superbly with the cognac, while simultaneously cutting just a little of its heat . . . [And] the flavor of the balsamic merely makes a great liquor even greater. I made this for a customer who enjoyed it so much I let him name the drink. He was a rep for Ducati motorcycles and named it Desmo after the engine. Variations: Not everyone can get their hands on aged balsamic, a readily available substitution would be to make your own balsamic reduction. Although the aged product creates a subtle smoothness that a reduction cannot duplicate, this would only be noted when tasted side by side,” Bradford Scott Knutson.
4 to 6 drops well-aged balsamic vinegar (Bradford used a 50-year-old Italian bottling)
45 ml (1.5 oz) high-quality cognac
Add the vinegar and the cognac to a brandy snifter, and swirl the glass to combine the ingredients.
gaz sez: At last—a simple and very successful way of incorporating balsamic vinegar into a mixed drink. This drink makes for very interesting sipping, and of course it changes drastically depending on which cognac you use. Pierre Ferrand Abel stands up to the vinegar very well indeed, as does Martell Cordon Bleu, and Hennessy XO—my fave bottling in the Hennessy line. I also liked this drink made with Courvoisier XO, Hardy XO, and Hine XO Antique. Many thanks to Pete and Sal at Painters for letting me raid their stash!