If the French have any say in it, the next de rigueur cocktail ingredient will be an unusual one: Pineau des Charentes, that enigmatic liquor which is neither wine nor spirit, but somewhere in between. For those not in the know, Pineau is made from combining fresh-pressed grape juice with Cognac, then aging the blend in oak barrels. The concoction can take on some very exotic flavors after a decade or more — and since Pineau can be made from just about any type of grapes, the flavor of the finished product can vary widely. Keep this in mind when mixing with the stuff.
In cocktails, Pineau can behave a bit like brandy and a bit like sherry, but again it will depend on the expression you choose. The cocktail below comes to us from our friend and NY bartending legend Franky Marshall, who’s working with the Pineau folks on a variety of enticing libations. For the record, I tried this cocktail prepared with both orange bitters and absinthe, and slightly preferred the former — though as the drink warmed up, the absinthe version definitely began to resonate as well.
from Franky Marshall
1 oz white Pineau des Charentes
1 oz London dry gin
1/2 oz genepy liqueur
2 dashes absinthe or 1 dash orange bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with an expressed lemon peel.