I was fortunate, in the before times, to meet Michel Casavecchia, the master distiller at D’Usse cognac—a brand started not quite a decade ago by a group lead by none other than Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. It’s been a big success in a category still on the rise, and I like the stuff.
Crucially, the house has access to old juice, just the sort of palette a man of Casavecchia’s know-how needs to create wonderful things. His XO, in a distinctive black bottle, is a complex, fruity top-shelf pour. The VSOP is built for cocktails—delicious and more versatile.
The house shared a couple of ideas, which we provide here as a bit of last-minute help. You likely have some version of these ingredients on hand; use the best you can get hold of. Then hold hands.
D’USSE LADY VELVET
1 oz D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
¾ oz aged Rum
¾ oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, with pkenty of ice. Stir gently albeit firmly until well chilled. Strain into a Nick & Nora glass or other chilled coupe; garnish with a twist of orange.
CHERRY ON TOP
2 oz D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
3/4 oz Sherry
3 dashes bitters, preferably Bittercube Jamaican #2
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass, with plenty of ice. Stir gently albeit firmly until well chilled. Strain into a Nick & Nora glass or other chilled coupe; garnish with… oh, you probably figured that part out.