Whisper it quietly, but Christmas is just around the corner. Yes, really. The ‘most wonderful time of year’ is coming to finally show 2020 how to have a good time.
Whether Lockdown has thrown you off your usual calendar or not, the festive period will forever bring with it that fateful sense of anticipation combined with a generous helping of dread.
It’s no surprise when you start reeling off the to-do list before 25 December: buy a tree, cut the tree because it’s too large for the room, decorate the tree; sort the turkey, brine the turkey, replace the oven because the bird doesn’t fit in your current one; send cards to your entire contacts book; begrudgingly invite your parents-in-law for Christmas lunch; put up lights so the neighbours don’t look down on you; research presents, buy back-up presents as all the good ones are sold out; do an almighty food shop – did you forget the biscuits? No. Buy more anyway – get another roll of wrapping paper just in case; avoid a call from your accountant; turn the lights off when carollers knock on your door. And so on, and so on, and so on.
Wouldn’t it be nice if just one of the decisions you made this holiday season was a little easier? As a matter of fact, we might know just the thing.
Cognac mightn’t be the first spirit that comes to mind when you think of the winter festivities, but if you ask us there is no better nightcap on a chilly evening, eclectic cocktail base for putting you in the party mood, or finer pairing for some of our favourite foodie indulgences.
Here’s why Rémy Martin’s collection of expertly blended cognacs is always top of our Christmas list.
Rémy Martin: history in a bottle
Since 1724, Rémy Martin has been led by extraordinary men and women who turned a small piece of French terroir into one of the world’s best cognacs from Fine Champagne.
Using fruit from only the highest-quality vineyards – a signature blend of Grande and Petite Champagne crus – the chalky soil of the Cognac region provides the ideal conditions to ripen the grapes to perfection.
And then there’s the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle – the expertise passed from generation to generation, as the blend of eaux-de-vie perennially embodies Rémy Martin’s signature palette of rich and unique aromas.
Each bottle of cognac may contain hundreds of different eaux-de-vie, harvested, distilled, and aged in barrels over different periods of time. It is up to the unique expertise of the Cellar Master to transform the complex brushstrokes of this colourful palette into Rémy Martin’s signature cognac style.
Make the most out of your Rémy Martin
There’s no shame in enjoying Rémy Martin the old-fashioned way: neat or served with a gradually melting ice cube slowly opening up the various complex notes trapped inside each sip. But it would be remiss of us not to point out there’s a big wide world out there – and many ways to make your cognac sing.
One of the most discerning ways to enjoy Rémy Martin is to pair it with food. In the same way you’ve seen sommeliers bring out the genius of a restaurant dish with a clever wine pairing, Rémy Martin’s collection of cognacs can breathe fresh life into your long-established Christmas classics.
Take Rémy Martin XO: this luxurious spirit is underscored by umami flavours that make the mouth water. With that in mind, think of the saltiness of your after-dinner cheese board – something like an aged parmesan or manchego cheese – or perhaps your clove-studded festive ham.
Then there’s the sweet and spicy aromas in the mid-palate perfectly setting off those chestnuts on the open fire, a pilfered morsel of dark chocolate, or the dried fruits in your Christmas pud – why use brandy cream, when you can simply enjoy Rémy Martin alongside?
Rémy Martin’s collection of cognacs can breathe fresh life into your long-established Christmas classics
The trick is to use your imagination. There’s a whole host of flavours that pair really well with XO and enhance its aromas:
- Sweet: vanilla, fudge, honey, chocolate, baked spice, madeleines, macarons
- Spicy: ginger, cinnamon, pepper, liquorice
- Fruity: dried orange, orange peel, orange blossom, pear, white peaches, white grapes, apricots, plums, dates
- Savoury: umami flavours such as aged parmesan cheese, bellota ham
- Nutty: almonds, walnuts, pistachio
- Floral: white roses, iris, jasmine
Our top tip? The sweetness of grilled shellfish on Christmas eve might be perfectly suited to a glass of Rémy Martin XO.
On our shopping list
Rémy Martin XO Red Coffret Limited Edition gift pack
£170 at Selfridges
For the holiday season, Rémy Martin XO is adorned with gold leaf on the bottle to celebrate all that makes it unique and opulent during this festive season.
Housed in an exclusive red coffret box, elegantly revealing the history of the creation of this Fine Champagne cognac, signature of the Rémy Martin House: exceptional terroirs, time and talents. A story that also continues on the carafe, intensifying with finesse all its richness and harmony.
Rémy Martin XO Tasting Box
£29.99 at Borough Box
Looking to try your hand at Rémy Martin food pairings? This little stocking filler is the perfect place to start.
Borough Box has teamed up with the prestigious cognac maker to create this exclusive Rémy Martin XO tasting box, carefully selecting the finest foodie items to pair with this wonderful Champagne Cognac.
There's a spice plum chutney and wheel of Godminster organic vintage cheddar, as well as an indulgent bar of Islands Chocolate Midnight Mover 75% Dark Chocolate – each ingredient sure to bring out the very best in the Rémy Martin XO.
Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal
£59.99 at Selfridges
Created by Georges Clot in celebration of the year 1738, when the King of France granted the Accord Royal to Mr Rémy Martin himself to honour the excellence of his craftsmanship and allow him to plant more vines for cognac making in the King’s land.
Rémy Martin 1738 is carefully aged in toasted French oak barrels made from Limousin oak, revealing a rich range of aromas – generous notes of figs, baked spices, and toffee – all blended to produce an exceptionally round texture and creamy finish.
It's a double gold medal winner from the 2017 and 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It's also our favourite Rémy Martin for making cocktails.
Rémy Martin 1738 Old Fashioned Kit
£40, see Heads Hearts & Tails for more.
Rémy Martin has teamed up with renowned drinks experts at Heads Hearts & Tails and curated the ultimate Old Fashioned kit to create your bespoke version of a classic cocktail.
Reveal your inner mixologist with five measures of Rémy Martin 1738, four syrups and four garnishes and create your tailor-made Old Fashioned.
Now that staying in is the new going out, get access to a Rémy Martin Old Fashioned Mix-a-Long on 19th November 2020 on Zoom with every purchase.
The cocktail kit includes:
- 5x 50ml Rémy Martin 1738 – perfect for cocktails and sampling neat
- 4x 20ml Syrups: Coconut & Chocolate, Honey & Orange, Demerara & Angostura, Fig & Plum
- 4x Garnishes: Dried fig, dried orange wheel, candied ginger, dark chocolate
- 2x complimentary Rémy Martin rocks glasses