There’s something about cognac and fresh figs that—as if in the hands of a French pastry chef—will inevitably become something beautiful behind the bar. For this riff on a Sidecar, bartender Courtney Tietze macerates dehydrated black mission figs in a bottle of cognac for two days until the spirit sweetens and has a rich, nuanced figgy flavor. “The cognac allows for a smooth finish that complements and helps highlight its orange flavor as well as subtly showcasing the flavor of the oak barrels,” he says. This makes sense given the orange liqueur’s cognac base, which tends to bring a bit more dimension to cocktails than your average triple sec.
After double-straining the mixture to remove the figs and seeds, Tietze shakes it with Grand Marnier, sugar and lemon and orange juices and serves it strained in a vanilla-sugar-rimmed cocktail glass, garnished with a sage leaf. If you’re a fan of a classic Sidecar, you’ll love this dressed-up variation.
- 1 lemon wedge
- Vanilla sugar*
- 2 ounces black-fig-infused cognac**
- 3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 ounce simple syrup
- Garnish: 1 sage leaf
Rub the outside rim of a cocktail glass with the lemon wedge, coat with the vanilla sugar and set aside.
Add the cognac, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, orange juice and simple syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into the prepared glass.
Garnish with a sage leaf.
*Vanilla sugar: Put 1 cup sugar and 1 vanilla bean (cut open) in a container and shake to combine. Store up to a month.
**Black-fig-infused cognac: Fill a large container with 375 mL of cognac and 4 cups dried black mission figs. Let sit for a few days, shaking periodically. Strain out solids.