Brandy’s growing popularity in craft cocktails can no longer be dismissed as a fad. It has been happening for years, which has given bartenders the chance to realize that France isn’t the only country producing world-class brandy.
Some of New York’s best bartenders have become particularly enamored with Torres brandy, a Spanish spirit made right outside Barcelona. The way the family-owned winery handles its grapes and ages its brandy has inspired admiration, and a lot of loyal drinkers, with those who know their brandy.
But geography isn’t all that makes Torres brandy stand out in the brandy category. It’s the almost century-old mastery in the art of distilling of the Torres family. In 1928, second-generation Jaime Torres started making vintage brandy aged in oak, soft and scented, from the best white wines in the Penedès region. The legacy has been passed on, and today Torres brandy continues to be elaborated with utmost care and uses a dynamic aging process—referred to as the solera method—in which new brandy is periodically added to American oak barrels as the spirit ages and dissolves. This lends expressions like Torres 15 a soft structure and deep flavor that make it versatile enough to complement any style of cocktail.
That explains why Torres brandy will be featured in so many recipes when bars throughout New York celebrate Brandy Week from September 24 through 30.
Don’t want to wait until then to enjoy Spanish brandy cocktails? You can whet your appetite with these three innovative and delicious recipes from some of New York’s best bartenders.
Vuelo de la Selva by Ivy Mix
Vuelo de la Selva translates to “Flight from the Jungle.” That’s appropriate, because Ivy Mix’s lush and refreshing brandy cocktail will put you in a tropical state of mind, whether you’re sipping it in her bar Leyenda during Brandy Week or enjoying one at home.
Riot Act by Jillian Vose
Part of what makes The Dead Rabbit’s Jillian Vose such a great bartender is her ability to incorporate house-made specialty ingredients into her signature cocktails. The Riot Act cocktail is an excellent example. A grilled-pineapple-infused genever and brown rice syrup make this recipe as singular as the Spanish brandy serving as its base spirit.
Barcelona’s Painkiller by Johnny Livanos
The Painkiller is already a twist on the classic Piña Colada. But Johnny Livanos of Ousia couldn’t resist taking it one step further by replacing rum with Torres 15. This recipe is all the proof you need that Spanish brandy belongs in Tiki drinks—or pretty much any style of cocktail.