Annapolis

Our love of Maryland and Baltimore borders on the fanatic. Baltimore is the greatest city in America. Wait, please don’t go. Hear me out. If you live in Baltimore, you can drive less than 30 minutes, and find yourself in the middle of America’s sailing capital, Annapolis. More than four million visitors from around the world visit Annapolis to enjoy the historic seaport and the activities it hosts. Those visitors included us today. We have lovely house guests this weekend, and spent a lovely afternoon in Maryland’s capitol.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, the popularity of Annapolis as a tourist destination equates to many interesting local businesses, conveniently located in the heart of the historic city center. Not only is Annapolis a beautiful place to visit, it is also a great place to do errands.

Vidal Blanc, the grape we are using to make our white wine, was developed in the 1930’s by a French hybridizer named Jean Louis Vidal. His primary goal was to develop grapes suitable for the production of cognac, not white wine like we made. Cognac is a wine that is made to be distilled into brandy and then aged in wood.

Last Sunday, as soon as I found this out, I immediately googled “how hard is it to make cognac“. I would much rather have cognac in the house than white wine. A plan began to formulate in my mind.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, its very hard. Cognac matures for at least two years. It is blended using multiple vintages, meaning that cognac isn’t the result of only one year’s efforts, but from the blending of many years’ efforts. Fun fact: the age of the cognac is calculated as that of the youngest eau de vie used in the blend.

Oh, and we would have to move to France. Specifically, to the only region in the world authorized to produce cognac. I yelled upstairs to my husband, “Robert, can we move to France? So I can make cognac?”

He said no.

How regrettable. In my mind, I had already purchased a copper still and packed my bags. I needed to drown my sorrows. In a cocktail made out of white wine and cognac. Ha! In Annapolis, I found the ingredients I needed. Breakfast tea from The Spice and Tea Exchange and cognac from Mills Fine Wine and Spirits. Both excellent establishments, if you visit or live in the area.

This makes enough for four large drinks – just enough to dull the painful memory of those five minutes you really, really, really wanted to
move to France. It also uses the rest of the honey syrup from your Shenandoah.

Annapolis
1 cup cognac
1 tablespoon black tea
Fresh juice of one orange
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup honey syrup
Three dashes of bitters

Infuse the tea in the cognac for 5 minutes. Strain the infused cognac into a cocktail shaker. Add the lemon juice, white wine,
honey syrup, and bitters. Add ice and shake well. Strain into a glass over ice.

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