Based in Louisville, Kentucky, but rooted in rock 'n' roll, Copper & Kings American Brandy Company is not your grandfather's distillery. While their standards and ideology are as high as any French baron's, their process is a little different.
This brandy literally rocks out while it ages in a temperature- and humidity-controlled cellar. Five giant subwoofer speakers inundated the oak aging barrels with sonic vibrations 24/7; head distiller Brandon O'Daniel calls it "sonic aging." The brandy circulates as it vibrates, and the changes in barometric pressure caresses the new spirit in and out of the oak. The result is creamy, unique, and better.
Music also figures into Copper & Kings' MIXT&PE Cocktail Competition, where two bartenders battle head-to-head, after choosing two music albums to inspire their cocktail concoctions. The regional competitions culminate in a national finals.
This year, Minneapolis' own Nathaniel Smith (of Spoon and Stable) won the competition with his Little Red Corvette, based on the classic Jack Rose cocktail. Native son Prince and his classic tune provided the inspiration for Nathaniel to develop both a homemade rose vermouth (suitably replaced in the recipe below with Cocchi Americano Rosa) and a rich black-pepper grenadine (easy to make).
The resulting cocktail is, itself, rich and red, with a lavender finish as an ode to the Purple One.
- 1 ½ oz Copper & Kings Immature Apple Brandy
- ¾ oz black pepper grenadine *
- ¾ oz fresh lime juice
- 1/3 oz Lazzoroni Amaretto
- 1/3 oz Cocchi Americano Rosa vermouth
- 1/3 egg white
*To make grenadine syrup: combine equal parts POM pomegranate juice and sugar in pan; heat to boil then cool. Refrigerate. Add black pepper to taste and let rest, straining before use
Shake all ingredients without ice first, in what is called a "mime shake." Add ice and shake again. Strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with fresh lavender if possible. Spritz the top of the cocktail with Copper & Kings Lavender Absinthe.
Spoon and Stable serves up a celebrated menu of seasonal riffs on classic cocktails. It is Chef Gavin Kaysen's first restaurant in the Twin Cities; his second is due to open in downtown Wayzata in early 2017.