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How Cocktails Are Helping Armagnac Reinvent Its Image For A New Generation

Noémie Cassou-Lalanne of Pellehaut prepares an Armagnac Mojito.

Chris O’Brien

La Boutique Des Vins in Toulouse’s historic Carmes neighborhood is one of the more popular spots for local residents to browse for just the right wine or spirit, maybe even a craft beer. On a quiet Friday evening when store traffic was still sparse, Noémie Cassou-Lalanne arrived in the hopes of convincing customers to reconsider a traditional spirit that might only rarely be on their shopping list.

Surrounded by a nook of shelves filled with wine bottles, teas, and chocolate bars, Cassou-Lalanne set up a small table and a silver tray with three bottles of Armagnac from the Pellehaut domaine in the Gascony region where she’s in charge of marketing. She then improvised a small bartending station, complete with cutting board, mint leaves, a pestle, tiny umbrellas, ice cubs, and simple syrup to make Armagnac Mojitos.

This reimagined cocktail used two types of Armagnac that this artisanal industry hopes will revitalize the image of France’s oldest eau de vie. The first, L’Age de Glace Château de Pellehaut, is a light-brown blend of Armagnacs that have spent little time aging a barrel. The other is Blanche Armagnac, a clear white spirit that has not been aged.

As Cassou-Lalanne prepared a Mojito, a young couple entered the store and passed by the table. She explained the cocktail, the ingredients, and asked if they would like to sample it. The couple nodded, and then the woman simply replied, “Ah, yes. Armagnac. My grandfather used to drink that.”

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