Late Summer Musing

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As August is winding down, the ambiance all around us is turning a subtle shade of Fall. Nothing as obvious as falling leaves, it is rather more a feeling than a color change, as the trees are no longer quite as vigorously green as we recall their rustling splendor seemingly only hours ago.

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Earlier this week, we finally managed to do something we had planned to do since the first of May when the venue opened. On our way into town for a walk and a drink, we made the sudden decision to pull instead into the parking lot of the Cognac House Martell. The main building of the Martell Headquarters sports a unique drinking spot, a roof terrace bar. By any stretch of the imagination, we are clearly not in NYC as the building has only five floors, but this is exciting enough for us small-town folk here in Cognac!

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A screenshot of a promotional video on the Martell website. It’s an aerial shot of the Indigo by Martell bar overlooking Old Town Cognac.

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The swift is the logo for the cognac house. In French, a swift [Apus apus, Apodidae] is called un martinet which ties a disciplinarian ribbon between Jean Martell [1694 – 1753] the founder of the cognac House Martell and Charles Martel of Herstal [~688 – 741] hero of the battle of Tour, founder of the feudal House of the Carolingian, and grandfather of Charlemagne.

One of the recent cognac creations of the House Martell is called the Blue Swift. It’s a VSOP cognac finished in Kentucky Bourbon casks, very hip and international indeed. At the Indigo by Martell rooftop bar, I had a Blue Swift straight up, while my husband opted for a Sazerac cocktail made with Blue Swift. In the link, you can read all the exciting tidbits about the origin of this quintessential Big Easy cocktail. The Cognac House Sazerac de Forge & Fils of Angoulême, mentioned in the blog post, provided the cognac used to make these cocktails in New Orleans in the 1850s. The House ceased production about 120 years later, although some ancient bottles can still be found at auction for gobsmacking prices. The currently operating successor to Sazerac de Forge & Fils is the Cognac House ABK6. A-B-K-6 is an acronym which, if pronounced in French, forms the family name of the owners of the cognac house, Abécassis. After all that deep immersion into cognac lore and the alphabet, we couldn’t help but recreated a traditional Sazerac cocktail at home yesterday with Meukow VS, our go-to cognac for cocktails.

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What else happened during this very, very hot summer? Some cooking, of course, by both residents. Chinese dishes and the occasional burger, by one of us, while the other one was more focused on salads & grains.

The garden brought us a lot of joy and a little grief, too, when some new plantings were struggling to make it through the extreme heat in July. The juvenile fig tree suffered especially hard. Although it is carrying fruit, its leaves are largely gone, so we don’t know if the figs will ripen, nor if it will make a healthy comeback next year.

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Our blackberries are pretty pathetic as well. They grow so much more plentiful and juicy at our friends’ place in the Pacific NW!

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The garden also presented us with a huge surprise, when we realized we actually had a pomegranate bush right in front of that sad fig tree.

Since I had no idea if these tiny garnet apples are edible, I cut one open to discover it was filled with a plentitude of unripe seeds. I’ve since read up on the creatures and I’m now hoping for a harvest of miniature pomegranates in a couple of month or so.

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Before saying good-bye to you today, a swift addendum.

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Phlegmatic cows, excitable swifts, and one dove as seen from my desk.

À la prochaine, mes amis !

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