Gaspar Brasserie is the latest addition to the Little France that Franck LeClerc is creating in the Financial District, joining Café Claude and Claudine nearby. It certainly looks the part, with dark wood, brass railings, polished leather, waitstaff in black ties and a menu of updated French brasserie classics. The real draw, however, is the Cognac Room upstairs, where Johnny Codd, formerly of the Slanted Door Group, has assembled what may be the largest selection of brandy drinks in the world. Compiled from sources that go back as far as the 1869 book Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, the list features hard-to-find classics like the Widow’s Kiss, a Savoy-era concoction of Calvados, Benedictine, yellow Chartreuse and Angostura bitters, and the Sahara Glowing Heart (gin, apricot eau de vie, grenadine and absinthe) from Jigger, Beaker, & Glass—a recipe accompanied by one of the more colorful stories by author Charles Baker, Jr., involving drunkenly stealing a group of camels before parking them at the Sphinx. Codd has also gathered more than 60 brandies from all over the world, some offered in flights like Cognac Terroir: one-ounce pours of Dudognon Reserve from Grand Champagne, Grosperrin VSOP from Petit Champagne and Cognac Park’s Borderies, representing three of the six Cognac crus.
This review appears in the print edition of the October 2015 issue. Like what you just read? Subscribe now.
This story appears in the print issue of October 2015.
Like what you read? Subscribe today.