Article by Andrea Irvin
Remember the phrase, “You can’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, that is exactly how I felt after attending the D’USSE REMIXER Series last week at Atlanta’s iconic Patchwerk Studios. This interactive event gave bartenders, bloggers and industry influencers the opportunity to taste and indulge in D’USSE cognac while learning the art of remixing records from Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder.
I was already familiar with many of 9th Wonder’s hits he produced over the years with artists like Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Destiny’s Child, however, the 45 minutes of awe-inspired knowledge he relayed to the group of 20 or so imbibers surrounding him inside his studio-turned-classroom gave me that, “How cool is this?!” moment. Justly, 9th Wonder is also a professor at Duke University teaching a class in Hip Hop and African American studies.
Using both skill sets, he took us on a musical journey that gave a unique perspective on how mixing cocktails has many similarities to mixing records. 9th Wonder asked our group candidly if we have ever crafted the perfect recipe for a cocktail to serve to someone only to be disappointed when they rejected it for a Long Island Iced Tea instead. After a collective nodding of heads from the group, Mr. Wonder explained how similar that is to what record producers often encounter with their fan base. When producers evolve in their musical taste and style, their following would prefer the same style of music they were initially accustomed to over and over.
Ultimately, it is the role of the mixologist and producer to bridge for their audiences what they like, yet provide innovation and keep them wowed while maintaining a consistent quality experience; it’s the perfect mix of developing your own skill while staying true to where you started. This led to my “Ah ha!” moment when the parallels of music production and mixology were the most evident.
After the enlightening session with 9th Wonder, our group had the chance to learn about the history and how meticulous the crafting of D’USSE from Cellar Master Michel Casvecchia and National Bacardi Portfolio Ambassador Colin Asare-Appiah. Perfectly ending the evening, we had the opportunity to “remix” our own versions of classic cocktails using the D’USSE cognac VSOP and a host of other cocktail ingredients including bitters, liqueurs, juices, herbs, and other items using the proper barware. This truly made the entire evening come full circle.
I decided to remix the classic French 75 cocktail using D’USSE Cognac VSOP and added fresh blackberries and Crème de Cassis to add a twist. Check out my recipe!
2 oz. of D’USSE Cognac VSOP
1 oz. of Crème de Cassis
1 oz. of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
½ oz. of Lemon Juice
3-4 fresh blackberries
Add ½ oz. of lemon juice and muddle with the fresh blackberries. Add all other ingredients into the shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass with a sugared rim and garnish with basil.