Drinking cognac with water started to become popular in London around the 1790s. In the 1840s, Americans started to enjoy cognac with soda-water while in France, the trend of mixing cognac with Seltzer water (Fine à l'eau) was immensely popular in Parisian Cafés from 1920s to 1960s. Notably, Ernest Hemingway mentions Fine à l'eau in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises. Today, this drink perfectly answers a need for a simple yet elegant and refreshing drink.
"Fine": A French word used to refer to cognac (technically to "eau-de vie de vin"), literally meaning "subtle".
"A l'eau": French for "with water".
- 50 ml Martell VSOP
- 100 ml seltzer water (or sparkling mineral water)
Pour Martell VSOP in a highball glass over ice, and complete with sparkling water made with a soda siphon. Stir a little. Garnish with a lemon peel twisted over the drink.
The classic recipe is modified by filling the siphon with a Russian tea infusion instead of still water. Infuse 2 barspoon of Russian tea (loose) into 1/2 liter of cold water during 1 min (it will extract much less tannins than with hot water).
This will add freshness and a more complex feel to this simple drink.