The action-thriller, starring Gene Hackman, was filmed in New York and in the Marseille region of southern France and was loosely based on the smashing of a heroin smuggling drugs ring. Happily, the cocktail has none of these ingredients, but is a combination of a famous French spirit – cognac – and a well-known Italian almond liqueur – amaretto, a slightly different French Connection.
The French Connection clothing brand was established in 1972, not long after the film was released. A UK based retailer of what could be termed as ‘cheap and chic’ clothing, the brand is also known as FCUK and is still going strong. The French Connection cocktail appeared in the early 70’s, named in recognition of the great 1971 film, although the name of the creator seems to be lost in the mists of time. In essence, it is a simple cocktail, combining equal parts of cognac and amaretto liqueur, poured over ice in an old-fashioned glass and garnished with a twist of orange peel.
However, the taste is far more complex than the simplicity of the ingredients would imply and becomes ever more so, depending on the origin and quality of the two main ingredients. As with most things, the better the quality of the ingredients, the better the resultant combination, be it food or drink. The cognac house of Camus has recently launched a French Connection cocktail kit with their own twist, enabling the buyer to make the ultimate in fine tasting cocktails.
A proper French Connection needs a very aromatic cognac and an amaretto which is not too sweet in order to achieve balance and elegant style. All the different types of cognac produced by Camus are exceptionally aromatic, deriving from their patented distillation method and their suggestion for this cocktail is the Camus Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac.
This warm and satisfying cognac, exudes a hint of salinity, testifying to the island vineyards caressed by Atlantic Ocean breezes, grown in soil rich in seaweed. Aromas of sultanas and vintage orange marmalade add to the lively, dry and subtly oaked palate of this exceptionally fine cognac.
The second ingredient is Amaretto Adriatico from Italy. The flavour of roasted almonds is extracted through a unique distillation process, with almonds harvested from groves near the Adriatic Sea in the southern Italian region of Puglia. A ‘secret’ added ingredient is a pinch of sea salt from salt pans on the Adriatic coast, matching perfectly with the fresh, marine notes of Camus Ile de Ré. Brimming over with almond character on nose and palate, the subtle salinity balances the sweetness of the liqueur.
The Camus French Connection is great as an early evening cocktail, but really comes into its own as an after-dinner cocktail, with the punch of strong spirit, balanced by the sweet liqueur. Using such top-quality ingredients gives tremendously satisfying, complex and intriguing aromatics and lingering flavours on the palate.
This great cocktail, recognised by the International Bartenders Association, can be enjoyed at home by ordering The Camus cocktail kit, which includes a full bottle of each of the ingredients described above, online for €69, plus a small delivery cost. It even includes a tumbler and mixer spoon. All you need is ice!