21h. Time for a rendez-vous at the Orient-Express bar. The decor and glassware are all in Art Deco style. And the cocktails are good enough to enjoy deep conversation with fellow passengers until the end of the night.
Recipe / Cognac
On July 7th, 2021, Orient Express launched its “Steam Dream” collection of travel objects, based on the manners and habits of travelers aboard luxury trains. An ode to the joys of bar-cars and made-to-measure services on board, Orient Express has unveiled a lounge trunk reviving the art of tasting, a glassware set from Casarialto made in Venice in the purest tradition of Murano’s master glassmakers, and a first recipe for a life-changing cocktail.
The Train Bleu bar
A decor by René Prou. Marquetry featuring bouquets of flowers with silver glitter and Lalique glass roses. A solid mahogany bar. Twelve tables and twenty-four bridge chairs. Almost as many lamps with old pink pleated shades with slightly subdued lighting. That was the ambiance in bar car 4160, also nicknamed “le Train Bleu”, in homage to the legendary train, that came out of the workshops of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits in 1922, and that underwent a complete restoration in 2017. It was there, among several Art Deco masterpieces, that politicians, writers, film and music stars and even secret agents came to celebrate the art of travel over a glass of champagne, a glass of listrac – a bourgeois wine from the Médoc region of France, reputed to be powerful and vigorous – or a good cocktail.
A cocktail before bed
Traditionally served dry or on ice, cognac made its appearance on board the train at the end of the 19th century. Depending on the ageing time chosen, the brandy from the great French houses brought out floral, woody or spicy notes. In the 1920s, the Mint Julep was all the rage, a great classic that combined cognac with mint and sugar. This was followed by Sazerac, a recipe born in New Orleans, that combined the spicy roundness of cognac with absinthe, and the Stinger, a remedy nicknamed a “nightcap” by the New Yorkers who sipped it before going to bed. Another star of the time: the Side-Car, developed by Englishman Harry MacElhone. First mixed with gin, the bartender and happy owner of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris created its most popular form by mixing Cointreau, cognac and lemon juice.
Cognac ginger cocktails
Now adored by a new generation of consumers, loved by millennials and associated with moments of celebration and festivity, cognac or “Yak” for those intimate with it, has now found its place in all the cocktail bars in the world. In the bar car of the Train Bleu, the Orient Express bartender has created a recipe for the famous brandy for the summer. It’s a twist on the Moscow Mule, with tonic-water and ginger ale, the famous ginger-flavored soda that enhances the spicy notes of cognac.
40 ml of Hennessy Very Special cognac
100 ml of ginger ale
Pour the Hennessy cognac into a large Casarialto glass. Add ice cubes up to the rim. Pour the ginger ale. Garnish with a lime wedge or slices of fresh ginger.