DRINK: Conjure Cognac

Rappers and liquor companies go together like…well…rappers shilling everything else. Not satisfied with name-dropping other brands in their songs without reaping the benefits, hip-hop artists finally smartened up and decided to cash in on their marketing power some time ago. From Jay-Z’s purchase of Armadale Vodka (which, was seemingly much less successful than his current relationship with Armand de Brignac wineries) to Diddy’s uber-popular Ciroc, many of your favorite artists are building Nucky Thompson-esque empires from the spirits business.

Atlanta emcee and actor Ludacris became the first to capitalize on the popularity of cognac within the hip-hop community with his brand Conjure. I had the opportunity to sample Conjure this past weekend while on a ski trip in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. After about a dozen tumbles down the intermediate slopes, I decided a painkiller was in order and poured a hefty glass of the amber liquid. The verdict? Not bad. Conjure is a bit more peppery on the tongue than the Hennessey, Remy Martin and Courvosier I’m used to, and also has a rich, almost leathery, aftertaste. While not as enjoyable neat as the big three, the cognac’s bold flavors will likely hold up well to mixed drinks, allowing bartenders, professional and amateur alike, to get creative.