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Last week at the enigmatic Electric Lady Studios, we joined spirit and music leaders for an unforgettable experience—The D’USSÉ Re-Mixer. In the lively company of Grammy award-winning music producer 9th Wonder and National Bacardi Portfolio Ambassador Chris Hopkins, we witnessed the craft of mixing cocktails while mixing music within Jimi Hendrix’s original recording studio.
Before our first lesson, 9th Wonder went into detail about his collection of 30,000 records from around the world, what his favorite album is right now (“Malibu” by Anderson Paak), and what he learned while teaching at Harvard University. “Repetition is the difference. One thing about repetition is that you can always take something and re-mix it and make it new. We’ve been doing it forever—it’s called literary licensing,” he said. “So, today, we’ll be doing that with drinks and beats.” From there, we partook in a beat-making lesson in the studio, using samples and the song Encore by Jay-Z.
After we learned how to program tracks in audio software, and plug them into a beat-making machine, we exited the studio to meet with Hopkins and get a taste of something new. Instead of using specific spirits for classic cocktails, such as tequila for a margarita or gin for a French 75, we took a try at using D’USSÉ VSOP as the base instead. Hopkins began by introducing us with some lesser-known information about the brand.
“D’USSÉ was created only very recently. It’s only about four years old. It’s not a cognac that’s been around for 200 years or more, but it does have a lot of prominence. The distillery in which it’s created has been making cognac under the name Otard for over 200 years,” said Hopkins. “[The distillery] has a very unique aging process along the river that has two aging houses. One is a little higher up with a drier, hotter temperature, so therefore evaporation is a bit different, and the alcohol rate increases—you get a lot of hot, spicy, and woodsier notes, and the eaux-de-vie that’s aging a little lower down is softer. The evaporation rate is a little slower, so you get these rounder fruit flavors,” he continued.
As guests mixed their own versions of drinks like mai tais, mojitos, and mint juleps, they mixed and matched flavors from an open bar of fresh fruit, spices, and additional ingredients while making a 20 second video at the brand’s on-camera bar station.
It was a tough goodbye, but we made ourselves leave Ray Charles’ piano and Lady Gaga’s vocal booth behind—but only after a final D’USSÉ nightcap.