An Afternoon with Ararat Brandy at 10e Restaurant
When I first started drinking it was hard for me to stray from a basic vodka and cran. The cocktail world was so vast and overwhelming I hardly knew where to begin. Happily, things have changed and now I know my way around a liquor cabinet pretty well. I can mix up a drink with the best of them yet I’m always looking to gain more knowledge. Take brandy, for instance. It’s a bit of a mystery to me. At least it was until I was invited to spend the afternoon with Ararat Brandy at 10e Restaurant in Downtown LA.
Ararat is an Armenian brandy that has been produced since 1887. Named after the famed mountain peak the company is as hardy as its namesake surviving various bouts of hardship including long-term Soviet occupation. Through it all the company has endured and is now better than ever offering a wide range of brandies for every palette.
We started the afternoon with an Old Fashioned featuring the 5 Star Ararat Brandy and garnished with a baby walnut instead of the standard cherry. Taking the Old Fashioned back to it’s brandy roots the drink was sweet and smoky.
Ararat Brandy is produced entirely in Armenia from harvest to bottling. Armenia is home to some of the oldest vines in the world and some have been in continuous production for thousands of years. The grape that is used for Ararat Brandy can only be found in the country creating a truly unique flavor.
The different varieties of Ararat Brandy revolve around the aging process. The 5 start brandy has been aged 5 years, the 10 star 10 year and the 20 star 20 years. We sampled each of these over the afternoon and there is a true difference detected in each one. While the 5 star has a hint of bitterness and is most often used in mixed drinks the 10 year is much smoother and the 20 year is so smooth it’s like velvet.
I’ve often associated brandy with dessert but thanks to Ararat and 10e Restaurant I learned that it can be used to accompany a meal, also. And what a meal! I LOVE Armenian food and 10e offers some of the best around.
We were treated to a buffet which included hummus, Mediterranean chopped salad, chicken shawarma and beef kabab among other delights. The food was fantastic and paired with the brandy it was an indulgent meal to say the least!
An afternoon with Ararat Brandy opened a whole new world to me. Now, I have another cocktail essential and I see many more brandy Old Fashioned’s in my future.