Martell Cognac 'Vanguard Series' Cocktails

Founded in 1715, Martell Cognac is celebrating 300 years of tradition and excellence this year. To celebrate, Martell Cognac recently kicked off a multi-city tour with the iconic rapper Questlove from The Roots called the Vanguard Series. The events and cocktails in each city have been spectacular!


We caught up with Jonathan Peterson, National Mixologist for Martell Cognac, to learn more about the Vanguard Series and the inspiration behind the cocktails.

WDFT: Thank you for joining us today, Jonathan! Tell our audience a little bit about yourself and how you became involved with the Martell Vanguard Series.

Jon P: I appreciate Will Drink For Travel having me! I’ve worked in the spirits industry for a little over fifteen years in various capacities. Currently, I do brand consulting on brand development and marketing to help brands reach consumers. In addition, I will represent brands as their ambassador or mixologist.

Initially, when I was approached about the Vanguard Series it was from a consulting aspect, assisting with the recruitment of bartenders in the cities that would be hosting the events. Due to scheduling conflicts, it became challenging to lock bartenders in to participate. My colleague Karim Lateef (Martell Ambassador) and I made the recommendation for me to serve as National Mixologist to keep the cocktails for Vanguard Series consistent.

WDFT: What exactly is the Vanguard Series and which cities did you tour?

Jon P: The Vanguard Series is for individuals with refined taste. The concept is a fusion of music, art, food and cocktails that represent each designated city. We are showcasing how communities are impacted and culture is influenced through the fusion of those categories. Each event has all of those elements represented through the local Martell Councils and the signature cocktails that I created. The cities that we toured were St. Louis, Detroit, Atlanta and Chicago.

WDFT: Sounds exactly like the type of events we enjoy! Speaking of cocktails, tell us about the signature cocktails you created for each city.

Jon P: Definitely! We serve three cocktails per event: the signature cocktail, the Avant-Garde, and a traditional Sidecar. All of the signature cocktails are adaptations of a classic cocktail made with Martell VSOP. I wanted each cocktail to represent the city it was being featured in.

The St. Louis cocktail was named the Cardinal Pride in honor of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Detroit cocktail was named the Betsy Ross, who sewed the first American Flag, symbolic of the home of American Muscle cars. Since Atlanta is nestled in the Peach State, we named the cocktail the Georgia Old Fashioned. The Windy City cocktail was for, of course, Chicago. 

WDFT: How can we find out more about the Vanguard Series?

Jon P: To learn more about the Vanguard Series visit our website and follow our social media outlets through the @MartellCognacUS handle. Thanks again,  Will Drink For Travel! I had a great time and I hope everyone enjoys the cocktail recipes and picks up a bottle of Martell Cognac for the holidays. Cheers!

WDFT: Thank you, Jonathan! We will continue to follow the Vanguard Series and stay tuned for what you have coming next!

The Vanguard Series signature cocktail recipes can be found below. Once you try them let us know what you think. If you make them at home, be sure to tag @WillDrinkForTravel, @MartellCognacUS and @AliasJonP. As always, sip responsibly!

Martell Vanguard Series Cocktails

1. St. Louis: Cardinal Pride


  • 2 oz Martell VSOP
  • .75 oz Lime Juice
  • .25 oz Orgeat Syrup
  • .25 oz Grenadine
  • 2 dashes Orange Bitters


Shake and then strain into a coupe glass with an orange peel garnish.

2. Detroit: Betsy Ross 

  • 2 oz. Martell VSOP
  • 3/4 oz. Ruby Port
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters


Stir with ice and then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.  

3. Atlanta: Georgia Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz. Martell VSOP
  • 1/2 oz. Peach Marmalade Syrup (This will have to be made prior to the event)
  • 1 Dash Peach Bitters
  • Dash Angostura Bitters


Stir with ice and then strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with a Candied Peach.

Ingredients for Peach Marmalade Syrup

  • 2 Cups Peach Marmalade
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4-5 Cups of Water

4. Chicago: Windy City

  • 2 oz. Martell VSOP
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Cardamom Simple Syrup (This can be purchased for the event) 
  • 1/4 oz. Benedictine
  • 2 Dashes 1821 Bitters (Can find online) 


Shake with ice and double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a Lemon peel. 

- Chezia Cager