Rappers aren’t generally known for their subtlety. Ludacris is no exception, rapping about his frequent conquests, fleet of luxury cars and sizable bank account. But offstage, Luda is surprisingly all about “sophistication and presentation” when it comes to drinking. It’s a philosophy epitomized by his new cognac Conjure ($33), which comes in an understated, classy, cylindrical bottle. The packaging doesn’t even mention “Ludacris.” The back-label refers to him by his real name, Chris Bridges, and calls him a “music, media and business mogul.”
“It’s so much bigger than just urban culture or the urban market,” he says of Conjure. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be rapping about the brand. “I’ve already put it in there my friend,” he admits, including several references on his new album Battle of the Sexes coming out this winter. He also had the artists on his record label Disturbing Tha Peace try the spirit. “They’re the greatest cognac test market in the world,” he says. “They absolutely love it.”
Last January Ludacris went to Cognac, France, to make his signature spirit, and claims to be the first celebrity to actually blend a cognac. “It opened my eyes up to a whole other world,” he says. With the help of cognac house Birkedal Hartmann’s master blender Philippe B. Tiffon, Luda created an extra-smooth liquor that works well in cocktails—one of his favorites being Conjure with a splash of cola. “Usually in one of those fine cognac glasses,” he says.