It seems simple: you pick your favorite cognac, pour it in a glass and sip it leisurely. And masterly! In a real scenario, however, we are not innately equipped with the skills to serve appropriately any drink whatsoever. Furthermore, the cognac has a long and elaborate serving tradition that deserves a lot of attention to details, in order to be enjoyed in all of its delight. So, here’s how to drink it expertly and make the best of your cognac experience.
Where does it come from
Cognac is a type of brandy named after the town located in the Southwestern France, near Bordeaux: Cognac. The process begins with the famous white grapes, which are turned into wine. The wine is then refined and transformed in eau de vie, after which is kept for at least two years in oak barrels. For a drink to be called cognac, it has to be produced in the Cognac area and from the grapes grown in the same region. The rest of the drinks, produced in any other places, bear the name of brandy.
How to pick it
For a novice, it’s hard to understand why a series of letters are listed on the bottles of cognac. But, of course, they all have a meaning. V.S. is short for very special and means that the drink has been matured for at least two years. V.S.O.P. comes from very superior old pale – in this case, the cognac has been aged for at least four years. X.O., extra old, has been matured for at least six years. And hors d’age is the cognac aged for more than six years.
Choose your glass
Usually, cognac is served in tulip-shaped (wider at the bottom, narrower at the top) or round glasses, resembling a balloon. The taste is, surely, the same, regardless of the glass. The difference is linked to the sense of smell – the aroma will be stronger if the cognac is served in tulip shaped glasses.
How to drink it
Typically, the connoisseurs drink it simple, without warming it up – and that’s to better enjoy its aromas. When it’s heated, the alcohol feels stronger, and the flavours are faded. Many prefer their cognac with ice, or diluted with a little bit of water.
With or without ice, it’s time to taste some. First, smell and enjoy the aroma. Slowly spin the glass and smell again. Now it’s time to taste it and savor this special drink. Never alone!