If you are an avid drinker or a wine connoisseur, this is the perfect place to refresh your knowledge about the often-misunderstood liquor, Cognac. And if you are uninitiated, we are here to help you with a Beginner’s Guide to Cognac.
What is Cognac? Find out from the Experts!
Cognac is a light brown or amber-coloured aged French Spirit - specially made in the Cognac region in France. Although it was consumed solely before, with the advancements of society, now we have a variety of Cognac cocktails.
Although Cognac is a member of the Brandy family, it cannot be manufactured anywhere in the world.
So, what makes Cognac so special?
The weather, together with the soil of that region, the exotic grapefruits, and a couple of hundred years of knowledge, is what makes Cognac, Cognac!
Smoother than any whiskey and finer than any Vodka, the production of Cognac dates back to the 16th Century, and it was then consumed for special occasions!
France’s history ‘ages well’ when it comes to the distillation and manufacturing of exotic liquors. As for Cognac, it was initially a wine in its early days and has been through many ups and downs, including WWII.
The AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) supervises the production of Cognac in France and is distilled in the departments of Charente-Maritime and Charente.
Cognac got its name after a commune in France and is known to mature better when kept on the wood.
What is Cognac Made From?
The fascination with the consumption of liquor has been predominant since the dawn of human civilization. The continuous thirst to invent something new, be it food, drinks, or technology, made humans develop themselves to a greater extent. Who would have thought that a simple fruit, when smashed and distilled and aged in big wooden barrels, would create something so magnificent?
Cognac is made in the state of Charante from a special group of grapefruit known as Ugni Blanch. The production of Cognac depends on the 6,000 growers who are known to supply grapes as well as the eau-de-vie.
Now let’s talk about history!
When the Dutch arrived in France, they failed to keep their wine drinkable. As a result, they re-invented the wheel - so to speak! The Dutch started distilling and preserving their own beverage, which was then known as the brandwijn or burnt wine.
The early shipment of Cognac to the Eastern ports of Europe can be traced back to the 17th century, and it was a superior drink whose production was strictly regulated.
Although both drinks originated in France, there is still a debate among drinkers to prove which is better. Well, truth be told, Armagnac and Cognac, although a type of brandy, differs in taste, colour, smell, and alcohol content.
Armagnac has an alcohol content of 40-60%, whereas Cognac has 40-50% (there are few exceptions…).
Armagnac was produced almost 200 years before the production of Cognac; hence could not make it to the limelight like Cognac.
Armagnac is distilled once in column stills, whereas Cognac is distilled twice in pot stills.
Since Armagnac is distilled for a short period of time in comparison to Cognac, the colour is vibrant, and the flavour is brighter and mouthful. Cognac has a comparatively thinner texture, while Armagnac is viscous and thicker.
Cognac is only considered real and authentic if produced in the departments of Charente, while the one produced exclusively in the departments of Gers, is known as Armagnac.
Both Armagnac and Cognac can be consumed as after-dinner beverages. But the continuous tussle over superiority has been the talk among many drinkers since time immemorial.
How to serve Cognac
Cognac is known for its rich flavour. Mostly it is enjoyed without mixers or even ice. To indulge yourself in the rich and smooth taste, take a glass and pour a small amount of Cognac. Examine the colour and feel the aroma and take small slow sips to enjoy the drink.
However, there are innumerable other ways to enjoy the drink hence we are here with an exclusiveguide to drinking Cognac.
Serve in a cocktail - The French Connection cocktail is known as one of the best Cognac cocktails to take a sip from. The bold flavour of this cocktail can be enjoyed in an old fashion glass. Fill the glass with Cognac and Amaretto Liquor. Let it get mixed and enjoy! Cognac cocktails are also known as Cognac soft drink (normal).
Cognac as an after-drinking beverage is enjoyed by most with a fine cigar. Take a glass pour some fine Cognac and warm it in your hands. Light a cigar and smoke it in between sips of Cognac. Remember to choose a cigar that matches the flavours of Cognac for a better taste.
Characteristic of Cognac
Cogan is made from grapes. It is distilled and then aged before it is sold in the market. Veterans consider Cognac to be quite mellow and affordable. It can be a perfect cocktail and at the same time, it can be a sophisticated solo drink as well.
Now, to identify the best one, you have to know the Cognac buying guide which helps you to understand the smell, taste, and colour of this exotic drink.
- Colour - Cognac is earthy in colour that is reddish brown
- Taste - The taste of Cognac usually depends on how long it has been aged; however, Cognacs are usually sweet, fruity, spicy, and bitter to taste, depending on the flavour
- Smell - Made from grapes, Cognac is fruity to smell. These change from peaches and plums to prunes, figs, and dried apricots at times too.
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