Minibartender's Guide To Cognac

We know that Cognac has historically been enjoyed by the the "upper crust". Royalty from King Louis XIII to Jay-Z have sipped the spirit from its distinctive short & bulbous glass, but rarely is it found in the everyday home bar & is largely unknown. We've put together a Minibartender's Guide Tn Cognac so you can drink the luxurious liquor with a side of knowledge.

What It Is

Cognac is a kind of Brandy (distilled wine) that must meet the following legal requirements:

  • Must be made in the Cognac region of France from specific grapes.
  • Distilled twice in copper pot stills.
  • Aged at least 2 years in French oak barrels.

Kinds of Cognac

V.S. "very special": Aged at minimum 2 years. Sometimes called ✯✯✯ (three stars)

V.S. "very special": Aged at minimum 2 years. Sometimes called ✯✯✯ (three stars)

V.S.O.P. "very superior old pale": Also called “reserve” Aged at minimum 4 years.

V.S.O.P. "very superior old pale": Also called “reserve” Aged at minimum 4 years.

 XO "extra old": AKA “Napoléon” Aged at minimum 6 years, but in 2016 will be increased to 10 years. 

 XO "extra old": AKA “Napoléon” Aged at minimum 6 years, but in 2016 will be increased to 10 years. 

    Tell your friends

    • Cognac is often blended with to achieve a uniform taste; the age indicated on the bottle always refers to the youngest brandy in the blend
    • Though Cognac is exclusively a French product, the classifications are in English because of the historically heavy British involvement of its trade.
    • There are around 200 cognac producers, but 90% of the U.S. market come from only 4 producers.

    What to make with it

    "The Sidecar"

    • 2.5 oz VSOP Cognac
    • 1 oz Cointreau
    • 1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
    • Rim a martini glass with sugar. Add ice and ingredients to shaker. Shake, Strain and serve with an orange peel.