How Is Cognac Made
Where is Cognac produced?
Cognac is produced in the wine-growing region surrounding the town from which it takes its name, in the French Departements of Charente and Charente-Maritime. For a distilled brandy to bear the name Cognac, its production methods must meet certain requirements set by the Bureau National Interprofessional du Cognac .
Which Cognac House Should You Visit
The biggest companies are within the center: Hennessy, Martel, Remy Martin, later Camus and Meukow. However, they dominated the world markets and these are huge companies which you can basically buy everywhere in the world. While visiting Cognac, I would recommend choosing cognac houses which are smaller, often supplying only local market so you have a unique chance to taste them. Some of the cognac houses carry centuries of tradition and their buildings look like palaces, so its really worth it. For tour reservation, you can contact directly selected cognac houses in advance. If you are last minuter, you can ask in the tourist information for the available slots, but in this case the choice will be limited.
I am also a fan of ethical shopping, so would rather prefer supporting small family owned-businesses and head far from the most touristic spots, to off the beaten path houses. If you are renting a car, you could go around the region and reach small producers. They make spirits just for themselves and give you a bit to try straight from the barrels. Thats a great way of slow travel and interacting with locals, learning about their job or crops. No doubt, they will surely have as good quality cognac as the big companies. Going off roads will be also a great way to see cute villages and wine yards.
Start At The Francois Premiere Square
Start your trip in the center, which is a square of Francois Premiere, a king of France born in Cognac. There is a statue of the king on a horse as he was knows as a King Knight. He was a great patron of arts who invited Italian artists to France such as Leonardo da Vinci who brought Mona Lisa. During his reign France started exploration of foreign lands, which was the beginning of the colonial expansion.
Just next to the square there is a tourist information center, which will provide you with the map and give you idea about the cognac tasting tours. From Francois Premiere Square starts the main promenade through the medieval old town.
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What To Mix With Cognac Top 9 Mixers
Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by Lydia Martin
Cognac is a luxurious spirit that most drinkers often use as an aperitif and digestif. However, amidst the battle of whether cognac is best partnered before or after meals, did you know that cognac is also a great mixer?
If you want to level up your drink, you must know what to mix with cognac to create a satisfying and mouth-watering classic cognac cocktail.
Shop From The Local Market
Every weekend I was running to the local market to get the best bread, fresh cheese from local farmers as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Its a perfect place for getting your groceries and at the same time support local farmers and family owed businesses. I bought a few jars of amazing honey there, to support my sisters bees and always got myself spoiled with some smelly type of cheese. You can purchase some local products as a souvenir, which surely will be the best quality you can get. The market fully functions only on Saturday and Sunday from early morning until noon.
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Strawberry Cognac Iced Tea
This is a summery drink. Strawberries pair excellently with Cognac, you could substitute a fruit like raspberries or even blueberries, depending on whats freshest and most available. Or shift gears and use a flavored teaa peach black tea or similar flavor can bring even more fruity summery notes.
- 2 large fresh strawberries
- 1 oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- Garnish: strawberries
- Garnish: mint sprig
Add the strawberries or your fruit of choice and lemon juice into a shaker and muddle. Add the Cognac and simple syrup, add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with unsweetened iced tea. Garnish with skewered blueberries and strawberries and a mint sprig.
Learn About Francis I King Of France
Cognac honours the memory of its King, who is also called the first renaissance king of France, in the castle, square and park dedicated to him. King Francis I Park is located near the Charente River. According to a legend, the future King of France was born near an oak tree that was given his name. King Francis I statue may be seen in Francis I square.
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Sparkling Wine Or Champagne
The next time youre ready to raise a toast with some bubbly, try adding a little Hennessy to your glass first. Hennessy and champagne or sparkling wine taste wonderful together, as the effervescence cuts through the richness of Hennessy and creates a perfectly balanced cocktail.
A little simple syrup and fresh lemon juice added to the mix is an incredible twist on the typical champagne cocktail. Adding a dash or two of Angostura bitters to Hennessy and champagnes makes a nice drink with the slightest spicy taste.
Royal Chteau De Cognac Or Otard Cognac House
The Royal Château de Cognac dates back to the 10th century when it was a fortress. In the 15th century it became a stately home where Francis the 1st was born. Baron Otard, who founded his Cognac house in the late 18th century, understood that thick walls provide excellent conditions for the aging of cognac. The guided tours of the Royal Château de Cognac are divided in two parts: French History and Baron Otard Cognacs. The tours are available in several languages: French, English, and Russian on request.
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What Is There To Do In Cognac My Year In France 24
When I say that I spent a year in Cognac, people laugh. They ask me where is Cognac? Is that even a place or I spent a year in a bottle? Well Cognac in France is a small town in the southwest part of the country. Its a world capital of the unique brandy also called cognac. In this post I will tell you what is there to do in Cognac and why its a perfect place for a weekend in France.
Don’t Add Water Or Ice
Water tends to make cognac too bland, unless you deal with a cask-strength bottling, which is rare, Desoblin says, and ice just kills it. In general, serve the spirit neat, at room temperature or slightly cooler. The traditional snifter, with its wide, balloon-shaped bottom and narrow top, is the ideal vessel, Desoblin says: It allows for swirling and therefore the liberation of aromatic compounds.
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The Best Cognacs For Cocktails
The most important point here is this: there is no right or wrong Cognac to use in a cocktail. You might hear some say that you should only use a VS, or that an XO is too special to adulterate with other ingredients.
We have one thing to say to thisand its something weve championed for many, many years:
There are no rules about how to drink Cognac.
The only requirement is that you enjoy it. VS, VSOP, and XOs all lend themselves to mixed drinks. The fiery youth of a VS works well in cocktails with strong-tasting ingredients. A VSOP is a wonderful middle-of-the-road choice, and an XO? Well, the aged undertones and even rancio can combine with other flavors for a sublime taste sensation.
Discover more about the different age categories of VS, VSOP, and XO Cognac.
Welcome To The Home Of Cognac
Here, youre in the land of cognac, pineau des Charentes and Charente wines. Rows of vines shape the landscape and offer something different to do. From Place François 1er to the quaysides of the Charente, you can explore Cognac, Ville dArt et dHistoire , by wandering its cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses and 19th century mansions. The towns destiny has been inextricably linked to its world-renowned spirits. Find out exactly how it is made at one of the prestigious cognac merchant halls. Choose from Baron Otard, Camus, Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Martell and Meukow in the city centre, or Courvoisier in Jarnac. In winter, venture into the warmth of the distilleries where passionate winemakers offer visitors the magical opportunity to get up close to the stills.
Winding its way through this beautiful land with its wonderful way of life, the Charente River gives boating enthusiasts the chance to enjoy peaceful cruises on traditional gabarres or travel further afield on houseboats. Manual locks, fisheries and small stone bridges punctuate the journey. Stop off at Châteauneuf-sur-Charente to swim in Bain des Dames the boat-making village of Saint-Simon Bassac, to visit its thousand-year-old abbey and Jarnac, where the former President of France François Mitterrand was born and where youll find a museum dedicated to him.
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The Grapes And Their Regions
The area around the commune of Cognac, France, is divided into six grape-growing regions within the Charente and Charente-Maritime departments. Officially, the main grape varieties used in cognac must be ugni blanc , folle blanche, and colombard there are also less common grapes used in small quantities in production, including jurançon blanc, sémillon and folignan, to name a few. The most expensive fruit comes from Charentes Grande Champagne district and Petite Champagne, which straddles both Charente and Charente-Maritime.
Walk Along The Quai Of The Charente River
For many years the river banks of the Charente river were the prime business center of the city. King François initiated the salt trade in Cognac, making the river an important economic player. Later, all the big Cognac houses would establish their main buildings on the riverfront. Walking on the elegant promenade youll pass by the port of Cognac, the Hennessy house, the Chateau de Cognac and the impressive Tours Saint Jacques, one of the only remainings left from medieval times. The promenade itself is very pleasant and makes for a nice tour on both sides of the Charente river.
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Cognac Cocktails To Add A French Twist To Your Evening
Karen is a wine, cocktails, and food enthusiast. She holds a California Wine Appellation Specialist certificate from the San Francisco wine school and a Bar Smarts mixology certificate and bartends for charitable events.
Learn about our Editorial Policy.
Cocktails with Cognac have a warmth and depth that comes from some of France’s best brandy. Aromatic, flavorful Cognac is a delicious sipper by itself, but it also lends itself well to mixed drinks. In the following Cognac drinks and recipes, the French brandy adds complexity and warmth.
How Best To Drink Cognac
Whether by yourself or with friends, neat or as part as a cocktail, cognac can be enjoyed in many different ways.
COGNACS VERSATILITY THE PERFECT PAIRING FOR ALL OCCASIONS
As an aperitif, cognac is usually consumed neat. Adding a drop of water will reveal more fruity, floral, and spicy aromas, making the tasting experience smoother. Similarly, adding two ice cubes will further dilute the cognac and reduce the alcohol percentage, revealing the same aromas while making the taste more refreshing. The ice cubes should melt slowly, gradually revealing new aromas.
Cognac can even be consumed frozen, which makes the liquid very viscous and gives an experience that is almost velvety in the mouth. This pairs particularly well with seafood, such as oysters, lobster, or sushi.
For a simple, long drink as an aperitif, cognac can be consumed with tonic or ginger ale. In Rémy Martin VSOP, this brings out notes of fresh fruit, and even licorice. This is how the aperitif is typically enjoyed by the locals in Cognac.
NEAT OR ON THE ROCKS
Learn more about the tasting experience when you enjoy cognac neat or on the rocks, and how the glass type also affects it.
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How To Drink Cognac According To A French Bartender
America loves Hennessy we imported 6.4 million cases of it in 2017 but we tend to have trouble understanding Cognac as a category. Should we pair Cognac with meals, like wine? Is it a dessert drink? A cocktail ingredient?
Do we need fancy glassware to properly enjoy Cognac? And a smoking jacket?
Cognac is not a secret society, Germain Canto, a bartender at Bar Louise in Cognac, France, says. He is passionate about the versatility of his local spirit. I want people to be less scared of Cognac and what it represents.
Choosing The Right Cognac Glass
The type of glass affects the tasting experience. To enjoy cognac neat, a tasters glass is suggested, as its long and narrow shape helps capture the richness of the cognac and less the alcohol.
- When adding a drop of water, the tasters glass is also recommended.
- Cognac on ice is served in a large tumbler glass, with room for two ice cubes. This allows it to be held in the hand, aiding the melting process of the ice cubes and making it easier to smell and drink.
- As a simple mixer with ice, use a long drink glass with many ice cubes. The more ice cubes, the colder the liquid remains as the ice melts more slowly.
- The cognac snifter glass is suggested for a traditional tasting moment, after dinner as a digestive, where it is served neat and you hold the glass to warm the cognac by hand. During dinner, drinking cognac neat is recommended.
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What Is There To Do In Cognac
Even though Cognac is surely one of the off the beaten path spots in France, I assure you its worth to stop not just for spirit connoisseurs. First of all Cognac is beautiful medieval town, secondly nature along the Charente River is simply stunning. I worked as a volunteer in African NGO, and after sitting for the whole day in front of computer, my favorite thing to do was to take a bicycle and ride along the river. I even made a video as a souvenir of these times. Its not the best quality but with traditional French music I really adore Les Vieilles Valises .
Royal Chateau Of Cognac
Dating back to the 10th century, the Royal Chateau of Cognac is a great history lesson about Cognac. A combination of Gothic and Renaissance architecture make up the impressive structure. The chateau was the home and birthplace of King Francis I, and in 1795, Baron Otard realized the thick walls were ideal to age his eau-de-vie, the essential ingredient of cognac, and started his cognac house. The chateau offers four distinct tours that are just over an hour in length. Note that the tours are limited to people of legal drinking age.
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What Do You Mix Hennessy With
Hennessy is a world-renowned name in cognac. Popular among cognac lovers, Hennessy has a flavor that its in class and category all of its own. Hennessy Cognac is also considered one of the most versatile spirits because it can be enjoyed on its own in its natural state, but it also has such a smooth, mellow taste that it blends well with a variety of cocktails mixers, including all the mixers weve featured here.
Before indulging in your favorite cognac, discover all the great ways to enjoy a Hennessy cocktail with these perfectly suited mixers.
Walk The Cognac Old Town
The medieval part of the town has narrow cobbled streets, with attractive houses from the 15th to 18th centuries, and many brandy maturing warehouses along the riverside. A few of the older houses are half-timbered, while most are in the local white stone, often covered by black velvet. Most buildings have large windows, an indication of the wealth of the traders living in this area at that period of time.
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Great Drinks To Mix With Cognac
Cognac is the perfect spirit with which to experiment. From the simple addition of a block of ice through to the complexity of a multi-ingredient cocktail, theres many common and not-so-common additions that make for a wonderful taste experience.
Some examples include:
- Ginger ale: The spicy taste of ginger marries delightfully with Cognac. Use a highball glass, a shot of your favorite Cognac, and a generous portion of ginger ale. We particularly like it with Fever Tree Ginger Ale or, for an exotic twist, use the Fever Tree Spiced Orange Ginger Ale, which marries sweet clementine and cinnamon.
- Coca Cola: The time-enduring taste of Coke combined with a powerful eau-de-vie creates a flavor infusion that millions enjoy. For us, we mix our chosen Cognac with a splash of the fizzy stuff, ice, and a slice of lemon.
- Iced tea: It might not sound the most obvious choice, but Cognac and iced tea is an incredible twist on a drink thats a favorite with millions around the world. Mix 1.5 oz of VS or VSOP Hennessy Cognac with 0.5 oz of Grand Marnier, 2 oz of unsweetened cold tea, 1 oz of simple syrup, and 0.5 oz of fresh lemon juice. Shake it up with some ice in a cocktail shaker, garnish with a twist of orange, and voilayour drink is ready.