stories | January 09, 2021
The Best Glasses for Drinking Cognac
With the right glass, you will fully experience cognac’s intense fruit, florals or even spicy and toasted notes
THE BEST GLASSES FOR DRINKING COGNAC
One of the more gratifying aspects of drinking Rémy Martin Cognac Fine Champagne is that it can be enjoyed in so many ways: neat, on ice, in cocktails and even frozen.
But that variety of experience only expands when you bring glasses into the equation.
In fact, as cognac is an intensely aromatic drink, the vessel from which you drink from has a huge effect on its delicate balance of flavours. With the right glass, you will fully experience cognac’s intense fruit, florals or even spicy and toasted notes, along with a heady punch of alcohol, depending of course on which cognac from the Rémy Martin collection you choose. But with the wrong glass, you might feel a limited amount of aromas and miss out on the full aromatic richness that only a Rémy Martin Cognac Fine Champagne can bring, according to Lauranie Nonotte, Rémy Martin’s Head of Education & Experiences. “Cognac is a brown spirit, so it’s quite a strong spirit, 40% at the minimum,” she says. “So if you don’t have the right glass shape, you might only smell the alcohol rather than the aromas. Whereas if the glass is narrow and not very open, you might only sense the aromas without the alcohol sensation.”
Of course, as with any drink, there’s a lot about cognac glasses that depends on personal preference. For example, according to Lauranie, though the snifter glass tends to be on the wide side for an optimal taste sensation, there are other reasons why it remains a popular choice. And although an International Organization for Standardization glass might offer the clearest perception of a cognac’s different aromas, there are other ways to enjoy Rémy Martin that are more, let’s say, dramatic. With that in mind, and Lauranie’s help, we’ve compiled the below list of glasses that make great partners for Rémy Martin. Each one will offer a different, but thoroughly enjoyable drinking experience, whether you’re a staunch traditionalist or looking to dive deep into the intense aromas that make up Cognac Fine Champagne.
“if you don’t have the right glass shape, you might only smell the alcohol rather than the aromas. Whereas if the glass is narrow and not very open, you might only sense the aromas without the alcohol sensation.”
The ISO Tasting Glass
This short-stemmed, narrow glass may not be the most theatrical vessel for your cognac, but don’t be fooled by its modest appearance.
“If you are looking to experience the many nuances of Rémy Martin Cognac Fine Champagne, this is the professional choice”
Since the 1970s, when it was first developed by the International Standards Organisation, it has been the go-to glass for wine industry professionals looking for clarity and accuracy in their tastings. The reason it works so well for tasting is its scientifically designed shape: the relatively high sides allow for ample swirling, which helps to release aromas, while the narrow opening helps to capture and focus them.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, consider that this is the official glass used by Rémy Martin’s Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau when tasting the thousands of eaux-de-vie that make up the maison’s cognac blends, as well as for sampling the complex aromas of the final product. If you are looking to experience the many nuances of Rémy Martin Cognac Fine Champagne, this is the professional choice.
The Classic Snifter
The appeal of the snifter, says Lauranie Nonotte, is not so much that it provides the fullest flavour experience, when it comes to cognac, but that it connects us to history.
So the snifter is by far rather a lovable anachronism than our preferred recommendation for our Cognacs. Its distinctive shape, short-stemmed with a wide, round bowl, is perfectly shaped to cradle in the hand, which, in times of yore, was probably an important part of the drinking experience. “Fifty years ago and earlier,” says Lauranie, “you would get the cognac from the cask in the cellars, and it could be that it would be quite cold. I think it created a ritual, to hold the glass in your hand or warm it with a candle, to temper the cognac.”
Of course, with today’s more regulated, and temperature controlled cellars, says Lauranie, you shouldn’t need to warm your cognac at all. In fact, she says “if you warm it too much, you will only get the alcohol sensation out of the glass, not the aromas.” In this regard, the snifter isn’t the contemporary choice for cognac, but is highlighted for its traditional touch and feel. After all, as Lauranie points out: “The sensation in the hand is quite pleasant really.”
“the snifter isn’t the contemporary choice for cognac, but is highlighted for its traditional touch and feel.”
The Burgundy Glass
“its ability to tease out sweet fragrances makes it an equally heady companion for a neat serving of Rémy Martin Tercet”
The wines of France’s Burgundy region are among the most coveted and celebrated in the world, and rightly so. Here, a cool climate and limestone soils produce perfumed pinot noirs of great subtlety, which are best enjoyed in a slightly squat, wide-bottomed glass that helps to circulate their fruity aromas. Though this kind of glass may have been designed for this specific purpose, its ability to tease out sweet fragrances makes it an equally heady companion for a neat serving of Rémy Martin Tercet, which, in a burgundy glass, will sing its notes of apricot and apple all the more strongly.
The burgundy glass made by much raved-about Austrian glassmaker Zalto, is not only one of the best examples out there, but also boasts an incredibly fine, hand-blown construction that is particularly suited to a textured cognac like Rémy Martin Tercet, thanks to its almost invisible lip-feel. “We don’t filter our wine, which maintains the richness and texture,” says Lauranie. And to enjoy this texture to its fullest, she says, “The thinner the glass is, the better.”
“We don’t filter our wine, which maintains the richness and texture. And to enjoy this texture to its fullest, the thinner the glass is, the better.”
Another way to drink Rémy Martin VSOP is on ice, or even frozen. In the latter instance, says Lauranie, the cognac “doesn’t solidify, but it changes the texture a little. It becomes very oily, so the aromas take a little longer to develop.”
“Its wide opening and surface area will allow the cognac to gradually warm and open up”
When drinking at these, lower temperatures, then, a tumbler is a good option. Its wide opening and surface area will allow the cognac to gradually warm and open up, but its thick bottom will prevent that from happening too quickly through heat from your hands.
There is, of course, a panoply of tumblers out there to choose from, designed primarily for Whisky drinkers, but the “Borough” design from the prestigious (and hearteningly – sustainable) family-owned glassmaker LSA makes a suitably elegant partner for Rémy Martin Cognac Fine Champagne.