oak barrel of cognac
The perfect pair to a wide range of occasions

cognac is a versatile spirit, a perfect pair to a wide range of occasions. Whether by yourself or in company; before, during or after dinner; or mixed into cocktails, the act of enjoying cognac can take form in many different ways.

Best Way To Drink Cognac

Oak of cognac left to age

During the aperitif, the cognac is usually consumed neat, but adding a drop of water reveals more fruity, floral and spicy aromas and makes the tasting experience smoother. Similarly, adding two ice cubes will dilute the cognac and reduce the alcohol percentage, which reveals these aromas while making the taste more refreshing. The goal is that the ice cubes melt slowly, revealing new aromas at each step.

Cognac can even be consumed frozen, which makes the liquid very viscous (it does not freeze due to the high alcohol level), and gives an experience that is almost velvety in the mouth. This pairs particularly well with sea food: oysters, lobster, or sushi.

For a simple long drink as an aperitif, the cognac can be consumed with tonic or ginger ale. This brings out notes of fresh fruit, even liquorice, in a Rémy Martin VSOP. This is how cognac is normally enjoyed by the locals in the Cognac area as an apéritif.

Choosing The Right Cognac Glass

Oak of cognac left to age

The type of glass affects the tasting experience. To enjoy cognac neat, a ‘taster’s 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 taster’s 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.

Pairing Cognac With Food

Oak of cognac left to age

Roquefort and aged parmesan cheeses, with their spicy or full-bodied flavors, pair very well with cognac. The fatty flavors of a Roquefort especially, while the aged parmesan has an aromatic strength that matches the cognac. Chocolates also make a good pairing. A pure, black chocolate, with its fatty and bitter flavors, combines well with the floral, spicy notes found in a cognac. Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal pairs best with chocolate. Rémy Martin VSOP pairs best with fatty cheese, dried apricot, and liquorice. Rémy Martin XO pairs best with figs and candied fruits. Rémy Martin CLUB has more spicy notes and matches well with ginger, which reveals notes of pepper and a hint of lemon.

Cognac Based Cocktails

Cognac cocktails are a growing trend in cocktail bars worldwide. Cognac has a rich aromatic profile that is very fruity and floral, yet spicy, which lets you play with a variety of options on the ‘cocktail wheel’, revealing more of one particular aroma or another. It can easily replace other base ingredients in classic cocktails such as the Manhattan, Tom Collins, a mint julep or even a Mojito. Cocktails such as the Sidecar, Sazerac – dry cocktails – are best enjoyed after dinner. An Old Fashioned with XO is rich and full of flavor, and can be a perfect pairing with a dessert.

manufacture of a oak cognac barrel

Even infusions, such as with ginger, vanilla, or jasmine, can be made for a more extensive mixology experience. To change things up, the Hot Toddy – a warm cocktail with cognac, simple syrup, lemon and cinnamon, with hot water – is the perfect accompaniment on a cold winter afternoon. To find out more about ways of making cocktails with Rémy Martin for every occasion, visit our Cocktails section.

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