How to drink cognac?

Discussion in 'Geek Grog & Homebrew' started by Shnorque, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. Shnorque

    Shnorque Member

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    More specifically Hennessy VSOP?

    I got a bottle about a week back, once you learn how to sip it properly it is pretty tasty straight up at room temp. It also goes pretty well over ice, smoother but less taste.

    However, my mother says she used to drink cognac, when she was about my age, back in the Netherlands, mixed with something, but cant remember what the mixxer was? Any ideas?

    Im not sure I could bring myself to mix anything that costs 70$ a bottle (and it was only the cheap hennessy ¬_¬), but I am open to suggestions. :)
     
  2. Jazper

    Jazper Member

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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2007
  3. GodzHitman

    GodzHitman Member

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    Cognac should be drunk straight, or on the rocks.:thumbup:

    There's a brand called Alize, thats premixed with passionfruit and other flavours. I think it takes away from the flavour of cognac. :thumbdn:
     
  4. bluedreamer

    bluedreamer Member

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    Rounded glass, glass is supposed to be warmish - which the link above suggests you do by holding in your hand for 8-10 minutes but the easier way is to rinse the outside of your glass with warm/hot water for a couple of seconds just so the glass is comfortably warm (don't get it hot, you just want it a bit under body temperature, or around the warmth of your hand, unless you've got cold hands...). Slowly do the whole "pour, swirl, breathe it in and sip" thing. Then the next question is, how can you add to the experience? Some good rich chocolate works. Some say cigars but I'm not a smoker myself.

    It's also not uncommon to mix the stuff -- apparantly the french do it all the time, but obviously if price is an issue you want to make sure it's gonna taste good. Personally, it's the only way I'd drink the cheap VS stuff - which is ordinary at best on it's own. With Cointreau and orange peel works. Or with orange juice. I've tried a lemon lime bitter with a bit of Hennessy VS thrown into the mix and that worked - planning to try it again soon to make sure the drinks I had prior weren't affecting my judgement.
     
  5. PsychoSmiley

    PsychoSmiley Member

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    Oh god, I'd never do such a horrible thing and mix it... that's what cheap bourbon and the likes are for.
    Personally I just drink it straight from a brandy balloon... quite nice. I'm working my way through a Remy Martin VSOP and I have a Martell VSOP waiting behind it. I'll fork out for a nice XO one day.

    Oh yes, I have cigars, but they don't get smoked unless the occasion deserves it.
     
  6. Everyman

    Everyman Member

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    Cognac? Best drunk with a plum in the mouth, from what I understand ;)
     
  7. OP
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    Shnorque

    Shnorque Member

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    Hmm, well a few good ideas. Im not sure I will try them, as I do enjoy drinking it straight or over ice.

    I think I really need to invest in some decent glasses more than anything else.

    EDIT: It does go well with orange juice. Although I much prefer drinking it straight :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2007
  8. PostModern

    PostModern Angry Brewer

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    My dad was a bit of a cognac nut back when he travelled OS often and had tons of duty free opportunities, so I've drunk a bit of Hennessey VSOP and shared one or two bottles of Courvoisier XO with the old man. VSOP and XO cognacs should definitely best drunk at blood temperature, sniffed from a balloon and savoured. Any other way wastes the subtlety of what is a pretty complex old spirit, imho. We never had VS in the house, so I don't know about mixing with them.

    EDIT: just remembered a Xmas trick my Dad used to do. After dinner, we'd light up some Cuban cigars, and puff away while warming some VSOP in the balloons. Dad would take a puff of cigar smoke into his mouth, and let the smoke waft into the balloon. He'd leave it to meld with the cognac aromas, then inhale the combination of smoke and brandy fumes thru his nose. I tried it couple of times, but I don't like smoke up my nose, so I didn't get into it :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2007
  9. toby101

    toby101 Member

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    ouch..... on the rocks :thumbdn: you're ruining it doing that
     
  10. BuzzPuppy

    BuzzPuppy Member

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    There's also different styles as well... For example, Hennessy has the XO (more masculine, leathery character that goes with cigars and quite full in the mouth) and the Hennessy Paradis (more feminine, floral characters that may not be as confronting).

    I used to warm the glass with steam from my espresso machine and then quickly dried the glass. Pour the cognac in it, let it swirl and release the aromas and enjoy. It's meant to be full-on... I've been drinking and enjoying it for 25 years (I'm 30... gotta love Dad) and each producer has their own style.

    Of course, nothing wrong with VSOP (Very Special Old Pale), or lower down the scale with VS (Very Special) if you enjoy with ice or even a mixer. Without delving into wine-snob territory, I've always believed you drink what you enjoy. My mates cringe when I get into bogan-mode with Bundy 'n' Cokes :D
     
  11. SLi_dog

    SLi_dog Member

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    I was always told to put it in a brandy baloon and swirl it around in the palm of your hand to gradually warm it through.
     
  12. BuzzPuppy

    BuzzPuppy Member

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    heheh that's very traditional, to be sure... mind you, this is also from a hospitality perspective when I'm serving these. The glass is not boiling uncomfortable hot, mind you. Still, good stuff :D
     
  13. lexx_fan

    lexx_fan Member

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    On ice - never.

    With a fine cigar - always.

    The balloon glass / hand warming thing is a crock - unless you a drinking it in an uncomfortably cold environment, room temperature releases all the aroma you'll get out of it.
     
  14. spankyofoz

    spankyofoz Member

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    You may possibly be right, but half the experience is the complex procedure. Taking the time and care to savour the drink makes it much better. You relax, have time to take in all the sensations and enjoy the artform that is a well crafted alcohol.

    It's very zen. Why do you think the Japanese have elaborate tea ceremonies, or the French did the thing with the slotted spoon and absinthe? You are transforming a simple thing into something special.
     
  15. chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

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    Right, something for old farts. :sick:
     
  16. PostModern

    PostModern Angry Brewer

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    I've noticed a non-subtle difference between blood-warm and room temp, even when drinking cognac unseasonably in Summer. Warming the cognac allows different volatiles to evaporate. The flavour is definitely different, "hotter", too.
     
  17. Andres

    Andres Motor Admin

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    In a baloon, straight, in the highest bar in the world, on the 87th floor in the Jin Mao Building in Shanghai.

    It was a great way to make the night view a little more special...
     
  18. lexx_fan

    lexx_fan Member

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    Being a member of the Cigar Society of Australia and New Zealand, I often attend dinners sponsored in part by Hennesey. Straight from the mouth of their representative was the fact that the baloon glass business originated from tastings in the cellars of vineyards in Europe, which as you can imagine are not the warmest environments.

    At room temperature in Australia, it doesn't make a lick of difference.

    Edit: In fact, the cognac tastings sponsored by Hennesey in Australia never use a balloon glass.
     
  19. pugsley

    pugsley Member

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    Room temp ranges from around 18 to 25 degrees depending on your comfort levels and where you live. Where as your body temp is just over 30, if you have good circulation to your hands i can see it making a difference.
     
  20. OP
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    Shnorque

    Shnorque Member

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    Well. I was drinking this on friday night.

    Unfortunately I didnt have access to brandy glasses, so I was drinking it from a wide(ish) wine glass. Out of interest I let the second glass warm in my hand for longer than the first, it deifnately tasted different, smoother is possibley the best word I could give it.

    Now all thats left is to get a set of decent glasses (went looking this weekend and could ony find one set) and a bottle of XO :)
     

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