Let’s face it: at least for the immediate future, we will continue spending a lot of time at home. As a result, we have all been restocking our home bars and revisiting some bottles that might have been neglected in favor of nights at the bar. Here on the Thirsty homefront, we have found ourselves increasingly reaching for cognac, specifically Rémy Martin XO, to wind down after long days.
As people are dedicating more time to understanding spirits for their at-home enjoyment, we explore why we think cognac is the perfect spirit to consider reaching for to enjoy your next drink.
We have long been fans of cognac for its versatility to pair with so many different foods, mix in a myriad of cocktails and enjoy deliciously on its own. In case you need a quick summary: Cognac is a brandy made exclusively of grapes grown in the Cognac region of France; as such, the use of the name Cognac is protected under French law.
It is AOC, Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, and there are three main requirements to satisfy: First, it must be made from specific grape varieties, such as Ugni Blanc. Second, it must be twice distilled in copper pot stills. And third, it must be aged in oak barrels for at least two years.
Given the “specialness” of cognac, too many people think of it as out of their price range or reserved to toast to an occasion. But it truly is the ideal spirit for any occasion (including staying at home).
When asked about the spirit, Devin Kennedy, Head Bartender of Pouring Ribbons shares, “Cognac has all the best things built in already. From the long aging, depth of both flavor and complexity and overall ‘deliciousness.’ Although many mistakenly consider Cognac to be mostly a seasonal winter spirit, I advocate that it should thoroughly be enjoyed throughout the warmer months as well.”
Adam Robinson, Cognac Educator and Bartender at Deadshot in Portland, adds, “There is a common misconception that Cognac is reserved for special occasions and that you need to have a reason to dust off that old bottle that’s been in the back of the liquor cabinet for years,” explains Robinson. “That could not be further from the truth given the versatility of a spirit like Cognac, whether it’s in a cocktail or neat or on the rocks, I think everyone can find a way to enjoy Cognac that suits their tastes.” Although Cognac has been experiencing year over year growth in the U.S., there is still is much room for growth in awareness, education and offerings, which is super exciting for us.”
Robinson goes on to share, “The days where Cognac is only reserved for special occasions is far behind us, the current market has expanded so much in comparison to what was available 10 or 20 years ago that we have many different styles of Cognac available to us. Whether you prefer a spirit with fruity and floral flavors or something a bit richer with notes of baking spice, nuts and chocolate, there is a Cognac to match your tastes. Paired with an afternoon meat and cheese board or alongside a sweet dessert, the versatility of Cognac is really unmatched so there is no reason not to reach for that bottle you having sitting in the back of the liquor cabinet collecting dust.”
For all aficionados of other barrel-aged spirits like whiskey or aged tequila, cognac should certainly be added to their repertoire. And for whiskey fans, your next highball should be concocted with Cognac. Kellie Thorn, Bartender/Beverage Director Hugh Acheson Restaurants & BNIC Certified Cognac Educator, encourages, “Cognac shouldn’t be intimidating or reserved for special occasions or parlor cigar hours. It’s a versatile spirit with a full spectrum of flavors and aromas that make it an ideal mixing spirit in an array of cocktails as well as more simple applications such as a refreshing Highball.” Kennedy agrees with the simple approach for summer, suggesting, “Whip up a sidecar or keep it simple with cognac spiked lemonade or your favorite sparkling beverage.“
And clearly other experts in the category fully agree that cognac should be the base for your next highball. “You should reach for cognac as the new base for your summer highballs.” ms. franky marshall, Modern Bartender and Cognac Educator, enlightens, “Try it with good quality tonic, ginger ale, or other flavored carbonated beverages. Add a slice of citrus, and maybe some herbs if you’re feeling fancy.”
Another Cognac Educator and General Manager of Drink Boston, Ezra Star agrees as she chimes in, “Cognac is immensely versatile. It can be used in string cocktails like an old fashioned or in something light and refreshing. I also love just drinking it with ginger ale on a hot day.”
Sounds delightfully easy enough for us!
If you are looking to get into Cognac, we suggest getting familiar with the house of Rémy Martin. Their portfolio includes a VSOP, Rémy Martin XO, 1738 Accord Royal and Rémy Martin Tercet
Stay tuned as we explore more about Cognac and for more on all things Rémy Martin and get some of their products delivered to your door, click HERE
About Rémy Martin
Since 1724, the House of Rémy Martin is the embodiment of Cognac Fine Champagne. The fruit of the prestigious regions of Grande and Petite Champagne, its cognacs hold outstanding ageing potential. A profound love of the land, a continuity of family ownership and a passionate commitment to excellence has sustained Rémy Martin for nearly three centuries. As a result of its masterful production and generations of tradition in Cognac, the House of Rémy Martin today produces amongst others Fine Champagne Cognacs, including Rémy Martin® XO, Rémy Martin® Tercet, Rémy Martin 1738® Accord Royal and Rémy Martin® V.S.O.P.
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