Glossary or Reference Section

Cognac serving and degustation

Half a century ago, it was customary to drink cognac any time during a day in France. They used to dilute cognac with pure or seltzer (soda) water. Only the best, aged cognacs were offered at the end of a meal for its worth-while completion. Subsequently, the custom to use cognac as an aperitif was forgotten, mainly thanks to the efforts of large houses which strived for the enhancement of prestige of their products, and for this reason they were strongly against its dilution with anything. And the niche which earlier had been occupied by cognac aperitif was taken up by whiskey.

However, over the last decade the situation at the consumer market has changed, and the same houses, striving for the increase in their sales volumes, take persistent steps to revive the lost tradition. Cognac served with soda water, tonic or ice, is indeed a good aperitif. Its combination with champagne or vermouth may also be interesting. Certainly, only young, inexpensive products, such as VS, or at least VSOP should be served this way. The one who pours Pepsi or Coca Cola into a glass with ХО or even a more expensive elite drink demonstrates not only one’s disrespect to the producer who created the cognac, but also one’s ignorance, inability to deservedly appreciate the quality of the offered miracle.

After all, cognac is chiefly served at the end of a meal. And this is quite understandable: most researchers agree about the fact that cognac facilitates digestion. Otherwise, such drinks would not be called digestives. But don’t forget a French proverb: “A seed to a seed, a grape berry to a grape berry”. Really, in order to avoid undesirable consequences, it is recommended not to drink beverages produced from different raw materials when enjoying a meal. Therefore, cognac is served as a digestive in cases when wine was served for dinner or supper. And vice versa: if cognac is chosen as an aperitif, further the meal should be accompanied with wine.

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