The right way to drink cognac
During the Soviet era, few thought about how to drink
cognac. It was simply poured into a glass and served with everything else that
was on the table. Modern connoisseurs of alcohol have become more selective,
they try not to waste a valuable product that has been aged for so long, adhering
to the rules, which allow the aroma and taste of cognac to be fully enjoyed.
1. Atmosphere. First, you need to develop a respect for the drink in the appropriate ambiance. A living room, restaurant, banquet hall or office is suitable for tasting. Those present should be in business suits and evening dresses. Drinking cognac in the kitchen in your leisure clothes will not create the same impression. This is why the setting is very important.
2. Glass and temperature. A classic wide glass with a narrowed top – a snifter - from the word "sniff", helps to appreciate the whole range of cognac aromas. Recently, it has become fashionable to replace the snifter with a special tulip-shaped tasting glass. It is believed that it better conveys the smell. But this nuance is more interesting to professionals since at home there is no fundamental difference between the tulip-shaped glass and the sniffer.
Proper cognac glasses
Cognac is best served at temperatures between 20 and 25 °C. The glass is filled with a quarter of cognac.
3. The tasting process. First, you leave a fingerprint on the outer wall of the glass then examine it through the cognac. If the fingerprint is clearly visible, the cognac is of high quality. Then you begin to slowly rotate the glass around its axis. Traces called "streams" will begin to appear on the walls, they should be studied more closely. If the "streams" remain for 5 seconds, then you have a 5-8 year cognac. If they remain for 15 seconds then the drink has been aged for about 20 years.
Depending on the bottle age and the amount of added caramel, the colour of cognac can vary, from light yellow to dark brown. Usually the more mature cognac is, the darker it is, but not always. After studying the appearance, you can then move on to assess its smell.
The aroma of cognac consists of three waves. The first wave can be smelled at a distance of 5-10 cm from the edge of the glass and it is easy to catch light vanilla tones here. The second wave of smell begins near the edges where there are fruit and floral notes. A high-quality cognac will smell of linden, violets, roses or apricots. The third wave (directly in the glass) includes smells of aging with complex tones reminiscent of port wine. After enjoying a bouquet of aromas, you can then assess the taste.
Colour range of cognacs
The correct way to drink cognac is in small sips, holding it in your mouth for a few seconds. Thanks to this, the effect called "the peacock's tail" is well captured – cognac slowly spreads over the tongue and throat, leaving a pleasant aftertaste in which there should be no sharp alcohol tones. The more the aftertaste lasts, the better the drink. Also you can warm the glass with the warmth of the palm for 1-2 minutes, and then take a sip. The taste will change a little.
4. Compliments. In a classic serving, it is not common to combine cognac with food. It is served for dessert after the guests have already eaten. The French observe the rule of "three Cs": Cafe, Cognac, Cigare. First, they drink a cup of good coffee, then they enjoy cognac and at the very end they smoke a cigar.
Cognac also pairs well with fruit, hard cheese, seafood and low-fat meat. The main thing is not to put lemons on the table, as they immediately dull the taste.