Learn about Cognac | Total Wine & More


Hi. I’m Kerry, communications
manager at Total Wine & More. I’d like to introduce you to
one of the great brown spirits of the world, cognac. Cognacs are brandies made
using white grape types from specific areas as
determined by French laws. These grapes become
white wines, which are distilled into what’s called
eau de vie, or water of life. Cognac is doubled to still using
a slow, painstaking process, which results in a flavorful
and aromatic spirit. Then the clear eau de vie
is aged in French oak casks for many years,
during which time it takes on its famous amber
color and incredible aroma. The youngest eau
de vie in a cognac must have spent a minimum
of two years in barrels to be called VS or very special. VSOP, or very
special old pale, has to spend at least four
years resting in barrels. XO, or extra old,
has to slowly slumber in barrel for at least six years
if made prior to 2016 and 10 years if made after. The S cognacs are
fantastic as a base for many classic cocktails. One of our favorites originated
from prohibition times. It’s called the Sidecar. A sidecar is a delightful
sweet-tart combination of only three ingredients. Now there is some
disagreement among mixologists about their proportions
of the sidecar. We’ve even seen equal parts
of all three ingredients. There’s room for
experimentation, but to get you started, first, add
to a cocktail shaker 3/4 of an ounce triple-sec, 3/4
of an ounce fresh lemon juice, and 1 and 1/2 ounce cognac. Shake the three ingredients
with cracked ice, then straight into a chilled
cocktail glass that has its rim rubbed with lemon juice
and dipped in sugar. Take it easy on these though. They’re dangerously delicious. Cheers.

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