Maison Martell is renowned throughout the world for the finesse and elegance of its cognacs.
From the subtle and elegant Martell VSOP, to the powerful and intense Martell XO, each cognac has its own distinct personality, shaped by many factors including blend and age.
This is part of what is so special about cognac.
There is one factor, however, that is guaranteed to elevate any cognac tasting experience, and which is entirely in your hands – quite literally.
That is to choose the right glass for your cognac.
What glass you drink cognac from will depend on how you enjoy it.
If drinking cognac neat, the best cognac glass will transform its aromas.
Broadly speaking, there are two main options to consider. The tulip cognac glass, named for how it looks, is the specialist’s choice.
A cognac expert, and particularly a cellar master, will tend to use tulip glasses, as these best capture the essence of the cognac.
The shape of this cognac glass is narrower at the top than the bottom.
This concentrates and circulates the aromas, making it easier to appreciate them.
Traditionally, cognac would be consumed in a balloon glass, which remains a popular choice today.
A 25-centiliter balloon glass will still let you fully appreciate the cognac’s aromatic intensity. Pay attention to how you hold the glass, as it can quickly warm the cognac, heightening the sensation of alcohol.
The ideal room temperature for consuming cognac neat is around 18-20°C. Of course, if you do not have access to a dedicated cognac glass, a standard wine glass is a decent substitute.
Of course, for those who prefer to drink cognac chilled, it’s best to serve on ice – or ‘cognac on the rocks’.
Here a tumbler glass, also known as a rocks glass, is what’s called for.
It’s important to place the ice cube or cubes into the glass first, then pour in the cognac. This will lessen the shock effect, and minimise any splash.
The best glass for cognac mixed drinks, or any cocktails made with cognac, depends on the drink itself.
For example, consider a rocks glass or tumbler for a cognac old fashioned, whereas a champagne coupe is ideal for a cognac and champagne cocktail.
A cognac mint julep, meanwhile, is traditionally served in a timbale glass.
And one last thing to keep in mind: whether you choose a tulip-shaped glass or a balloon, or any other vessel for that fact, make sure it is made of clear glass.
After all, drinking cognac is not only about the delightful taste and aromas, but also about savouring its colour and roundness with the eye.
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