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WHICH IS THE BEST COGNAC FOR COCKTAILS AND WHICH IS THE BEST TO ENJOY ON ITS OWN?
Ideally, you should choose your cognac according to how you intend to drink it. VS and VSOP are perfect for long drinks* or cocktails, while older cognacs are best enjoyed on their own.
There is a particular way of drinking each type of cognac. Or rather, there is a particular way of enjoying each age of cognac. It would indeed be a pity to use a very old cognac in a cocktail, as the complex flavours of an Extra Old cognac (such as Martell XO or Martell Cordon Bleu) deserve to be tasted neat or with a drop of water.
Cocktails and long drinks*
A long drink is one in which the cognac is diluted with soda, orange juice or sparkling water. Cocktails, on the other hand, can include a vast number of ingredients. It is therefore advisable to use a VS or VSOP for this type of drink. Note that, for some cocktails, the kind of cognac required is indicated in the recipe.
Neat or with a drop of water
Older cognacs are much the best for this. Just pour a few centilitres of old cognac into a cognac glass – either balloon-shaped or tulip-shaped – and add a drop of water (less than one quarter of the XO volume) and the tasting can begin. The long years spent in oak casks give the cognac a subtle, complex blend of flavours which will delight expert and novice alike.
*Drink that contains alcohol but has been diluted with a non-alcoholic mixer.