Drink + Dine

Cognac 101: Your Spirit Guide

October 8, 2015
Written by: Yasha Wallin

Because of it’s rich flavor and impressive history, Hennessy has been liberally enjoyed for over two centuries by everyone from royalty to rappers, foodies to Frenchmen. In fact, this year Hennessy celebrates their 250 year anniversary and at the same time The Redbury celebrates it’s fifth. So now was as good a time as any to learn about this coveted cognac. Here, we spoke to Frank E. Larrazaleta, Hennessy’s West Region Brand Ambassador, about how to enjoy this buzzed about booze.

After you read the below, test your knowledge at the upcoming Cocktail Study at The Library where you can enjoy tastings, tips, and more from the leading industry experts.

We’re new to the world of cognac and Hennessy. As a novice, How would you we drink it?

There are so many ways!

First off, NO SNIFTER! That’s right, NO SNIFTER. Go with a rocks glass, it will open the aroma and reveal the entire aromatic profile. A snifter can hide a lot of the notes, by trapping them in the glass.

ROCKS, serve cognac on the rocks, it reveals a whole new world of aroma, and you can enjoy it through dinner or at happy hour.

COCKTAILS: Sidecars, Sazeracs, French 75’s, Negroni’s, Moscow Mules, these can all be made with cognac for superior results.

Hennessy has been around for 250 years. How has it evolved over time?

Tremendously. Hennessy is a leader in the cognac world. We have developed an array of new concepts for experiencing cognac, redefining how cognac should be enjoyed, what glassware it should be enjoyed in and even WHO can or should be enjoying Hennessy Cognac.

As a company, Hennessy has truly embraced the worldly, millennial, baby boomers, multicultural audiences, night scenesters, and of course royalty. The way we see it, there isn’t a person alive that can’t enjoy Prestige Range Aged Cognac.

Lastly, Hennessy has brought the art of craft mixology back to cognac. Cognac was originally used in many craft cocktails. Today cognac has been replaced with bourbons and whiskeys; we are striving to re-embrace audiences without endless craft mixology cocktails.

What foods pair well with Hennessy?

  • Tuna Sashimi with COLD VSOP
  • Steak with VSOP Privilege or X.O or Paradis or Richard
  • Peanut Brittle Dessert with Paradis Imperial
  • Chocolate Shavings  with X.O or Paradis or Richard
  • Orange or Plum fruit with X.O or Paradis or Richard

What is something about cognac or Hennessy that would surprise us?

Cognac was one of the only legal spirits to be sold during Prohibition. It was re-issued as “Medicine“ and this continued distribution.