cognac splashing into a glass with black background

How to Drink Cognac Like a Pro

Cognac has quietly become one of the more popular drinks in the Western world, and for good reason. The liquor originates from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France, where it has grown into a drink with several varieties of flavor and no shortage of well-known brands.

For those looking to try their hand at Cognac, there are several ways to approach the complex beverage.

To give people a handle on how to enjoy the delicious liquor, we will extensively cover how to drink cognac. Whether you are an old hand with the spicy, fruity liquor or are a relative newbie trying to break into a new facet of adult flavor, this article will be a welcome guide.

What Is Cognac?

Cognac is a specific genre of brandy made from double-distilling wine through copper pot stills. While the wine origin gives people the impression of a sweeter, even fruitier drink, Cognac has more variety than its process suggests. While some have a fiery bite well-loved by a specific palette, others can be sweeter towards the taste buds.

Younger Cognacs will not have the same complexity and depth of flavor, making them more suitable for recipes or cocktails. Contrarily, older Cognac can bring forth a lot of quiet infusions that would otherwise go unnoticed if combined with other ingredients.

Cognac has a beautiful auburn hue that almost resembles a reddened whiskey. The drink’s color can differ depending on how many years it has been waiting around, with older vintages having flickers of gold underneath. The drink is best enjoyed in glasses that can bring the rich smell of the drink to the top, giving it an aura of elegance.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Cognac?

Unlike the wine it originates from, Cognac has a smooth potency that can sneak up on a person. So, while It's made from wine, it's a lot more potent. The average alcohol by volume (ABV) will be 40% at the least, though some can get as high as 60%. Due to the standards of Cognac, people will not be able to find lighter than 80-proof with authentic Cognac.

How to Serve Cognac?

For younger Cognac, no one will give you a hard time incorporating it into any of the delicious recipes for the liquor. For aged Cognac, however, it is best enjoyed without the accompaniment of ingredients or ice. Quality Cognac has a lot to offer on its own, particularly at room temperature, so try to enjoy it neat in a balloon, tulip, or wine glass.

Folks with a notable sweet tooth after a drink or two can enjoy an excellent pairing of Cognac and chocolate, with dark chocolates complimenting the spirit particularly well. Cheese and wine go together beautifully; its heavier descendant, Cognac, is no exception. Finally, ham or pork with a sweet glaze can be an exceptional addition to the complex liquor.

What Is a Serving Size of Cognac?

A serving size of cognac will be a single shot or 1.5 ounces. For those who enjoy a bit more from their bottle before returning for a second serving, there are no rules against adding more buzz to your balloon glass. However, be wary that Cognac is a smooth beverage and can surprise those who are unfamiliar with its ABV.

Can You Drink Cognac Straight?

We are not here to limit how people can enjoy their favorite liquor brand, though it is usually recommended to enjoy Cognac neat at room temperature or even hand-warmed. As discussed previously, this is more important for Cognac that has been aged longer, which will have subtle hints of deeper flavors that cocktails could overpower.

What Are the Best Mixers for Cognac?

Grab your favorite adolescent Cognac and try to infuse flavors that help work with the laid-back taste of the liquor. This could be as simple as ginger ale, though many swear by amaretto, lemon juice, or even maple syrup for the more adventurous. Typically, anything with a fruity, nutty, or sweeter flavor will work well with the liquor.

What Other Liquors Go Well With Cognac?

Cognac has two notable liquors that it can mix well with depending on the brand and recipes that a person has on hand. The first is whiskey, which not only looks similar to Cognac but offers a complementary taste. The second is tequila, which may seem out of left field, though a couple of cocktails mix the two into wonderfully complex, well-loved mixed drinks.

What Are the Best Cognac Recipes?

Cognac has a laundry list of possibilities for cocktails and mixed drinks that are available with the versatile liquor. Instead of giving every cocktail out there (you would be reading all day!), we will provide two staple drinks that have been synonymous with Cognac.


  • Place cubed ice into a cocktail shaker until it is full.
  • Pour .75 ounces of lemon juice and Cointreau into the shaker.
  • Pour 1.5 ounces of a young Cognac.
  • Shake the mixture while counting to ten.
  • Pour the drink through a strainer into a glass.
  • Garnish with a lime (optional).

French Connection:

  • Pour 1.5 ounces of cognac into a glass of your choice.
  • Pour 1 ounce of Amaretto liquor into the glass.
  • Throw a small handful of ice into the glass.
  • Stir and enjoy!

These two are relatively simple recipes, though don’t be afraid to try some of the more adventurous cocktails out there, as Cognac has plenty!

How to Prevent a Cognac Hangover?

Darker liquors are dangerous, as they are beloved by most and hated by morning. To avoid feeling like your head is stuck in concrete, try to begin the night with a hearty meal that can keep you from a regrettable liquid diet for your evening. Once the drinking has concluded for the night, try to end the evening with a few electrolytes and an ambitiously large glass of water.

Last Call for Cognac

full bottle of cognac with three filled glasses on barrel

Cognac is a fantastic liquor synonymous with class and reserved, enjoyable evenings. The drink has no shortage of cocktails, though older vintages should be enjoyed without the accompaniment of anything besides the glass itself.

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