two glasses of hennessy with ice by wooden barrel

How to Drink Hennessy Like a Pro

When thinking about cognac, Hennessy is often the first brand that comes to mind. It needs no introduction as one of the most popular cognac brands in the world. With over 350,000 barrels stored at any given time, Hennessy makes up 85% of the world’s cognac, with other cognac houses Rémy Martin, Martell, and Courvoisier.

Hennessy is a cognac at the end of the day, and you should drink it as such, but the brand has numerous varieties you can enjoy in different ways. Our article will go over how to drink Hennessy, along with tips on serving it, the best mixers, and how you can prevent hangovers from drinking it.

What Is Hennessy?

Hennessy is a cognac, which is a type of brandy. It has an extensive collection and offers a wide variety of choices to any cognac enthusiast’s liking, from VS (Very Special) to XO (Extra Old).

What makes Hennessy one of the best cognac brands is it’s among the four big cognac houses. Founded in 1765, it’s a cognac brand you can’t go wrong with. It has very popular and palatable spirits enjoyed by millions worldwide.

Hennessy has everything you’d expect to have in a premium spirit. You’ll find younger cognacs more suitable for cocktails and older blends you should appreciate before sipping.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Hennessy?

Like other cognacs, the alcohol content in Hennessy is usually 40% alcohol by volume. However, the alcohol content may vary, depending on the product and its age. While Hennessy VS typically has an ABV of 40%, Hennessy VSOP and XO may have a slightly higher ABV of around 43%.

Yet, not all Hennessy VSOP and XO products contain this high alcohol by volume. Most Hennessy products are in the 40% range.

How to Serve Hennessy

There isn’t a universal way to serve Hennessy. As with any other cognac, you can enjoy it in many ways. You can enjoy Hennessy neat or with ice, water, or various mixers. Ultimately, once you can drink cognac, you'll know how to drink Hennessy.

However, just like whiskey, most people enjoy older Hennessy, such as Hennessy XO, neat. For these Hennessy cognacs, you should serve them at room temperature, preferably in a tulip glass, to get the aroma and flavor of the Hennessy to its fullest.

You can serve cognac with chocolate, particularly dark chocolate. The bitter flavor complements the floral, spicy aroma of Hennessy exceptionally well. You can also pair Hennessy with cheese or smoked meats. While cheese may sound like not a great pairing, note that cognac is, after all, basically a more potent descendant of wine.

What Is a Serving Size of Hennessy?

Like other cognacs and strong spirits, the standard serving size of Hennessy is one and a half ounces. However, anywhere between one and two ounces is appropriate. Those who enjoy older cognacs often prefer drinking in smaller quantities in small sips to extend the pleasure you get from drinking Hennessy. 

Can You Drink Hennessy Straight?

Absolutely! It is often considered the best way to enjoy it, though there’s nothing wrong with mixing Hennessy with ginger ale or lemon soda.

When drinking Hennessy straight, take a sniff from the opening of the glass first as if you’re drinking wine. Cognac experts also recommend taking a second nose dive to get the finer aromas before taking a sip.

What Are the Best Mixers for Hennessy?

Hennessy cognac pairs well with sweet and citrusy flavors. Ginger ale, lime juice, orange juice, iced tea, and cranberry juice are regarded as the best mixers for Hennessy. It also mixes well with tonic if you’re looking for an aperitif to stimulate your appetite. 

Those enjoying the taste but looking to make the drink more palatable with a mixer can add a few drops of water into the glass to bring out the hidden spicy and floral aromas. This will not only make the drink more palatable but also make your overall drinking experience better.

What Other Liquors Go Well With Hennessy?

While most enjoy Hennessy neat or with a few drops of water or an ice cube, you can make a sophisticated drink by mixing Hennessy with orange liqueur or aged tequila. Whiskey is another interesting spirit that can complement the rich aroma of Hennessy, though it isn’t as popular as the other two.

What Are the Best Hennessy Recipes?

There are endless possibilities for Hennessy cocktails. You can use various Hennessy products to create tasty cocktails. Below, you’ll find a few popular Hennessy cocktails you can try.

Paloma Cocktail

  1. Add two ounces of Hennessy, two ounces of soda water, ¾ ounce of grapefruit juice, and a quarter ounce of agave syrup into a Collins glass with a few ice cubes.
  2. Stir everything to combine.
  3. Optionally, garnish with grapefruit peel or wedge.

The Big Apple

  1. Add one and a half ounces of Hennessy into a shaker with ice, one ounce of apple juice, half an ounce of maple syrup, and half an ounce of lime juice. 
  2. Shake until chilled.
  3. Pour everything into a rocks glass with ice.

Manhattan Cocktail

  1. Mix 1.75 ounces of Hennessy, half an ounce of sweet vermouth, and two dashes of bitters in a mixing glass with six to eight ice cubes.
  2. Stir for about ten seconds.
  3. Strain everything into a chilled champagne coupe glass.
  4. Optionally, garnish with a lemon or orange twist.

How to Prevent a Hennessy Hangover?

Dark liquors like Hennessy can give you a terrible hangover due to the presence of congeners. Start drinking on a full stomach to avoid hating Hennessy the next day. Drink water between drinks and hydrate your body before calling it a night. 

As you enjoy Hennessy, consider taking a few bites of food pairings, like cheese, ham, or chocolate, to slow down the absorption of alcohol.

Enjoying Hennessy

glass of hennessy with empty glass in front of wooden barrel

Hennessy has a wide selection of cognacs in its collection. You’ll come across the bestsellers the most, but with many products to choose from, you can test different bottles to find an appropriate cognac to your liking.

Regardless of which Hennessy you fancy, drinking dark liquors without knowing your limits can lead to a terrible hangover. Don’t forget to hydrate your body after the last call to ensure you don’t wake up regretting the night.

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