Served Cognac products for sale online in Zambia

High-quality brandy, strictly speaking that distilled in Cognac in western France
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Served Cognac

High-quality brandy, strictly speaking that distilled in Cognac in western France

A specific type of brandy produced from white grapes. It is typically between 8.5% and 9.5% alcohol by volume. Cognac can be enjoyed in so many ways – Neat, on ice or as part of a cocktail.

For a simple long drink as an aperitif, the cognac can be consumed with tonic or ginger ale. This brings out notes of fresh fruit, even liquorice, in a Rémy Martin VSOP. This is how cognac is normally enjoyed by the locals in the Cognac area as an apéritif.

Cognac labeled VS must be a minimum of 2 years, VSOP has a 4-year minimum, and Napoleon and XO have a six year minimum though this is being raised to 10 years for XO in 2016 (most XO's on the market are already older than ten years and won't have to change).

Cognacs may be single vintage bottlings (all eau de vie comes from a single year) and labeled on the bottle. They may not say an average or minimum age on the bottle (example: "ten years old") as they can with scotch whisky.

“Water tends to make cognac too bland, unless you deal with a cask-strength bottling, which is rare,” Desoblin says, “and ice just kills it.” In general, serve the spirit neat, at room temperature or slightly cooler.

As an aperitif, cognac is usually consumed neat. Adding a drop of water will reveal more fruity, floral, and spicy aromas, making the tasting experience smoother.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes a standard measurement of cognac refers to a 1.5-ounce serving (or a one-shot serving) of distilled spirits that contains 40 percent ABV. Each one-shot glass of cognac or brandy packs 100 calories.

Cognac is made from wine, not grain, so you want to be able to swirl and sniff if you're sipping it straight. A tulip or white wine glass will do the trick; in a pinch, so will a pint glass. “What's most important is you enjoy it,”

Cognac should be drunk at room temperature. Do not heat Cognac as it destroys the flavours as the alcohol evaporates.

Cognac's versatility – the perfect pairing for all kinds of occasions. During the aperitif, the cognac is usually consumed neat, but adding a drop of water reveals more fruity, floral and spicy aromas and makes the tasting experience smoother.

Cognac is a very versatile drink. It may be drunk neat, over ice or diluted with a little water. It can be mixed with quality mixers, such as soda or traditional lemonade to make a long drink, or used to make a cocktail. For a range of Martell cocktails to try, see our cocktails section

Cognac is a variety of brandy named after the commune of Cognac, France. It is produced in the surrounding wine-growing region in the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime.