Recipes

​Cognac: The "stuffy" drink that’s having a makeover

cognac horse neck
The Cognac Horse's Neck puts a French spin on the two-ingredient cooler. (Photo: /The National Interprofessional Cognac Bureau)

What springs to mind when you picture a typical Cognac drinker? A bunch of suits sitting by a fire, puffing on fat cigars – no women in sight?

Well, you’d better get with the program, because Cognac’s the new trend when it comes to mixing drinks. It’s slowly becoming a favorite around the world with the finest of movers and shakers. So if you want to be among the first to show off a new wave, do it now! And, we hasten to add, Cognac is obviously enjoyed by both men AND women. Still feeling doubtful? Well, if we told you that the likes of Jay-Z, Ludacris, Rihanna, and 50 Cent are huge fans of the French classic, not to mention it being the drink of choice in many Asian countries, would we start to convince you?

And that’s one of the crucial reasons that my brother and I created Cognac-Expert.com - the go-to online platform specializing in all things Cognac. We (Sophie & Max) adore the iconic French drink, and we’re perfectly situated to do so from our family estate in the heart of the Cognac countryside.

We love experimenting with Cognac cocktails. It’s world of its own. And if you’re as sociable as us, and love hosting friends, family, and colleagues, you’ll get the Cognac bug as well. From simple mix drinks to elaborate and expensive, in the right cocktail, Cognac is the perfect option.

Of course, choosing the right Cognac is key. Many producers have created blends that are designed solely to be used in this manner. For instance, Remy Martin’s VSOP Mature Cask. The upmarket producer even created a limited edition gift set complete with a cocktail kit.

We recommend using a good quality VSOP Cognac in a cocktail. And we definitely advocate being adventurous with your choice of producer. You get a whole lot for your money if you pick the smaller Cognac houses. For example, we love the award winning Frapin VSOP Grande Champagne and the Louis Royer VSOP.

Here’s our take on 5 cocktails – from the classic to the innovative, there’s a cocktail for all occasions.


The Summit

Created in 2008 for the International Cognac Summit (an event run by the Bureau National Interprofessional du Cognac – the official Cognac organization representing Cognac growers and the identity). Cognac experts and mixologists collaborate to create the ultimate Cognac cocktail.

  • 4 slices of ginger
  • 1 slice of lime
  • 4cl VSOP Cognac
  • 6Cl lemonade
  • A fine peel of cucumber
  • Ice cubes

Place the lime, ginger, 2cl of Cognac, and ice in a glass. Add the ice and stir. Add the remaining Cognac and the lemonade, and finally add the cucumber peel.


The Cognac Horse’s Neck

Despite the name, it’s wonderfully refreshing!

  • 2cl VSOP Cognac
  • Ginger ale
  • A little lemon peel
  • Ice cubes

Place the ice cubes, Cognac, and lemon peel in a glass. Pour in the ginger ale – and voila! It’s ready to serve.


The Side Car

the sidecar (Photo: The National Interprofessional Cognac Bureau)

The classic Cognac cocktail from Harry’s bar in Paris–a historical fact that’s open to question, and is debated by those in the know. But from wherever it may hail, it’s delicious.

  • 8cl VSOP Cognac
  • 1cl Cointreau
  • 2cl lemon juice
  • Lemon peel
  • Crushed ice

Place all the ingredients except the lemon peel in a cocktail shaker – and shake. Pour into a glass, decorate with the lemon peel, and serve.


The Volga

A vodka based cocktail, with a Cognac edge…

  • 3cl vodka
  • 1cl VSOP Cognac
  • 2 glass tomato juice
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Celery
  • A pinch of salt.
  • Ice cubes

Place the Cognac, vodka, and tomato juice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Pour over the ice cubes into a glass. Add a pinch of salt and decorate with the celery stick.


The Champagne Cocktail

Cognac and Champagne – a match made in heaven.

  • 2cl VSOP Cognac
  • 8cl Champagne
  • 1 cube sugar
  • Few drops of Angostura
  • 1 slice of orange

Dip the sugar cube in the Angostura and place in a champagne glass. Add the Cognac, then add the Champagne. Decorate with the orange slice.


Sophie von Olfers and her brother Max founded the Cognac-Expert.com blog almost ten years ago. Their family has been based in Cognac for three generations.

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