Glass with cognac

Cognac is a type of brandy with a rich texture and flavor. Here's the proper way to drink this sophisticated spirit so you can fully enjoy its nuances.

A tulip-shaped glass is ideal for cognac, but a spherical glass is fine, too.

Pour a very small sample of cognac—less than an ounce—into the glass.

Hold the body of the glass in your palm for about 10 minutes to warm the cognac slowly and naturally without evaporating the aroma.

Look at the surface of the cognac in the glass, paying special attention to its color. The color can tell you the cognac's age: youngest to oldest cognac ranges from lighter colors all the way through yellow, amber, gold and red.

Position your nose at the edge of the glass and gently inhale; this aroma is known as the montant. The smell of cognac is usually floral or fruity and can have notes of violet, apricot, nut or even quince.

Move the glass away from your nose, gently swirl the glass, and smell the cognac again.

Finally, bring the glass to your lips, and take a small sip. Let the cognac pass over your palate and enjoy the complex texture of your drink. Younger cognacs hit sharply, almost impulsively, but older varieties are gentler. Drink slowly to appreciate it.


You can mix your own drink with other grades of cognac:

  • VS stands for very special. A minimum of three years old.
  • VSOP stands for very special old pale. A minimum of four-and-a-half years old.
  • XO stands for extra old. A minimum of six years old.