Not just a drink, Cognac is a region of France known for its high spirits and yummy beverages. The world’s best-known brandy comes from the peaceful countryside surrounding the Charente River one hundred miles north of Bordeaux. Adorned with narrow medieval cobbled streets and elegant Renaissance facades, Cognac is a feast for the eyes as well as the belly. Even the air is permeated by the heavy scent of spirits evaporating from the thousands of oak casks held in storage. So if you are looking for a sophisticated drink and wonderful views to go with it, Cognac is the place for you.
WHERE WE WENT:
- Hennessy Distillery – Hennessy Cognac was established in the late 1700s by Richard Hennessy, an Irish merchant placed in Cognac by the king of France. Renowned throughout the ages, Hennessy is the world’s largest cognac producer. Tours begin with a trip to the Hennessy vineyards and the Visitor’s Center. A boat then takes passengers to the distillery for a tour. Then it’s off to the tasting room for samples. Hennessy XO is the ‘Extra Old’ cognac at six years old. Hennessy VSOP is the ‘Very Superior Old Pale’, which is four years old. Hennessy VS is the ‘Very Special’ two year old cognac. Lunch is served at Hennessy Family Estate. 1 Rue de la Richonne, Cognac 16100
- Le Design Hotel des Francs Garcons — Nestled in the medieval village of Saint Sauvant near the town of Cognac, Le Design Hotel des Francs Garcons is a privately owned hotel with a refined and contemporary decor. Relax with a glass of Tres Vieille Reserve Cognac Brillet at the terrace bar. It has an intense amber color, a fresh and fruity taste and a long, pleasant finish. 1 Rue des Francs-Garcons, 17610 Saint-Sauvant.
Cognac Fun Facts:
- Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is cognac. Like champagne, cognac has to come from a designated area of France by law.
- By law, distillation in Cognac must take place between November and March, which adds to the high price.
- The French novelist Victor Hugo once called cognac the “elixir of the gods”.
- The Cognac region is located on the west-central Atlantic coast of France, just north of Bordeaux, in the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime.
- Virtually all Cognacs are a blend of brandies from different vintages, and frequently, different growing zones.
- Many have credited hip-hop culture as the savior of cognac sales in the USA; after nearly floundering in 1998, sales of cognac increased to approximately $US 1 billion in America in 2003.
Recipe: Thomas The Ambassador’s Gentleman’s Cognac Cocktail
2 parts Hennessy VS
1 part pureed strawberries
Shake all ingredients. Strain and pour into glass, garnish with mint.
How to Toast in France
Please Sir, I Want Some More
Learn more about traveling to Cognac, France here!