Wearing a lush robe to sip cognac is optional. But it's highly encouraged. It just puts you in the right mindset for enjoying the velvety spirit and most famous variety of brandy. People don't raise their voices while holding snifters, but if you find yourself in a very civilized argument about brandy vs cognac, here are the key differences. Cognac is a spirit created from distilled wine, making it a form of brandy. But, like champagne, cognac must be made in the area around the town of Cognac, France. Once it's distilled twice in copper pot stills, it's transferred to oak barrels for aging.
Check the Classification:
Cognac is classified into a few general categories. When shopping for cognac brands, check the labels for the following:
VS (Very Special): aged for at least two years.
VSOP (Very Special Old Pale): aged for at least four years.
XO (Extra Old): aged six years or more.
How to Drink It:
Aged cognacs are best sipped neat, from a snifter. Younger cognacs work great for mixing, in cocktails including the Sidecar, Between the Sheets and even the Mint Julep.