Our Best Cognac Cocktails

March 5, 2021

Back in December 2020, we included a bottle of cognac in our Christmas box. Château de Montifaud VS Fine Petite Champagne Cognac is an incredibly smooth drinker, even for those who don’t usually like the taste of brandy or cognac.

Cognac is a brandy that comes from region of Cognac in the south-west of France, just north of Bordeaux. Within Cognac, is a smaller zone called ‘Petite Champagne’, which is where some of Château de Montifaud’s 125 hectares of vineyards are located.

The Vallet family have owned Château de Montifaud for six generations, with the first vineyards first planted in 1837 by Augustin. Since 2000, Laurent has been at the helm of the estate, joining his father, Michel, and grandfather, Louis. Château de Montifaud produce a range of cognacs, and there’s one tradition that the Vallet family follow; whenever a son is born to the head of the estate, a portion of that year’s cognac is set aside and can only be sold by future generations.

The ‘VS’ in Château de Montifaud VS Fine Petite Champagne Cognac stands for ‘Very Special’, meaning that it has been aged for a minimum two years. The brandy in this bottle is five years old, so it’s still quite young. This gives the cognac a freshness and youthfulness which is reflected in the pear, apple and linden flower aromas on the nose and palate.

Cognac is distilled from wine (hence why we love it so much here at Wine List), and the grape variety used here is ugni blanc. Wine List subscribers might recognise ugni blanc as being the French name for the trebbiano grape in our December bottle. Ugni blanc is one of the most commonly-planted white grape varieties in France, which is light and crispy. The grapes are fermented into wine, before being distilled into a spirit and then aged in oak barrel. 

This cognac has a lovely amber colour, floral aromas and a nutty finish. We love drinking this cognac either neat or with ice (“on the rocks”), but we’re also keen fans of a good cocktail, so read on for three cocktails to try using this cognac as a base… We recommend making these over the course of the weekend, starting with a fun Friday evening tipple and ending with a relaxed Sunday beverage. 

A Classic Sidecar

This classic cocktail has a beautiful orange colour to it, which our cognac lends itself to perfectly. Don’t forget to sugar-rim your glass, as this really works to balance out the sourness in the cocktail itself. Add a twist of lemon to your glass for garnish, too, if you want to make it really special. 

Serves 1

Ingredients: 
50ml Château de Montifaud VS Fine Petite Champagne Cognac
30ml Cointreau
20ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice
15ml chilled water 

  • Sugar-rim a coupe glass using a lemon
  • Add all all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice
  • Shake, strain and serve in a chilled coupe glass

Corpse Reviver #1 (Savoy Recipe)

This cocktail first appeared in bartender Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930, where he wrote that it’s a drink “To be taken before 11am, or whenever steam and energy are needed.” In other words, the Corpse Reviver #1 is a the perfect hair-of-the-dog.

Serves 1

Ingredients: 
45ml Château de Montifaud VS Fine Petite Champagne Cognac
22.5ml Château du Breuil Fine Calvados
22.5ml Punt E Mes Vermouth
15ml chilled water 

  • Stir all ingredients with ice
  • Strain and serve in a chilled martini glass
  • Garnish with an orange peel twist

Call Me Old-Fashioned

This play on the traditional old fashioned was coined in 2001 by mixologist Simon Difford. Instead of whisky, use cognac. As with many cocktails, it’s origins aren’t certain, but it’s generally attributed to Louisville, Kentucky in the late-19th century.

Serves 1

Ingredients: 
60ml Château de Montifaud VS Fine Petite Champagne Cognac
7.5ml Monin Pure Cane Sugar Syrup
A dash of Angostura Bitters

  • Stir all ingredients with ice
  • Strain and serve over ice in a chilled tumbler
  • Garnish with an orange peel twist

Let us know if you what you think of these cognac-based cocktails, or if you've got any other cocktail suggestions...

Buy a bottle of Château de Montifaud VS Fine Petite Champagne Cognac (£30)
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