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A Guide to All Things Cognac

Images Courtesy of Total Wine and More

Whether you’re looking to enjoy Cognac as a digestif or mix it into a cocktail, it never hurts to have a bottle on your bar cart.

Here’s a look at what this spirit actually is, how it’s made, the best bottles for every type of drinker and more. 

What Is Cognac?

Cognac is a type of brandy that must be produced in the Cognac region of France. Think of it like Champagne: Champagne is a sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne. Similarly, Cognac is a brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac.

The primary grape used in Cognac is Ugni Blanc. But small amounts of Picpoul (known in France as Folle Blanche), Colombard and a few other varieties are also used.

If you’re familiar with French wine, you probably know that it’s often identified by producers or estates. However, Cognac is recognized by brands—Hennessy, Courvoisier, Rémy Martin and Martell are the four biggest houses.