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Happy National Cognac Day!

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National Cognac Day June, 4, 2017

Happy National Cognac Day! Here are some frequently asked questions about Cognac.

What is Cognac?

Cognac is a distilled grape spirit. Technically, it is a type of brandy that is produced in the Charente Region of Southwest France.

How is Cognac made?

The process for making Cognac is strictly regulated by the The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) In order to be called Cognac, specific distillation and aging methods must be followed in the production of Cognac. The spirit must be distilled from grapes grown in Cognac region. The strict regulation of the production of Cognac from the BNIC and the skill and dedication of its producers ensures that Cognac remains the premier brandy in the world. There is an apt old cliche: All Cognacs are brandy but not all brandies are Cognac.

Where is Cognac made?

According to the BNIC, Cognac must be made from grapes from one of the six “growth areas” in Cognac: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, and Bois Ordinaires. The distillation and aging of cognac must also take place in the region. Here is a map of the areas designated by the BNIC for the production of Cognac.

Map of Cognac France

When was Cognac first made?

In the mid-16th century, brandy began to be produced in the Charente region. The first known reference to “Cognac” meaning brandy appeared in a sales contract in 1617.

Who makes Cognac?

Cognac is made by dozens of producers, or Cognac Houses. The four largest are Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Martell and Couvoisier, with Hennessy being the largest. Click here to see a list and description of many of the Cognac Houses’ histories and products.

How does one drink Cognac?

Here is a short guide on how to drink Cognac.

How does one make Cognac Cocktails?

Cognac is used as a base in many cocktails. Click here for recipes of some of the most popular Cognac Cocktails, including the Sidecar and the Sazerac.

For more information on Cognac, Cognac Cocktail recipes and Cognac products, visit the National Cognac Day web pages of Hennessy and Rémy Martin. For information on the production of Cognac visit the BNIC website.

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