Cognac (FR. cognac) is an alcoholic beverage produced in the eponymous town of Cognac (France). It is made from a special type of grapes using a special technology.
Cognac is made from white grapes. The major share of them is the cultivar, Ugni Blanc. Full maturation of the grapes takes place in the middle of October, so the process to create such a noble beverage begins already in late autumn.
Two main technological processes of the manufacture of juicing and fermentation determine the quality of the cognac. The use of sugar at the fermentation stage is strictly prohibited.
The next process is a distillation of the wine in two stages and spilling ethyl alcohol in oak barrels at 270-450 liters. The minimum period of aging for cognac is 2 years, maximum is 70 years. In the first year of aging, the cognac gets its characteristic Golden-brown color and absorbed tannins. It is aging that determines its taste and has a clear classification. So, the marking on the label refers to V. S. exposure up to 2 years old VSOP – 4 years, V. V. S. O. P. – to 5-years old XO – 6 years and more.
All beverages produced by the same technology and same grapes and with similar taste and class quality, but made in any other place in the world, in the international market can not have a name of a cognac. All these drinks have the status solely of brandy. Otherwise in compliance with the international acts on the producer of this cognac is subject to a fine. The only exception is the company “Shustov”. For the victory in 1900 at the World exhibition brandies in Paris, the company was able to call their drinks “Cognac”.
What is cognac?
To begin with, cognac can only be French – a geographical indication protects this name. To have the name “Cognac”, the drink must be:
• Produced and bottled in the Cognac region of the Charente department. The geographic boundaries of production are strictly defined and enshrined in law.
• Made from grapes grown in the Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, or Borderies regions. The soils are rich in limestone, which gives a multi-layered and noble bouquet with floral-fruity aromas.
• Distilled by double distillation in Charentes copper alembics.
• Aged in oak barrels for at least 2 years.
The main grape variety from which cognac is made is Ugni Blanc, unpretentious in cultivation, with good acidity. It produces a sweet fermented juice (9% wine state). Then everything is standard – distillation and aging.
Any other distillates from grape raw materials have no right to have the name “Cognac” on the international market.
Does this mean that the so-called “cognacs” of other countries are low-quality foods, unworthy of attention? Absolutely not, these can be quite interesting drinks, just not cognacs, but brandy made from grapes.
Brandy is the generic name for fruit-based distilled alcohol. The raw material for it can be grape wine, as well as any fruit mash. That is, brandy is made not only from grapes but also from apples, peaches, pears, cherries, plums, and other fruits.
No alcoholic beverage may not be a cure by mindless consumption. However, small doses of brandy have some therapeutic and prophylactic effects.
A small portion of brandy raises the blood pressure and consequently, reduces headache and General weakness of the body. In addition, in connection with the presence in the composition of cognac biological substances which stimulate the stomach and awaken the appetite, improves the digestive tract. Tea with a teaspoon of cognac can also act as a means to enhance immunity and prevent colds. In the struggle with the beginnings of a cold, you can use cognac with ginger.
The hot drink is good for rinsing, decontamination, and treatment of throat angina. Take a brandy with lemon and honey as a febrifuge. And add to this mixture milk provides expectorant action bronchitis and laryngitis. Brandy before bedtime to relieve insomnia, relieve nervous tension accumulated during the day, and provide a good night’s sleep.
In cosmetology cognac is a treatment for acne, mixing it with glycerin, water, and borax. This mixture wipes the inflamed areas of the skin, and after a few days of such treatment, the skin will be much cleaner. To make a bleaching facial mask made from 2 tablespoons of the cognac and lemon juice, 100 ml of milk, and white cosmetic clay. The resulting mixture is spread evenly on the face for 20-25 minutes, avoiding the eye area and mouth.
To make the hair well-fed and to strengthen them, make a mask of egg yolk, henna, honey, and a teaspoon of brandy. Over the mask on the hair puts on a plastic cap and a warm towel. Keep the mask for 45 min.
Doctors recommend daily use of no more than 30 grams of cognac.
The harm of cognac and contraindications
Negative properties of brandy much less than advantages.
The main danger of this noble drink is its excessive use, which can be addictive and a fairly severe stage of alcoholism.
Cognac is also strictly contraindicated for people suffering from gallstone disease, hypertension, diabetes, and hypotension.
You should also remember that the therapeutic and positive effect you can only get from a cognac of good quality and famous brand and not some surrogate of unknown origin.
How to drink?
Firstly, after you have fully enjoyed the aroma, you can proceed to the tasting. Secondly, Cognac is best to drunk in small sips, not swallowing immediately, but allowing the taste to spread in the mouth. If you drink cognac in this way, then with every new second it will open up new facets, change and surprise with the fullness of its taste. This effect name is the “peacock’s tail”.
Useful and dangerous properties of other beverages: