Tropical cocktails
VS, VSOP, XO, Hors d'age: which to use?


Lord and master of the spirits

In the large family of the spirits made of wine, the cognac is lord and master, because of it's old age, but also because of the expertise of the distillers in de Charente district in France.

Most of the connoisseurs will drink a cognac neat in a warm glass, but cognac is, however, very suitable as a basis for excellent cocktails.

Because the white wines from the region, which contained little alcohol and were of mediocre composition, were nearly impossible to send to the Netherlands a few centuries ago, the people in the Charente came up with the idea to 'burn' the wine; aka distill it to an "eaux-de-vie", so it would travel better. On arrival water would be added and the drink would be consumed. Cognac owes it's special character to this method from the Charente.

The distillation is done in 2 steps, in a dubble distilling kettle. The wine is heated to form "brouillis" (with an alcohol percentage of between 26 and 33%). This brouillis and then distilled a second time resulting in "Bonne Chauffe", which is an colorless spirit containing 60 - 70% alcohol. Then the undesirables are removed and the spirit is aged in oak wood barrels. This ripening process will take at least 3 years, but can continue for decades longer. During this period an mysterious interaction takes place between the liquid, the wood and the oxygen, and there are a large number of factors that may influence the final result: temperature, humidity, barrel size and even the size of the wine depot! Eventually the different cognacs from different years are blended into a special, branded style.

The names of a Cognac depend on the length of the ripening period: VS (trois Etoiles), VSOP, Napoleon, Hord d'age. For cocktails the younger cognacs suffice, as they only add the required character.

There is also the brandy, which has a lot of similarities with the cognac. This type of drink is more plain and less tasteful than the cognac and the armagnac and because of that very suitable for use in cocktails.

Cognac, Armagnac and Brandy can be used for many different type of cocktails because they combine well with lemon, orange liqueurs en 'crèmes'.


A deliciously soft and aromatic digestif

Put in a shaker that is filled with 50% ice:

4/10 Cognac
3/10 Cream
3/10 Crème de Cacao

Shake well and serve in cocktail glasses. Sprinkle with Cinnamon before serving.


With this dry and bitter short drink you can relax after a hectic night.

Put in a mixing glass with some ice cubes:

5/10 Cognac
5/10 Fernet Branca
1 splash of angostura
2 splashes of sugar cane syrup

Shake well and serve in tumbler glasses.



Short drink: At any time.

Put in a mixing glass:

5/10 Cognac
5/10 Cherry Brandy
2 splashes sugar cane syrup
2 splashes angostura

Shake and serve in cocktail glasses. Decorate with a preserved cherry.

Three Miller

Short drink: Aperitif.

Put in a shaker that is filled with 50% ice:

5/10 Cognac
3/10 White Rum
1/10 Grenadine Syrup
1/10 Lemon Juice

Shake well and serve in cocktail glasses.


More cocktails based on: | Gin | Vodka | Tequila | Rum | Whisky | Calvados | Cognac | Vermouth | Port | Anise drinks & bitters | Liqueurs | Wine | Champagne | Beer | warm cocktails |