Words by Simon Difford
Cognac is perhaps most notoriously sipped from a large brandy balloon, or 'snifter' but you will probably enjoy cognac more when drunk from a straighter sided, more wine-like glass. This is the way we recommend serving X.O. or above cognacs.
'Rancio' is a term given to the subtle blend of aromas and flavours of an old Cognac, being evocative of aged leather, overripe banana, mushrooms, nuts, raisins and dried fruits. While 'rancio' defines translation, the taste is distinctive and most enjoyable.
Cognac was originally drunk as a long drink simply diluted with chilled water and I am a huge fan of what is known as the 'Surfer' serve, long over ice either sparkling water, soda, lemonade, tonic water or ginger ale.
Cognac is also a versatile cocktail ingredient and generally mixes well with vanilla, ginger, citrus (especially lemon and orange) cranberry and grape juice.