Posted on

What Glass Should You Drink Cognac From?

Cognac | www.drinks.ng

Drinking cognac is a wonderful experience with all the rich, spiced flavours of the eaux-de-vie gracing your palate for that amazing mouthfeel. No wonder it is considered one of the world’s finest alcohol beverages.

Considering that cognac is a premium brandy, respect should be given to the drink especially as regards how it is consumed. However, many of us make the mistake of drinking cognac out of the wrong glass, which does no good for the flavours released when we pour.

For cognac purists, there are only two types of glasses you should drink cognac out of – a ‘Tulip Glass,’ or a ‘Balloon Snifter.’

Tulip Glass

The Tulip glass is widely heralded as the king of cognac glasses. It is a long, bell-like wine glass which allows the aromas to concentrate on the surface of the cognac.

Tulip-Cognac-Glass | www.drinks.ng
The Tulip Glass

The design of the tulip creates a maximum surface area for the cognac, and at the same time directs the flavours and bouquet upwards towards the nose. The creates a maximum impact on the senses as the aromas are concentrated, giving you a better drinking experience.

The tulip comes with a long stem that extends up to a wide bowl. The bowl is curved inward then flares slightly at the rim – creating a mental picture of the flower from which the glass derives its name. It is typically used for drinking XO cognacs and other vintage cognacs.

Balloon Glass or Snifter

This also known as the Brandy Ballon or the Brandy Snifter. It is the traditional glass used in drinking all types of brandy, including cognac. The balloon is of two types – the classic (large) balloon and the regular (small) balloon.

Snifter_Balloon | www.drinks.ng
The Snifter or Balloon Glass

The regular balloon is used for non-vintage cognacs while the classic balloon is used for vintage cognacs. The classic balloon has more space to accentuate the deep flavours of the cognac.

The balloon has a short stem and a wide bowl that narrows as it extends to the rim. This accentuates the flavours of the cognac. However, the effects are to a lesser degree than those experienced with the tulip glass.

Wobble Glass

The Wobble glass is a 21st century re-designed regular snifter. It is a trendy looking glass that comes without a stem. As such, they can’t be put down, forcing you to hold the cognac in your hand and bring it to temperature with the warmth of your palms.

Wobble Glass | www.drinks.ng
The Wobble Glass

The warmth further releases the intense flavours of the cognac, making it hit the nose pleasantly with every sip.

So which glass is the best?

For Cognac experts and purists, the tulip glass is most prefered. It is believed that the glass catches the aroma perfectly while letting it aerate sufficiently.

The snifter is, however, most popular among the regular cognac drinking crowd. In addition, the snifter has an elegant design that speaks of old-fashioned style and is sync with the elegance of the drink.

The most important thing, though, is to use a glass that will allow the liquor breathe freely, while also directing the aromas upwards to the nose.

Other Glasses?

With the proliferation mixed drinks and cocktails, it is permitted to use any other type of glass that matches your mixer. You can use tall or short glasses, martini glasses,  or rock glasses.

For improvisational purposes, you can always use a regular wine glass with a rim that narrows upwards. Although, for the best cognac tasting experience, we would advise you get a set of tulip glasses or snifters.

Posted on

How Alcohol Makes You More Creative

Alcohol and Creativity | www.drinks.ng

Whether in form of business innovation, artistic creations, scientific experiments, creativity is something we all crave for – even more than alcohol.

Often times, we engage in certain rituals in the hope to boost our creativity. Meditation, sleep, exercise and alcohol are some of the means through which we try to bring our creativity to life.

We don’t know much about the others, but alcohol certainly is a catalyst for being more creative.

How does alcohol boost creativity?

The answer certainly revolves around the effect of alcohol on the brain. It loosens the brain’s controlling instincts, thus allowing you spontaneous thoughts to infiltrate your head. It is one of such thoughts that births a new idea or solves a persistent problem – creatively.

Getting alcohol into our system usually leads to ‘executive functioning’ in our brain, processes that involve focus and planning. This comes about through an altered state of consciousness induced by alcohol. No wonder people come up with the most amazing thoughts when they have a glass or two of wine, whiskey or cognac.

However, the underlying factor is that getting overly drunk does nothing in getting us to think creatively. Getting tipsy is what triggers the creativity.

Scientists Even Have A Proof

Scientific research has corroborated the fact that a drink can help us become more creative in our thoughts and actions as it frees up the brain to think in a different way.

It doesn’t immediately turn you into Picasso or Einstein, but the equivalent of a pint of beer or a small glass of wine was proven by Austrian scientists to help in unleashing creativity.

‘We wanted to do this study because alcohol is so linked with creativity and great writers like Ernest Hemingway,’ said lead author Dr Mathias Benedek, from the University of Graz in Austria.

‘Previous research has found almost half of the great writers had a history of drinking.

‘We found that a small drink can indeed help with certain aspects of creativity, although it may make hard, focused work more difficult.

‘So it might well work for someone who is sitting down to do creative writing or brainstorming ideas in a boardroom.’

The Research

Seventy participants were given a drink of either beer or non-alcohol beer, which they were unable to distinguish between. Half of the participants were given a 0.5% lager, while the other half were asked to drink a 5.2% beer, which they weren’t able to distinguish between.

They were then given a word association task, which included determining one word linking the three words Swiss, blue and cake. The answer is ‘cheese’ and the second group, who had the stronger beer, scored an average of 6/10 in the test. The other half of drinkers scored an average of 4/10.

The alcohol-drinkers also exceeded in a creative thinking task, in which they had to suggest alternative uses for tyres with “a swing” deemed one of the most creative answers.

 

 

Posted on

5 Truths You Never Knew About Alcohol

Truths_About_Alcohol | www.drinks.ng

Like every other aspect of human activity, drinking alcohol comes with its own myths which people have come to believe as truths.

There are some who believe that eating before drinking will reduce the level of intoxication. There are also others who feel that brown spirits cause more severe hangovers than their clear counterparts. Don’t cling too much to these myths as alcohol is alcohol and will knock you off anyways if you take beyond your limit.

We are all about responsible drinking, and while you are at it, here are some truths about alcohol we thought you should have at your fingertips.

5 Truths About Alcohol

Coffee Does Not Sober You Up

Don’t go with the myth that drinking coffee will help knock away your hangover. To sober up, the alcohol has to metabolize in your system. You will have to wait a few hours for that to happen. What caffeine actually does is to heighten your senses, causing you to appear more sober while still intoxicated.

Beer Belly Comes from too Much Beer

This myth is older than most of us started drinking, that does not make it true though. Generally drinking too much of alcohol will lead to more calories which results in weight gain. This means that adding a few more pounds around your midriff is not entirely down to the beer you have been drinking. It can be the glass of wine from Adeolu’s birthday party, or shots of tequila you had at Angela’s engagement party last night. In any case, there is no need to single out beer as the sole cause of a “beer belly.” Calories can come from any beverage, even non-alcoholic ones.

Adding Energy Drinks to Alcohol Will Reduce Intoxication

Hell no! Energy drinks work contain caffeine, and the effect of it will only give you a hyper feeling. It does not reduce the alcohol volume in your liquor or slow down your intoxication process by any means. Adding energy drinks to alcohol, in fact, leads to what is called “wide awake drunkenness.” The stimulants in the energy drink gives you a sobering effect while the alcohol takes its course. Medical experts advise that energy drink and alcohol mixed together is no good for the human system.

Alcohol Destroys Brain Cells

The extremely smart ones are scared by this myth. Thus, they choose to shy away from alcohol rather than indulge. This myth is completely untrue as alcohol does not kill off the entire brain cells. It only disrupts the flow of communication between neurons, alters their structure, and causes some of the impairment we experience when drunk. Now you know your brain cell is safe, it is no reason for you to drink irresponsibly.

Dark Spirits Cause More Hangover Than Lighter-Coloured Ones

Alcohol is alcohol, and once you take too much, be set for a severe hangover in the morning. This means that choosing vodka or gin over brandy or whiskey will not help you avoid hangover. It is true that congeners, which are by-products of alcohol fermentation and a leading cause of hangover, are much more present in dark liquors than clear ones. However, the secret to not being hungover is drinking responsibly, not avoiding one liquor for the other.

Posted on

Know the Difference between Brandy, Cognac, Whisky and Bourbon

Brandy_Cognac_Whisky_Bourbon | www.drinks.ng

Having a glass of brandy, cognac, whisky and/or bourbon in a bar, a family dinner or any social gathering is a common sight for us all.

However, if some of them were to be asked what particular drink they were having, there would be feather-drop (we don’t do pin-drop no more) silence.

So what is the big deal about all these spirit drinks and their names? What is whisky, cognac and brandy? What makes them different from each other? And why would you prefer one to the other?

Definitions of Brandy, Cognac & Whisky

Brandy

The name ‘brandy’ comes from the Dutch “branwijn”, which means “burnt wine.” Brandy is an spirit beverage distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice.

Typically distilled from wine, brandy is aged in old casks for a period of up to 2-3 years to achieve and alcohol volume of 40%. However, while some brandy are aged in wooden casks, others have caramel put into it to give it its brown colour, and some are still aged even after adding caramel.

Whisky

Whisky is a spirit distilled from fermented grain mash. The main grain varieties used are in the production of whisky include wheat, rye, barley, and corn.The liquor is aged in wooden barrels after distillation. Whiskey is made all over the world with the most popular being Scotland, Ireland, Canada, & America.

Bourbon

Bourbon is whisky distilled in the United States of America. Its name comes from Bourbon County, Kentucky, from where it originated.  Also aged in oak barrels, it is free from any artificial colouring or additives.

Cognac

Cognac is French brandy which is made from special grapes that are grown in the specified region of Cognac (from where it gets its name) in France. It is distilled in pot stills and must be at least 40% proof. It has to meet certain legal requirements in production methods known as Appellation d’origine contrôlée.

Difference Between Brandy and Cognac

The very first thing to note about both alcoholic beverages is that all cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is cognac.

The most pioneering difference between both of them is that brandy is distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice while cognac is a French brandy which is made from special grapes grown in Cognac.

Cognacs are usually expensive as they are higher quality brandy distilled from special grapes while brandy are usually on the cheap side and may not be produced by some brand or trademark alcohol maker. The price of brandy is in line with how long it has been aged for. Cognac are expensive because of the distillation and aging process that follows its production.

Due to its high quality, cognac is considered a much more premium spirit than brandy, which in most cases are not exceptional.

Aside from fermented wine, brandy can also be made from apples, pears and other sweet fruits. Cognac, on the other hand, is the brand name for spirits made from Ugni Blanc grapes that are grown in the Cognac region of France. To bear the name Cognac, it meets certain legal requirements with respect to production methods. Brandy can be made in any country of the world, whereas cognac must be made in France alone, and MUST come from the French Cognac region.

There is no particular aging period for brandy as it can be aged from one year to three or even more, depending on the production house. Cognacs are aged at least two years in French oak barrels and it can be aged up to twenty five years too.

Difference between Whisky and Bourbon

Whisky is made all over the world with the more popular countries being Scotland, Ireland, Canada and America. Bourbon, on the other hand is whisky made only in the US, with most coming from the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. Tennessee Whiskeys, however, don’t use the name Bourbon on their label.

Whisky is made from different grain mash which includes barley, rye, wheat while bourbon makes use of 51% of corn grains in its production.

Bourbon is also stored in new charred-oak barrels, whereas whisky barrels, although they must be oak, do not necessarily need to be new or charred.

To be called bourbon, the liquor needs to be distilled to no more than 160 proof and entered into the barrel at 125. For other whiskies, the liquid must be distilled to no more than 190 proof.

One underlining fact is that even though other whiskies may adhere to the same recipe and distillation guidelines, they cannot qualify as bourbon once made outside the USA.

Tennessee Whiskey

Whereas most whisky produced in America arecalled bourbon, whiskey made in Tennessee categorizes itself as different from bourbon.

The legal requirements for whiskey to be called Tennessee Whiskey are that the whiskey should be:

  • distilled in Tennessee
  • made from at least 51% corn
  • filtered through maple charcoal, and
  • aged in new, charred oak barrels.

Jack Daniel’s, one of the largest whiskey producers in the world is referred to as a Tennessee whiskey as it follows the above processes. The company were highly instrumental in getting the state legislature to create such stringent requirements for labeling Tennessee Whiskey.

However, UK-based Diageo, which is one of the major producers of whiskey in the state and owns Tennessee’s No. 2 whiskey distiller George Dickel, oppose these criteria and are lobbying to have them loosened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on

10 Amazing Champagne Cocktails

Champagne Cocktails | www.drinks.ng

Everyone enjoys a nice glass of bubbly. Here are cocktail ideas for you to experiment with and enjoy!

1. Champagne Dream

champagne dream cocktail | www.drinks.ng

INGREDIENTS

HOW TO MIX

  • add ice to the shaker
  • add pomegranate juice, orange juice and Cointreau to the shaker
  • shake well
  • pour champagne into the shaker
  • strain into the champagne glass
  • garnish with orange peel

2. Champagne Cocktailchampagne cocktail | www.drinks.ng

INGREDIENTS

HOW TO MIX

  • drop the sugar cube into the champagne glass
  • Soak the sugar cube with a few drops of Angostura bitters.
  • add cognac to the glass
  • fill up the glass with champagne
  • garnish with orange wheel cocktail cherry

3. Raspberry Champagneraspberry champagne | www.drinks.ng

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 part black raspberry liqueur
  • 5 parts champagne

HOW TO MIX

  • pour champagne, and black raspberry liqueur into the champagne glass
  • stir together
  • garnish with berries

4. RossiniRossini Cocktail | www.drinks.ng

INGREDIENTS

  • strawberry
  • 4 parts champagne

HOW TO MIX

  • crush strawberry with muddler
  • add strawberry to the champagne glass
  • fill up the glass with champagne
  • stir together
  • garnish with strawberries

5. Night and Daynight and day cocktail | www.drinks.ng

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dash angostura
  • ½ parts Cointreau
  • ¾ parts brandy
  • 3 parts champagne
  • crushed ice

HOW TO MIX

  • fill up the sour glass with crushed ice
  • pour brandy, cointreau and angostura into the glass
  • fill up the glass with champagne

6. Kir Royalekir royale cocktail | www.drinks.ng

 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ parts blackcurrant liqueur
  • 4½ parts champagne

HOW TO MIX

  • pour blackcurrant liqueur into the champagne glass
  • fill up the glass with champagne

7. MimosaMimosa Cocktail | www.drinks.ng

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 parts orange juice
  • 4 parts champagne

HOW TO MIX

  • pour orange juice into the champagne glass
  • add champagne to the glass
  • stir together
  • garnish with orange wedge

8. Happy Youthhappy youth cocktail | www.drinks.ng

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sugar cube
  • ½ parts brandy
  • ½ parts cherry brandy
  • 4 parts champagne

HOW TO MIX

  • add sugar cube to the champagne glass
  • pour cherry brandy into the glass
  • fill up the glass with champagne

9. Diamond Fizzdiamond fizz cocktail | www.drinks.ng

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 part gin
  • 1 dash sugar syrup
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 4 parts champagne

HOW TO MIX

  • pour lemon juice, sugar syrup, and gin into the champagne glass
  • fill up the glass with champagne

10. Midnight Millionairemidnight millionaire cocktail | www.drinks.ng

INGREDIENTS

HOW TO MIX

  • pour champagne and vodka into the champagne glass
  • stir together
  • garnish with raspberry

Source – Cocktailflow.com