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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.