Have you found yourself in a situation where you’ve realized that you are in need of cognac, but unfortunately you ran out?
Don’t despair, for there is a solution. Check out these fantastic 10 cognac alternatives and find out which is the best cognac substitute for you.
What is cognac?
Cognac is a strong alcoholic beverage (a type of brandy) originating from France. It contains 40% alcohol by volume. In essence, it is a type of brandy which is produced in the regions of Charente and Charente-Maritime.
Most noteworthy, cognac is named after the commune of Cognac, which is located in south-western France. You might also know it as eau de vie, but this term is only used once the cognac is distilled.
The production process includes distilling white wine (not red wine) from designated wine growing regions. These geographic denominations include: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, Bois Ordinaires and Bois a terroirs.
How is cognac made?
The types of white wines used to make this alcoholic beverage are generally dry, thin and acidic. Ordinarily, the white wines used during the distillation process are known for being rather undrinkable. However, this type of wine is excellent for ageing.
Nevertheless, once the grapes are pressed, they undergo fermentation for approximately 3 weeks. They are distilled twice in Charentais-style copper alembic pot stills. Next, the beverage is aged in Limousin oak casks for a minimum of 2 years.
Generally speaking, the alcohol content is approximately 70% in the first few years. After ten years, the alcohol content is reduced down to 40%. The last step of the ageing process includes transferring the alcohol into large glass bottles called bonbonnes.
What are the different types of cognac?
If you are a fan of cognac, you might have come across different varieties of it. In fact, cognac is often categorized according to different quality grades. These include:
V.S. – Very Special: This refers to a blend which contains a brandy which has been aged for a minimum of two years in a cask
V.S.O.P. – Very Superior Old Pale: It is also known as Reserve. It is a blend containing a brandy which has been aged for a minimum of 4 years
Napoleon: A blend in which the youngest brandy has been aged for a minimum of 6 years
XO – Extra Old: A blend containing a brandy aged for a minimum of 10 years
Hors d’age – Beyond Age: This type goes beyond the official age scale.
non alcoholic alternatives
Can you substitute bourbon for cognac?
Yes. You can use a 1:1 ratio as replacement.
Can I substitute whiskey for cognac?
It depends on how you want to use it. In drinks, whiskey carries a too smoky flavour, which might muddle the drink.
In other applications, use a 1:1 ration and add an ice cube to water it down ever so slightly.
Can I substitute sherry for cognac?
Yes. Use a 2:1 ratio when substituting sherry for cognac. I.e. use double as much.
What can be used instead of cognac in a recipe?
Brandy, armagnac, calvados, rum, sherry, whiskey and bourbon. Non-alcoholic options are white grape juice and apple juice. Check out the list above for more details for ratios and different applications.
If you don’t want to fiddle around with the proportions, you should stick to brandy, Armagnac, or calvados. Use fruit juice as a non-alcoholic alternative.