It was not the right day to choose giving up alcohol, making a visit to the city of Cognac is likely to test the resolve of any would be teetotaller.
A guided tour of the House of Courvoisier in the afternoon followed by a cocktail tasting session in Bar Louise in the evening is the ideal way for any alcohol abuser to spend a day.
The home of Napoleon‘s favourite cognac is located on the banks of the pretty River Charente which appears to be a popular spot with fishermen. Whilst this pair in the boat did not appear to catch anything, the spot is idyllic and it seemed to be a relaxing way to waste an afternoon.
On a late summer afternoon when the weather is perfect I would happily have spent a day just sat on the bank without doing too much. Maybe try a few of the various cognacs from the comfort of a hammock or chair, it’s possibly a new tasting experience the Courvoisier people can experiment with next year.
The tour was interesting, our guide Stéphanie was very enthusiastic and obviously proud of the cognacs they produce. We all learnt a great deal about the history, production and culture which surrounds the area and spirit. The tasting was also insightful and we learnt how to discover some of the aromas and tastes of a quality cognac.
Soon after we were all sat eagerly in front of our cocktail barman Alex waiting to experience how cognac is being used in fashionable cocktails. He mixed several for us to try including a Brandy Crusta which is the original cognac cocktail first developed by Joseph Santini from New Orleans. Apparently the early mixes were not ‘long’ cocktails and were quite potent, our first sip of this particular blend confirmed this immediately.
Cognac like champagne can only be produced in a certain region of France which has the correct climatic and soil conditions. It also has to meet strict production criteria to retain its title, cognac is a brandy, but brandy is not always a cognac. However sip enough of it and it is still intoxicating.
It is due to all the alcohol experimentation that this post is being written by a slightly fuzzy headed author, who will need to be up early tomorrow to explore the town. However I will at least go to sleep happy.