COGNAC: Named after the region in France, Cognac is a spirit of unparalleled complexity and the gold-standard against which all other brandies are judged. A grape-based brandy, Cognac is aged in special casks which mellow it and lend it its famous aroma. It is priced according to the age of the brandies in it and the skills of the master blender. Served in a brandy snifter, it is swirled while gripping it with the palm of your hand to warm the drink, releasing the aroma. Try the stem less cutting-edge Swivel Cognac glass, which adds to the romance associated with this drink. A symbol of luxury across the world, this old-fashioned spirit continues to be a favourite after-dinner drink.
GRAPPA: An Italian grape-based colourless pomace brandy, it is a fiery spirit, whose flavour is dependent upon on the grape quality and variety. It is served in a uniquely-shaped extremely thin glass, either by itself or poured into postprandial coffee. In fact, the famous Italian Café Corretto is espresso which has been ‘corrected’ with Grappa!
ARMAGNAC: Among the oldest brandies with a rustic flavour, it is similar in style to Cognac but more intense.
EAUX-DE-VIE : French for ‘water of life’ , it is a colourless fruit brandy with a dry taste. It is served chilled in a tulip-shaped glass. The most popular are Poire William (pear), Framboise (raspberry), Kirsch (cherry) and the French Calvados (apple).
PORT: A traditional sweet dessert / afterdinner Portuguese fortified wine, it can be either bottle-aged or wood-aged . It is sipped in a small wine glass, filled only halfway, helping it to release its distinctive aroma.
SHERRY: Made in and around Jerez in Spain, sherry is wine that has been fortified with brandy. The taste ranges from bone dry to sweet and is served in the traditional copita (tulip-shaped glass). After a fine meal, if the conversation continues to be stimulating and the music’s still playing , go ahead and ask the sommelier to get the ‘after-dinner carte’