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Sep 21, 2005 04:27 PM

cognac for cooking!

  • q

anybody have a recommendation for a good cognac suitable for cooking? e.g., within reason, costwise. also, it should be something readily available as i am planning on picking it up at the airport duty-free store.

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  1. I have a friend who purchases the "airline sized bottles" of liquor for cooking.

    1. As a former cognac drinker I used to get mad at the wife for using my best cognac in her cooking until I tasted the food. Believe it or not the better the cognac the better the food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: yimster

        Absolutely, if it is not drinking quality then it is not cooking quality.

        1. re: Candy

          it makes perfect sense though. plus, you have something good to keep you occupied while slaving in the kitchen...

      2. I guess I disagree to some degree...

        Cognac is brandy from a specific region of France. And just as there are many great sparkling wines that are not Champagne (or bleu cheese not Rocquefort) because they don't come from grapes grown in that area, there are many nice brandies that are not Cognac, not made in France, not even made in Europe.

        But if you want to pay for a label, buy the least expensive you have heard of. My experience with Duty Free is that it is low on selection. And what they have will be high end. As in best for sipping, not cooking. And maybe one low-end for someone who wants the 'cognac' label but wants a cheap one.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SteveT

          right you are Steve. I like Spanish brandy and find a good one is a better bang for the buck than French cognac. I not talking cheap jug brandy.

        2. I'd like to reopen the discussion on this topic. I have come across a beef bourguignon and also a shrimp bisque recipe that call for cognac.

          What should I go into my liquor store and buy?

          6 Replies
          1. re: NYChristopher

            i'd look for other recipes, lol. beef bourgogne is usually made with red wine, and i prefer sherry in bisques.

            ok, seriously...

            go to your local wine store and ask them lower end cognacs are often colored with carmel and kind of sticky sweet. you'd get a better value (for cooking) with a better brandy.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              The other thing you can do, depending on how much you need, is get those miniature bottles - if you think you won't have other uses for the cognac. That's what I do when I make chicken liver mousse.

              1. re: MMRuth

                that's a quantity issue, not quality. julia always said if you won't drink it, don't cook with it.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  True - but I guess I don't mind springing for a couple of dollars for a mini, rather than spending alot on a larger size, or less on a eh bottle (not that you were suggesting that latter).

                  It was just a suggestion!

                2. re: MMRuth

                  Frankly, I like cognac ... I just don't know much about it. If I had my druthers, I would keep a bottle of Delamain XO in the apartment, but I'm not cooking with a $60 bottle of cognac, at least not until I make some more money.

                  Anyway, my point is I'd like enough to cook with and then some, but I don't want to break the bank.

                3. re: hotoynoodle

                  Well, I'm making Ina G's shrimp bisque this evening and got sherry for it, but also some cognac (I almost always attempt the recipe as is the first time ... too much of an amateur to do it any other way ... then I finesse it myself).

                  Oh, so which Cognac? See my reply to WAWAJB below.

              2. I'm not sure what the OP (or re-OP as the case may be) is looking for...but I know I could actually use some advice on what would be a good 'bargain bottle' of cognac or brandy. I don't drink it, so I don't know anything about what brands are decent and what is swill...and as with anything else, there has to be a brand or two that is not as good as the price and a brand or two that is much better than the price. Does anybody have specific suggestions on which to look for and which to avoid? Although...on second thought perhaps this is a question better asked of one of the alchohol related boards. Worth a try anyway.

                2 Replies
                1. re: wawajb

                  Here's a primer.

                  As I know it,
                  VS is Very Special
                  VSOP is Very Special Old & Pale
                  XO is eXtra Old

                  And it's all a question of how long it ages.

                  As for a bargain, no, Delamain XO isn't (not at $60/btl) but it's what I like.

                  I ended up getting a 375ml bottle of Pierre Ferrand amber for about $17 (figure $35 for a full bottle). I believe it to be the entry level spirit of a small- to mid-size producer. Perhaps a little thin, resembles an eau de vie to a certain extent. Fair value for the money, I certainly I won't mind cooking with this.


                  1. re: wawajb

                    Any of the major VSs, Remy-Martin, Martell, Courvesier, Hennessy, are suitable for cooking. Better yet, try the VSOPs, which are drinkable, if not impressive, yet a good intro to cognac. Personally, I like the VSOP Pierre Ferrand for cooking, as I can also sip this while I cook. Since I'm not rich, the Remy-Martin 1796 is what I look forward to with a good cigar.