So you want to create your own Cognac bar at home. A place to wow your guests, or perhaps a cozy area where you can just kick back and relax. And, if you’re going to do this, then it deserves to be done right! And hey, that doesn’t necessarily mean spending out a fortune (although this, of course, depends on your Cognac tastes). But more about that later.
First of all, what do we actually mean by a ‘Cognac Bar’? Well, this is subjective, and boils down to your personal preference. But we think that the perfect Cognac bar should include the following:
A place to sit
A place to display your favorite bottles
Storage for more Cognac bottles
A selection of Cognac glasses
A selection of versatile glasses
Various products for the creation of mixed drinks and cocktails
Other items that pair well with Cognac
OK, so now we’ve got that straight, let’s head straight into how to easily build your own Cognac bar at home.
1. Select your location
Depending on your home, this could be in a number of places. You might choose to have the bar in a small corner of your sitting room or dining room. If you’re lucky, you may have a games room, snug, or ‘chill out’ area – that would be a good choice.
Or perhaps you have a whole separate building out in the yard that you can dedicate to become your Cognac bar! If so, you’ll be the envy of your friends…
The seating is up to you. Some big squashy sofas might be nice – with big cushions. Or some bar stools. If you’re planning on spending quite some time at your bar, make sure the seats are comfy.
Other nice touches, if you have the room and the inclination, might include a decent sound system (how about a Wurlitzer juke box?), some mood lighting, air-con or extra heating if the climate dictates, and perhaps some artsy, Cognac related pictures to add to the ambiance.
2. The bar area
This should be a combination of a display area and a place to prepare your drinks. So, a typical counter type bar will do just fine – you can display some bottles here, and you’ll need somewhere to store others, various mixers, glasses etc.
If you’re planning on serving Cognac cocktails, then you’re going to need a few other spirits as well. You might like to have these hung on the wall, with optics. This makes for easy dispensing and keeps them neatly out of the way (handy if you’re short on space).
A drinks fridge/freezer might seem a little decadent, but actually, it’s a great addition. It’s the perfect place to keep Cognacs such as ABK6 Ice, and for the adventurous types, even a bottle of Napoleon or XO (try it, you’ll be surprised).
It’s also a place to keep mixers cold, and make/store ice.
3. Choose your glasses
OK, so you’re going to need the right glasses from which to enjoy your Cognacs. A selection of tulip glasses, balloon glasses, and perhaps some uber-trendy ‘wobble’ glasses too.
Of course, we all drink Cognac in a variety of ways now, so include some highball glasses (AKA Collins glass), lowballs, martini glasses, and champagne flutes.
4. Select the sundries
By this we mean items like an ice bucket and tongs, cocktail shaker, bar spoon, muddler, sharp knife to cut fruits, salt and pepper, sugar and sugar cubes, water jug, lemon press, and grater.
Choose your mixers, such as Fever Tree Tonic, Coke, Soda Water, 7-Up…
Of course, if you’re not planning on making Cognac cocktails you probably won’t need a lot of these items.
5. Choose the ‘other’ alcoholic products
You know, Vodka, Whisky, Gin, Champagne, Crème de Cassis, Bitters, etc.
6. Select your Cognacs
Now comes the fun bit.
You’re going to want a good selection here, of all qualities. And when it comes to choosing, you also want to take into account the attractiveness of the bottles you intend to display on the top of the bar.
Let’s go through this in order.
A selection of VS Cognac – for aperitifs, mixed drinks, and cocktails:
A versatile range of VSOP Cognac. These can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, neat, on the rocks, with a mixer, or are great for cocktails. Consider some of the following:
A selection of good XO, Napoleon, and Extra quality Cognacs. These are some of our favorites:
And, of course, you’ll need at least a couple of ‘talking point’ Cognacs:
7. Cigars, coffee, and chocolate
Many people enjoy pairing a good Cognac with a good cigar. Coffee and chocolate also accompany eaux-de-vie rather nicely.
So, a range of cigars, good chocolate (go for plain, with a high cocoa content), and some quality coffee might well be a consideration.
Good Cognacs to pair with a cigar include:
So there you have it – the Cognac Expert guide to the perfect Cognac bar.
If you have any further ideas, please let us know. And if you’ve got a Cognac bar at home, then we’d love to see some pictures.