It’s the middle of winter, and miserable and cold outside in our part of the world. There’s likely to be snow or ice covering the ground, and the wind is blowing with a vengeance from the north… At very best, January and February provide us with a depressing drizzle of rain coupled with grey skies. It’s the worst time of the year, that’s for sure. And along with this delightful weather comes the yearly misery of coughs, colds and the flu. If you’re anything like the team at Cognac Expert, then your medicine cabinet is full up with ibuprofen, paracetamol, decongestants and various other things to get you through the latest virus…


But did you know that Cognac is reputed to have various health benefits; not least as being a great remedy for various symptoms like coughs and colds. Countries throughout the world swear by the cold curing aspects of our beloved eaux-de-vie. Now, we’re not promising that they work, but there’s a reason that these old wives tales get passed down from generation to generation. So let’s have a look at the various different folklore of countries around the world, and the takes each has on using Cognac as a method of curing the common cold:

The Russian and Ukrainian Remedy

The answer from the cold countries of the Eastern Bloc is the delightfully named, Gogol Mogol. This is a hot drink that’s created by heating half a cup of milk along with a tablespoon full of unsalted butter. Whisk in a raw egg yolk, a teaspoon of honey and a large slug of cognac.

The Influenza Remedy

This remedy hails from a Stuttgart, Germany, family who’ve handed this down from 1918, when a pandemic of Spanish Flu took the lives of between 20-40 million people across the globe.

Take ½ a pound of fresh garlic, peel and dice, and add to a quart of Cognac. Seal in an airtight container and store in a darkened, cool environment for a couple of weeks. The open the bottle, strain out the garlic and reseal the bottle. To use the mixture to treat flue, add 2 drops to 8 ounces of water, and drink 3 glasses a day – one before each meal.


The mixture can also be used to prevent catching the flu in the first place. During the winter, add 10-15 drops of the mixture to 8 ounces of water, and drink three times a day (before every meal).

Of course, if you choose to use this remedy for the flu, we suggest a very strong mouthwash or a liberal supply of chewing gum and breath fresheners – just to make you more pleasant to be around, of course…

Very interestingly, a doctor ENT, Dr. Joseph Beck (an accomplished American professor and ENT specialist during WW1) wrote about his time running an American Red Cross Hospital in Cognac, France, during the Great War. Having to deal with the pandemic of Spanish Influenza, he didn’t have the room to house all the patients he needed to in the hospital he had. So he asked Hennessy and Martell for help. He was allowed to set up a makeshift ward on the top floor of one of the Cognac warehouses in the city. In addition to this, he was offered the use of as much Cognac as he wanted to help treat victims of the flu. And with the more usual liquid of milk being so scarce, he made up a mixture of Cognac and water to give to his patients. It’s reported that after commencing this regime, the death toll dropped by a massive 27 per cent almost instantly, and never rose above that in the 5 weeks during which the epidemic ran its course.

The Sore Throat Remedy

There’s nothing worse than a sore throat. And sucking on medicated sweets such as Strepsils is fine, but all they really do is mask the symptoms. Apparently the combination of Cumin and Cognac is an extremely effective treatment for a sore throat and tonsillitis. It’s even rumoured that this solution can provide relief for a sore throat in as little as four hours!

Take 80 grams of ground cumin, and add to 200 ml of water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for around 15 minutes until it’s reduced to a thick liquid mass. Strain the liquid, add another 50 mil of water and bring to the boil once again. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and then stir in a tablespoon of cognac. Take a tablespoon of the mixture once every half an hour. If it relieves your throat, stop taking after four hours, although if the pain continues you can take the treatment for a full 8 hours.


It’s also alleged that Cognac has various other benefits to the body. One is that drinking moderate amounts of Cognac increases the levels of antioxidants in the body. These are a substance that helps reduce the amount of free radicals (a substance that causes damage to the body cells). This in turn is said to help with heart health, blood vessel health, decrease the chances of getting cancer and help with aiding good vision.

Here at Cognac Expert we’re certainly not doctors – and we don’t advocate any of the above over gaining sensible advice from a qualified physician. But we have to say that we’re certainly not against ingesting ‘moderate’ amounts of Cognac on a regular basis. All in the benefit of our good health, naturally…




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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.


  1. Austin Garcia

    Hi Sophie and Max,

    I have been researching the numerous health benefits of cognac and came across this blog. First, I just want to say you have a great blog that is very informative. I have been into cognac for 1-2 years now and absolutely love it. I have a question that may seem like common sense, but I wanted to know how much men should drink cognac? How much do you drink? How many oz is considered beneficial to someone’s health? This would really help me out.



  2. Diane Winters

    This is entirely anecdotal. but it’s a true account of my own experience once with cognac and a cold. I was staying in Paris in December 1966, having hitchhiked there from London with a French Canadian girl. We shared a room in a small family-run hotel on the left bank and became friends with two young Spanish guys who were also sharing a room there. They were taking graduate courses, waiting to see if the Fulbright scholarships they’d applied for came through. Paris then was grey, chilly and drizzly much of the time and one evening Odile and I realized we were both coming down with bad colds. Now, much older, I seem to be relatively immune to them, but back then I had miserable colds. When our Spanish friends found out, they said cognac would cure them. We didn’t have any, but another friend of theirs who didn’t live there, was so determined that it would cure us, that he went to his apartment and in 20 minutes came back with a bottle. They poured us each a glass of at least six ounces (which is a lot of cognac) and they sat in the room insisting we each drink it down. This was no sipping experience. Odile and I both hated the stuff, but they kept insisting we needed to drink it all. We drank well over half of it, and when they left about 11:30 they made us promise we’d finish it off. We did make an effort to drink more, but don’t think either of us finished it completely. Then we went to bed still feeling lousy. I woke up some time later, when it was still quite dark, realizing that I felt completely rested and that I had no cold symptoms whatsoever. I didn’t know what to do, having no wish to sleep anymore, but not wanting to disturb Odile. I soon found out however, the she was actually also wide awake having exactly the experience I was having. It was about 4:00 or 4:30 am. So we turned on the light and spent the time until morning writing postcards home. Colds absolutely gone.

    I once tried to replicate this “cure” later in my life, but I know I didn’t have cognac. I’m not sure what I used, possibly some liqueur. At any rate whatever I used didn’t work. I landed on this site tonight as I’m now trying to fight off a cold – I do happen to have cognac, and am downing it now. If it does work, I’ll try to find the site again and report back.

  3. Max (

    Many thanks for you comment, Diane!

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