How do you drink XO?

Answered by Frank Schwing

When it comes to drinking XO, or Extra Old, cognac, there are a few key things to keep in mind to fully enjoy its flavors and aromas. XO cognac is aged for a minimum of 10 years, resulting in a rich and complex spirit that is best appreciated when consumed neat or on the rocks.

To start, it’s important to choose the right glassware for your XO cognac. A tulip-shaped glass or a snifter is ideal as it helps concentrate the aromas and allows you to fully appreciate the nuances of the spirit. The wide bowl at the bottom of the glass allows for swirling, which helps release the aromas even further.

When pouring your XO cognac, aim for a moderate amount, about 1.5 to 2 ounces, to ensure you can savor it slowly and fully experience its flavors. Take a moment to admire the color of the cognac in the glass before proceeding.

Before taking your first sip, it can be beneficial to warm the glass in your hand for a few moments. This gentle heat can help enhance the aromas and open up the flavors of the cognac.

Now, it’s time to take a moment to appreciate the aroma of the XO cognac. Bring the glass to your nose and take a gentle sniff, allowing the scents to envelop your senses. Take note of the various aromas that you detect, such as notes of dried fruits, spices, vanilla, oak, or floral undertones. Each XO cognac will have its own unique scent profile, so take your time to explore and appreciate it.

When you’re ready, take a small sip of the XO cognac and let it coat your palate. Allow the flavors to develop and evolve, slowly savoring each sip. Pay attention to the different taste sensations you experience, such as the initial sweetness followed by hints of spice, fruitiness, or even a touch of smokiness. Take your time to fully appreciate the complexity and depth of flavors that the XO cognac offers.

If you prefer your cognac slightly chilled, you can certainly add a couple of ice cubes to your glass. However, be aware that the melting ice can dilute the spirit over time, so it’s best to drink it at a leisurely pace to fully enjoy the flavors before they become too diluted.

If you find the XO cognac to be too strong or intense for your taste, you can add a small splash of cold water to your glass. This can help mellow out the alcohol and open up the aromas even further. However, be cautious not to add too much water, as it can overpower the flavors and diminish the overall experience.

Remember, XO cognac is meant to be savored and enjoyed slowly. Take your time to fully immerse yourself in the sensory experience it provides. Whether you choose to drink it neat, on the rocks, or with a touch of water, the key is to appreciate and savor every sip.

I hope this detailed guide helps you in enjoying your XO cognac to the fullest. Cheers!