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How To Make Cognac At Home? Explained (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on November 22, 2022 by Lydia Martin

If you are a fan of cognac, you might want to craft your own homemade spirit, just like a master blender.

After doing some research, we found these three simple steps on how to make cognac at home. Read on. 

3 Basic Steps To Follow When Making Cognac At Home 

3 Basic Steps To Follow When Making Cognac At Home 

1. Select the wine

Merlot Wine

To make cognac at home, select the wine you will use. We suggest using quality white wine made from white grapes for distillation.

If you like the taste of a specific wine drink, then it is ideal for blending or turning it into cognac (brandy). 

Remember that distillation exposes the wine’s essence. So, if you use a good wine, the result would likely be good, too.  

2. Distillation

Cognac Distillation Process

We recommend doing a double distillation process. Repeat the distillation process with the first distilled condensed liquid to really capture the pure essence of the alcohol.  

One of the most ordinary procedures of doing this is using a copper kettle. This allows the copper ions to break down the aldehydes in the wine through boiling. 

Also, you’ll need to discard the liquid’s “end and beginning” to eliminate the impurities and get the purer version of the spirit.

3. Maturing in Oak Barrels

After selecting and distilling wines, the last step would be maturing in French oak barrels. This step is fairly easy, but it requires a lot of time. 

The distilled spirit is then transferred into an oak barrel to be aged for a minimum period of three years to achieve its flavor, smell, and color.  

Before you start consuming the spirit, we highly recommend you taste it. You’ll need to dilute it to drinking grade, which will likely turn hazy. 

The addition of ethanol usually causes this phenomenon. So, waiting for a week or two for the spirit to be aged more and achieve better taste and flavors is ideal.

Did you know? The smaller the barrels, the faster the spirits mature. 

Homemade Cognac Recipe 

Nutmeg

Prep Time: 11 minutes

Total Time: 1 month or so 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pinch Vanillin
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • 4 buds Cloves (stems)
  • 1 tsp Black Tea
  • 2 tsp Oak Chips
  • 1 tbsp Honey or Sugar
  • 8 grams dry Rose Hips (10 hips)
  • 10 grams dry Hawthorn Berries 
  • 1 liter Wine

Instructions: 

For the first step, prepare the oak chips by boiling them in water that should be above the surface of the wood for about 10 minutes. After that, remove the decoction and rinse it in cold water. 

Then, mix berries, cloves, tea, and oak bark in a jar. Pour wine, honey, and vanillin, and stir well. The lid should be tightly sealed.

For about 30 days, infuse the brandy in a dark room with a temperature of around 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Shake it once a week. Then, remove the excess liquid through a combination of cotton and cheesecloth. 

The cognac should be stored in a bottle that’s been sealed. After a couple of days, let it cool down in a dark place to allow the flavors to develop. 

Its shelf life is up to five years with 37 to 38% ABV.

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Is There A Set Degree Of Temperature For Wine Distillation?

Yes, there is a set degree of temperature for wine distillation. It is between 173-212 degrees Fahrenheit. The distilling process separates the various substances of the brandy based on their boiling point. 

So, temperature plays a crucial role in the distilling process. The higher the temp, the faster the wine converts its natural sugar to alcohol or ethanol.

Is It Legal To Make Cognac At Home?

A glass of Cognac

No, it is illegal to make homemade cognac or other spirits in the U.S, even in other countries. You cannot make any alcohol – be it cognac, whiskey, wine [1], or other spirits – for drinking purposes without the necessary documents and approval from the authorities. 

But, note that cognacs must only be made from France’s Cognac region for the spirit to be called a “cognac.” It should only use Ugni Blanc grapes or grapes from the Grande Champagne and other crus. 

So, as per the law, it won’t be considered a real cognac if it’s made outside France.

FAQs 

Can cognac be produced anywhere?

No, cognacs must only be made from France. Unlike brandy, which can be made anywhere, cognac is a very particular spirit. The production process of cognacs is only taking place in France, mainly in the Charente Maritime region. 

Can you sell the cognac you made at home?

No, you can’t sell the cognac, unfortunately. Since making your own bottle of cognac is against the law, it’s the same as selling the drink. We suggest you search online for laws about making and selling cognac to get relevant information. 

In Summary 

There are three basic steps in making cognac at home. First, select the wine, distill the spirits, and mature them using an oak barrel. However, it’s illegal to make cognac at home for drinking purposes.  

If you’re really decided to make your own quality drink, we recommend reaching out to authorities first and complying with the necessary requirements (depending on your location) for approval. 

Once you have completed all the required documents and are approved, you can make cognacs (or brandies) home.

Reference:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine

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