Last Updated on August 22, 2023 by Lydia Martin
Picture this: you’re sitting in front of a blazing fireplace on a cold winter night, a glass of the best, most relaxing nightcap in your hand. Whiskey and wine are the first to come to mind, but what about the rest of the spirits? Cognac, in particular.
Is Cognac an after-dinner drink? We’ll tell you more about it here — and why it deserves more love.
Can Cognac Be An After Dinner Drink?
Yes, cognac can be an after-dinner drink.
While we associate nightcaps with whiskey and wine, you’d be surprised to know that cognac fits the bill, too — and it’s healthier and more delicious to boot.
Cognac is the best digestif in tradition, meaning an alcoholic drink enjoyed after a meal to aid digestion. It helps your stomach relax after eating and makes you feel less bloated.
Other benefits include curbing the appetite, so you’re less likely to crave dessert afterward (which is great in most cases, especially if you’re trying to lose weight).
What Makes It An After Dinner Drink? (Or Not)
Cognac is known by many as the King of Digestifs because it stimulates your body to produce an enzyme called pepsin that helps digest proteins found in ingested food.
Once pepsin is produced, you’ll definitely feel less full after a heavy meal. It also stimulates other organs, like the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder, to produce secretions that help ease the bloatedness.
However, this spirit does not actually work as a digestive — on the contrary, it slows down digestion. The alcohol relaxes the stomach lining, and this relaxation is what gives you that satisfied, less-full feeling.
Of course, cognac is also a great dessert drink for every occasion because tasting its wonderful blend of fruity, spicy, and rich flavors is a treat in and of itself.
Effects of Drinking Cognac After A Meal
Liquors that have aged inside oak barrels, like cognac, wine, and brandy, contain a high amount of ellagic acid.
Ellagic acid acts as an antioxidant to protect your body against diseases like Type 2 diabetes and gallstones and to keep free radicals from damaging your cells, which can cause cancer.
The best part? The antioxidants found in cognac improve with age, too.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Drinking cognac can also improve one’s cardiovascular health. This liquor is associated with a decreased risk of hypertension, stroke, and sudden cardiac deaths compared to non-drinkers. It also lowers the risk of the body developing blood clots.
Of course, these health benefits can only be assumed if you drink responsibly and only the suggested amount, which is one serving of cognac daily.
Slows Down Digestion
Although cognac helps you feel relaxed after you eat, it does not speed up the digestive system but slows it down. The alcohol content relaxes the stomach lining, which slows down digestion.
Any alcohol in general also inhibits your gut’s ability to absorb vital nutrients.
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How To Drink Cognac After Dinner
The best way to have cognac after dinner as a digestive is to consume it neat at room temperature and warm it ever so slightly with the tips of your fingers.
Use a tulip glass or snifter to appreciate its aromas before you take a sip, and when you do, sip slowly and deliberately.
It’s best to enjoy it away from the dinner table, preferably in front of the fireplace, for maximum relaxation.
What’s A Digestif?
A digestif is an alcoholic drink enjoyed after dinner with the intention of aiding digestion. The best digestif includes fortified wine like port, liqueur like Italian Amari, and spirits like Scotch, brandy, and cognac.
In the beginning, digestifs were drunk for medicinal purposes, as the herbs, spices, and other flavoring ingredients used to make the drink can calm the stomach after a hearty meal. 
It is the antithesis to the aperitif, a drink enjoyed before eating to whet the tongue and stimulate the appetite. Popular choices for aperitifs include Campari, gin, and dry vermouth.
What cognac brand is best drunk after dinner?
We’re a bit biased, but our favorite cognac brand to drink after dinner is the Courvoisier XO.
It has an exquisite flavor profile, with notes of fig, raisins, and plums, with a woodsy, oaky finish. We find that it has just the right balance of delicate yet rich.
Should you drink cognac after dinner?
Yes, you should have cognac after dinner. This liquor is a great digestif, which can help you feel less full and bloated after consuming a hearty meal.
However, if you have issues with digestion, it may be best to skip it as its alcohol content will slow it down even more.
Cognac is a great after-dinner drink.
Cognac is one of the best digestifs to help you feel less bloated and full after a hearty meal. Sipping this digestive will stimulate pepsin production, which can help break down the proteins in ingested food.
However, contrary to what you might think, the alcohol content within the spirit actually slows down digestion instead of speeding it up. It may be best to forgo this liquor if you have problems digesting food.