I get it — you're a college kid, and odds are, you're only drinking the cheapest stuff you can get. But, that's no excuse to not be #worldly. To help you out, we're here to explain the difference in brandy vs cognac so you don't sound like your average frat boy. 

A Drink for Gents

Coming from a Dutch word meaning "burnt wine," brandy is distilled from wine and often aged in oak wood barrels to add some spicy, caramelly flavor, give it that pretty amber color, and up the coolness of the beverage. If get your hands on one of these bad boys, you'll notice a few things on the label.

For starters, grapes are the typical players in the brandy production game, but if the bottle was made with a different fab fruit — say, cherry, apple, peach — that info will make itself known on the label. Brandies are also aged for different periods of time. V.S. (not Victoria Secret, but Very Special) are the babies at two years, and XO (Extra Old) is aged for at least six. XOXO, Brandy Boy. 

Yeah, but then what's Cognac all about?

When it comes to brandy vs cognac, the difference is a ton simpler than you'd imagine. Basically, it's one of those lil "all thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs" correlations. Cognac is a type of brandy, specifically made from wine hailing from the cognac region of France. It's also double distilled for double the fun in pot stills made of super cool copper. Henessy is a brand of cognac so, like, if you're feelin' a one dance, you might wanna get your hands on a bottle.

Because cognac is made from special wines, it has a special taste different from that of other brandies. Generally speaking, it's more subtle and gentler than, say, Armagnac, which tends to be far more robust. Think of cognac as your cute, adorable aunt who gets wine-giggly at dinner parties and says things like "goodness gracious."

How to down a glass

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Judy Holtz

Of course, you can go the typical party route and just do straight shots, because, hey, you needa get drunk with efficiency. But, if you'd rather savor the spicy, fruity notes of this aesthetic drink, you'll want to slow down a bit, stir the fireplace, open up a volume of something sophisticated, and sip at leisure. You are now a 1950s gentleman, congratulations.

However, if you wanna have a little more fun with it, you can whip together a classy cocktail that doesn't taste like a future hangover. A super known cocktail for brandy is a Metropolitan, which involves a hot threesome of brandy, sweet vermouth and simple syrup. Feelin' fall festive? You could also make this super satisfying Apple Cider Sangria instead of being basic with PSL.

Some other super fun options include Between the Sheets (cognac, light rum, Cointreu (triple sec), dash of lemon juice), the simpilized Sidecar (Cognac, Cointreau or triple sec, lemon juice), and a rather complicated Christmas drink known as a Tom & Jerry.

Knowing your alcohol is a sign of class, ladies and gents. Instead of debating brandy vs cognac, try to appreciate the differences between the two by having a glass of each tonight. Just, make sure you free up the morning after before you settle in for a night of booze and brilliance.

#SpoonTip: Spoon University does not support binge or underage drinking, so please drink your booze responsibly and then have a water.