Ways to distinguish a fake from a real cognac

Counterfeiting of alcoholic beverages has reached an incredible scale. News about mass poisoning by low-quality alcohol comes with enviable regularity. The situation is unlikely to change in the coming years. In order not to become a victim of counterfeit, consumers need to know how to distinguish real from fake cognac. We will look at the parameters that you need to pay attention to when choosing a drink.

1. Consistency

Before buying, you should study the consistency of cognac, it should be thick and oily. For this, the bottle is turned upside down. If one large drop has fallen from the bottom or you see traces of liquid dripping on the glass, this is one of the indicators of a quality drink.

Often the bottle is completely filled with liquid, and it is problematic to identify a fake in the above-mentioned way. In this case, they look at the bubbles. If immediately after turning the bottle upwards, large bubbles rise up and only then small ones – with some confidence it can be argued that this is a real cognac, at least its consistency is close to the original.

Good cognac should be perfectly transparent without impurities and sediment. Its color shade depends on the aging period, the novelty of the oak barrels and the amount of caramel added. In case of turbidity or the presence of impurities, it is impossible to drink cognac.

2. Label

It should be glued neatly. Often the label of counterfeit cognacs is glued asymmetrically, defects and damages are visible on it. In expensive drinks, the label is embossed, resembling banknotes to the touch. It must contain all the necessary information (manufacturer, excerpt, etc.). I also advise you to check the presence of an excise stamp on the bottle.

If you see a label made on low quality paper or with a bad print, it is better not to buy this cognac. It is by the label that experts distinguish real cognac from fake, but it is almost impossible to do this at home, since special equipment is required.

3. Price

Good cognacs cost a lot of money, so don’t be fooled by cheap drinks, which in most cases are fake or of poor quality. The classical technology for the production of cognac is quite complicated, it requires significant material and time costs. No manufacturer will operate at a loss.

When fake expensive cognacs, for example Hennessy, the price of the counterfeit is usually 30-40% lower than the original. At the same time, the consistency and label of the counterfeit drink is not in doubt, since fraudsters use expensive and advanced imitation technologies, which are very difficult to recognize. The only protection against counterfeiting branded cognacs is buying them in trusted stores at the average market price.

4. Tasting

Already purchased drink can be assessed by smell and taste. Real cognac has a pleasant aromatic bouquet that changes upon evaporation. To check this, just pour a few drops of cognac into the glass and sprinkle them all over the glass.

First, an oak aroma should appear, which, after shaking and heating in the palms of the hands, changes to the smell of tobacco, fruit, etc. A counterfeit made from chemical additives always smells the same. A pronounced taste or smell of alcohol indicates a low quality drink or a fake.

On the possibility of drinking wine in moderation

Wine is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages, but the debate about the harmfulness and benefits of its use does not subside to this day. Each of the parties brings more and more arguments, trying to prove their case. We will try to consider this issue from the point of view of a neutral observer.

In France, there is a tradition of drinking a glass of red wine at dinner. According to statistics, it is the French who suffer from cancer and cardiovascular diseases least of all in the world. In terms of average life expectancy, they are second only to the Japanese. It is clear that long life and the tradition of drinking wine are not directly related, but there is still some regularity.

It is scientifically proven that wine contains antioxidants – substances that slow down aging, and other trace elements necessary for the body. But the benefits of wine largely depend on the quantity and quality of the drink.

Without harming yourself, you can drink no more than 200-400 ml of wine per week. The exact amount is determined by the health status, sex and age of the person. Moreover, the wine must be of high quality. Surrogate, fermented and expired drinks are dangerous even in minimal quantities and are not beneficial.

You can not drink wine for people who have contraindications: asthma, stomach ulcers, diabetes, epilepsy, migraines, allergies to substances in wine, taking antibiotics, etc. In large quantities, wine, like any other alcohol, causes alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Also, most doctors recommend that pregnant women completely abandon wine in the first weeks of pregnancy. But after 15-17 weeks, you can drink a glass of good wine, half diluted with non-carbonated water.

There are people who have limited the use of wine or completely abandoned it for religious reasons, this is their choice. The first ban applies to Muslims, they cannot drink any alcohol. Christians have more options, but they also have restrictions on wine during fasting and other holidays.

Classic hot beer

For some reason, there is a stereotype that beer can only be drunk cold. Most Russians would never even think of trying hot beer, although in Scandinavian countries it is customary to treat guests to this drink and treat colds. I propose to consider the most popular recipe for making homemade hot beer.

Historical reference

Hot beer was invented by the Scandinavians in the 15th century. Several centuries later the recipe was adopted by Poles and Germans. The latter used the brew as a cure for coughs and sore throats. Gradually, hot beer, along with mulled wine, became a traditional European drink for the winter holidays, replacing tea and coffee.

In order to get really tasty and healthy alcohol in moderation, it is not enough just to boil regular beer on the stove and pour it into a glass. Hot beer, called beer mulled wine, is prepared according to a special recipe.

The classic hot beer recipe


  • beer (any) – 1 liter;
  • sugar – 1-2 tablespoons;
  • carnation – 3-4 buds;
  • cinnamon – 1 pinch;
  • yolks – 3 pieces;
  • lemon – 1 piece;
  • orange peel to taste.


1. Heat beer to 70 ° C in a saucepan beer (light or dark) along with cinnamon, cloves and zest of one lemon.

2. Grind egg yolks with sugar until frothy and slowly pour into a pot of hot beer.

3. Reduce heat, stir constantly until the mixture thickens.

It is very important that the hot beer does not boil over again, otherwise the yolks will cook!

4. Remove the thickened drink from the stove, pour into large glasses, add orange zest if desired and serve.

When treating sore throats and coughs, I advise you to add a few tablespoons of honey to hot beer. The patient can drink 1 cup a day. Beer mulled wine tastes good and does not cause discomfort.

You should not listen to the opinion of people who believe that beer should only be cold. Most likely, they just never tasted hot beer and are captive to their stereotypes. Not everyone liked blue cheese either, but now it is an exquisite dish.

Comparative analysis of bottled and live beer

Brewers all over the world argue about which beer is better to drink: draft, bottled, in kegs, cans, etc. It is difficult for an inexperienced consumer to navigate and choose the best option. To facilitate this task, I propose to discuss the difference between bottled and draft beer.

Real live beer can be stored for up to 10 days, then its taste deteriorates. If the shelf life is more than 30 days on the label, this is a pasteurized beer in which some of the nutrients are irretrievably lost. Manufacturers also use chemical preservatives to increase shelf life, many of which are considered carcinogens.

It is believed that ordinary live beer is sold in bottles, it is just that instead of barrels it is poured into another container. But this is not the case. To increase the shelf life up to 90-120 days, any bottled beer is pasteurized – heated, and then quickly cooled. After pasteurization, the beer “freezes”, natural fermentation processes stop in it, which negatively affects the taste.

Draft beer made according to the classical technology is never added to chemicals. Immediately after preparation, it is poured into barrels. Due to the sealing, the drink can be stored for up to 30 days, but most breweries recommend limiting it to 7 days.

Unfortunately, not all beer in barrels is live. There are unscrupulous manufacturers who add preservatives to it. There is only one solution to this problem – to drink beer of proven brands brewed nearby (in your own or a neighboring city). This will reduce the likelihood of drinking harmful chemical additives with beer. It may not be the best beer in the world, but you will be sure of its quality.

Another interesting point – the fullness of the beer taste is revealed only in the glass. The fact is that through the narrow neck of the bottle, the liquid enters only a small part of the receptors on the tongue, and the taste is felt incompletely.

Bottled beer is best drunk when you want to taste a particular brand. For example, we do not have live German beer on sale, since it is not profitable to bring it to us. In all other cases, I recommend drinking draft beer. But it must be fresh and brewed according to traditional technology.

The most famous brands of cognacs – top 8 brands

There are thousands of cognac producers in the world, but only a few of them managed to become famous and respected. We take a look at 8 of the best brands to follow. These are recognizable brands that have written down the name of their creators in history and brought substantial fortunes to their descendants.

1. Hennessy (Hennessy) – the most famous cognac house in the world. It is part of the Louis Vuitton luxury goods holding – Moët Hennessy. With a production volume of 50 million bottles per year, it ranks first in the world in the sale of cognacs.

The company was founded by an Irish officer Richard Hennessy. After retiring in 1745, he settled in the city of Cognac, where he began his own production. At first, his cognacs were liked by the nobles at the court of Louis XVI, and after several decades the Hennessy brand was known throughout Europe.

2. Rémy Martin (Remy Martin) – the second largest cognac house in France, founded in 1695 by a young winemaker Remy Martin. The brand is currently owned by the Rémy Cointreau Group.

3. Augier – the oldest cognac house in the world, founded in 1643. The products are characterized by stable production technology. In Ogier, craftsmen use only ancient recipes.

4. Bisquit (Bisquit) – this cognac house was founded in 1819 by the twenty-year-old Alexander Bisquit. Products are supplied to the United States, Great Britain, Germany and other countries. In 1965, the brand and vineyard plantations were bought by the Pernod-Ricard company. Since then, Bisquit cognac harmoniously combines the traditions of aging and modern production technology.

5. Camus (Camus) – the brand has existed since 1863, it still belongs to the descendants of the founder Jean Baptiste. This cognac house has 125 hectares of vineyards throughout France. Previously, Camus cognacs were supplied to the royal courts of Europe, now they are considered elite and are sold only in expensive specialized stores.

6. Courvoisier (Courvoisier) – cognac house, founded by Emmanuel Courvoisier. It was the cognacs of this brand that Napoleon Bonaparte drank. After the defeat of the emperor at Waterloo, British officers tried Napoleon’s favorite cognac for the first time. Since then, Emmanuel Courvoisier has also supplied his cognacs to England.

This cognac house has its own production technology, which does not involve distillation. Alcohol is extracted not from grapes, but from finished wine. In the cellars of the Courvoisier cognac house there are over 3 thousand bottles aged over 200 years.

7. Davidoff (Davidoff) – the company began its history with the sale of its own cigarettes. In 1964, it was founded by the son of Kiev emigrants, Zino Davidoff, whose family worked all their lives in a tobacco factory.

Very soon Davidoff cigarettes and cigars became a symbol of sophistication and refined taste. Cognac Davidoff appeared as an addition to cigars. It comes in exclusive bottles and is made from Hennessy spirits. This drink is for very wealthy gentlemen, it can be purchased only in elite stores.

8. Delamain – in 1824 this cognac house was founded by James Delamain – an English nobleman who owned his own estate in France. First of all, Delamain brandies are known for their light color and unsurpassed fruit taste. These are drinks for true connoisseurs.

Experts consider the most famous brands of domestic cognac (grape brandy): Moskovsky, Kutuzov, Shustov, Ararat, Bagration, Noy and Bely Aist. But they are still far from well-known French manufacturers.

How to relieve a hangover at home

After a stormy feast, a heavy gloomy morning comes. The head hurts, the stomach refuses to work, there is a dry mouth and complete powerlessness. The day after drinking, these symptoms indicate a severe hangover (alcohol intoxication). I advise those who suffer from a hangover to learn how to get rid of a hangover at home. But there are no quick remedies, for a full recovery it takes at least 12-14 hours.

First, let’s find out what NOT to do with a hangover:

1. Drink alcoholic beverages. We like to knock out a wedge with a wedge. If alcohol is the cause of the terrible condition, then another portion is needed. Indeed, after a bottle of beer or 100 g of vodka it becomes easier, but you risk closing the circle. The treatment of a hangover with alcoholic drinks gradually turns into a new feast, and the next day the head hurts again. This is how the binge begins with all the ensuing consequences.

2. Take a bath or go to the bathhouse. Alcohol intoxication makes the heart work with increased stress. High temperature creates additional problems for the cardiovascular system.

3. Drink coffee and hot tea. Coffee increases heart rate and dry mouth. In turn, tea causes fermentation in the stomach, increasing intoxication. If you have a hangover, it is better to refuse these drinks.

How CAN a hangover be treated:

1. Sleep well. Sleep is the best hangover cure. You need to sleep until the feeling of sleepiness leaves you. Only in a dream does the body actively fight alcohol intoxication.

2. Drink plenty of mineral water, compotes and natural juices. These drinks prevent dehydration and restore the vitamin and mineral balance of the body. A cucumber pickle rich in minerals and salts is also suitable.

3. Take a light shower. Summer-temperature water washes away toxins from the skin, which are released along with sweat drops. The skin becomes clearer and better absorbs oxygen, allowing the person to recover from the hangover faster.

4. Drink a few tablets of activated charcoal. With a hangover, activated charcoal should always be drunk. It neutralizes the effects of toxic substances, preventing further poisoning of the body.

5. Take an aspirin tablet. It is recommended if the head hurts from a hangover and there are no stomach problems.

6. Eat borsch, soup or scrambled eggs. Soups and borscht are rich in vitamins, and scrambled eggs are rich in protein and amino acids. All these substances are necessary for the normal functioning of the liver – the natural filter of our body.

7. Get some fresh air. At least open the window. Better yet, go for a walk in the park. Ventilation of the lungs helps to improve metabolic processes and removes the unpleasant smell of alcohol from the mouth. But if you want to sleep, then it’s better to stay at home.

All of these methods only stimulate the normal functioning of the body, but none of them will help you quickly get out of a hangover, as it takes time. At your own peril and risk, you can use the widely advertised medical products, the manufacturers of which assure of their lightning-fast effect. But the safety of these pills is questioned by many experts.

Attention! Self-medication can be dangerous, consult your doctor.

The best vodka in the world – brand rating

Until recently, no one made a rating of the best vodkas in the world. Only in 2011, a company engaged in the supply of vodka to the United States held a similar competition. Thanks to her efforts, we can name the best vodka in the world according to American consumers and experts. There are many Russian manufacturers on the list, but the French brand took the lead.

The experts in this competition were representatives of the wine industry, professional tasters and ordinary consumers. Each brand was evaluated by 30-40 people. The balls were exhibited according to the following criteria: taste, aroma, clarity, mouthfeel and appearance of the bottle. The results of the competition will seem strange to many Russians, but do not forget that the rating was compiled by American experts and consumers, and their taste preferences differ in many respects from ours.

15 of the best vodkas in the world:

1. Gray Goose (France) – the winning vodka is made from selected grains of the French province of Cognac and water from the famous Gente spring. The drink goes through a natural process of cleaning with limestone and distillation in small batches five times. Experts believe that due to its high quality, the Gray Goose brand will become the world’s best-selling vodka in a few years.

2. Crystall (Russia) – fine vodka taste is achieved thanks to special additives. The production uses only “Lux” class alcohol and a specially developed carbohydrate module “Alcosoft”. The acidity regulator is malic acid.

3. Krolewska (Poland) – the best grains and water in Poland put the Krolewska brand in third place. This vodka amazed the experts with the exquisite design of its bottle.

4. Youri Dolgoruki (Russia) – prepared according to the classic vodka recipe. It contains only the best ingredients and special additives to improve and soften the taste.

5. Finlandia (Finland) is a quality Finnish vodka with a balanced taste that has long conquered the American market.

6. Jewel of Russia (Russia) – is made from alcohol of wheat rusks, also contains microscopic pieces of gold foil, fructose and lactose. The unconventional production technology was highly appreciated by experts.

7. Vincent (Holland) – this vodka is made only in small batches from wheat and barley. It goes through two stages of distillation, which softens the taste of alcohol.

8. Rain (USA) – made from corn. For filtration, diamond dust and coal are used. This vodka has practically no taste.

9. Ketel One (Holland) – traditional Dutch vodka.

10. 3 Olives (England) – the top 10 best vodkas are closed by the English brand, which has shown good results.

11. Russian Standard (Russia) – selected grain and water from lakes allowed the Russian Standard brand to take a high place in the rating.

12. Vox (Holland) – high quality vodka based on the best alcohols.

13. Stolichnaya (Russia) – almost all our compatriots know about this brand of vodka, it does not need a separate introduction.

14. Vermont Spirits White (USA) – the experts put this brand only in 14th place. It is not yet included in the top ten vodka producers.

15. Absolut (Sweden) – a well-known Swedish brand, which unexpectedly found itself in a low position for itself, closes the list of winners. The shape of her bottle resembles a medical bottle.

Based on the presented rating, Crystall is the best vodka in Russia, and 4 more brands are in the top 15. But this is the opinion of the Americans, we have not yet held such authoritative contests. Polls for 2013-2014 show that in Russia the leading brands are Stolichnaya, Finlandia and Graf Ledoff, but it is impossible to verify the completeness and veracity of these data.

Purification of moonshine from an unpleasant odor

Many novice moonshiners encounter the unpleasant smell of moonshine. Craftsmen have come up with several simple methods that allow you to quickly and effectively eliminate the problem at home, without spending a lot of time and effort. We will consider the most effective options that have been tested in practice.

6 methods to remove odors from moonshine

1). Pour 2-3 grams of potassium permanganate powder into a 3-liter jar of the finished product. Wait for a precipitate to settle. To speed up the process, it is enough to close the jar, shake it several times and put it in a water bath with a temperature of 50-70 ° C for 10-15 minutes.

2). For 1 liter of moonshine, add 8-10 grams of regular (baking) soda, mix, leave for 20-30 minutes. Then stir again and leave for 10-12 hours. Then drain the top layer of the liquid and remove the sediment at the bottom. Soda removes fusel oils well, which cause an unpleasant odor.

3). Soak the moonshine on the violet root for 12 days (100 grams of crushed plant per 3 liters of moonshine). This old recipe is of little use for city dwellers, since it is very difficult to find the violet root on sale, but its effectiveness is very high.

4). Freeze moonshine in a metal barrel or glass container. Water freezes to the edges of the keg (bottle) along with harmful impurities. After the water turns into ice, pour the moonshine (remains liquid) into another container. Repeat the process several times if necessary. The method is simple and cheap, only a refrigerator is required.

In some villages, large quantities of moonshine are cleaned by freezing all year round. For this, the peasants build special underground glaciers, in which snow can lie until late autumn.

5). Re-distillation. Dilute the moonshine with water to 15-20% and re-distill, dividing the finished product into fractions. The method is laborious, time-consuming, but the most effective.

6. Cleaning with charcoal. We need charcoal obtained from birch (BAU-A and BAU-LV brands). Technology: grind coal, wrap it in several layers of gauze. Pass the moonshine through the resulting filter.

In this case, activated charcoal from a pharmacy is ineffective, tablets can only absorb large molecules of fusel oils, and most of the harmful impurities will pass freely.

Classification of cognac by aging

It can be difficult for an untrained person to correctly determine the age of cognac – the time of its aging in oak barrels. The “stars” familiar to us are found only on ordinary cognacs (grape brandies) produced in the former USSR. Real French cognacs have a different classification based on symbolic meanings. We will consider both labeling options so that you don’t have any problems with a drink from any manufacturer.

Exposure of cognac is considered until the moment it is bottled, after which the drink stops “aging”. The time it is in the bottle is not critical, since the quality does not change.

French classification

The standards are set and controlled by the National Interprofessional Bureau of Cognacs. Age is determined by the aging of the youngest alcohol contained in the drink. For example, if alcohols of 3, 5 and 6 years are mixed, then the aging of the resulting cognac is 3 years.

Consumers learn about the aging of the drink thanks to special markings on the label:

  • VS (Very Special), Trois Etoiles, de Luxe, Selection – at least 2 years;
  • Superior – at least 3 years of aging;
  • VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale), Vieux, Reserve or VO (Very Old) – at least 4 years old;
  • VVSOP (Very Very Superior Old Pale) and Grande Reserve – at least 5 years old;
  • XO (Extra Old), Vieille Reserve, Tres Vieux, Extra, Royal or Napoleon – at least 6 years old.

French legislation prohibits labeling cognacs older than six and a half years, since it is almost impossible to control their blend and quality.

Domestic labeling of cognacs

The classification used by producers from the former Soviet Union (mainly Armenian brandy houses) is much simpler. It distinguishes ordinary, vintage and collection cognacs.

Ordinary cognacs are marked with asterisks. Each such asterisk indicates the year of aging in oak barrels. For example, if you see 5 stars on a bottle, then this is a five-year-old brandy. It should be noted that there are no domestic cognacs aged less than 3 years (theoretically), GOST prohibits the use of such young cognac spirits.

Categories of cognac

There are letter designations on vintage cognacs, they are as follows:

  • KV (Aged Cognac) – at least 6 years of aging;
  • KVVK (Aged Cognac of the Highest Quality) – at least 8 years;
  • KS (Old Cognac) – at least 10 years;
  • OS (Very Old) – the drink is at least 12 years old.

Cognacs that have been aged for more than 23 years are considered collectible. These are very expensive drinks bought by wealthy connoisseurs for private collections.

Beer with sour cream for weight gain

As a result of mixing beer with sour cream, an original drink is obtained that has a specific taste that is difficult to compare with other products. Not everyone likes this combination, but I advise you to try it as an experiment. The high calorie content of the mixture promotes rapid weight gain. The main rule is not to spare sour cream.

Warning! Beer with sour cream should not be drunk daily, as it is harmful to the liver and can subsequently result in alcoholism. A cocktail allows you to quickly gain only fat mass, as a result, a person does not look so skinny. For muscle gain, this drink is useless.

Beer recipe with sour cream


  • sour cream – 200 grams;
  • light beer – 0.33 l.


1). Pour sour cream into a beer mug.

2). Add 100-150 ml of beer, stir until smooth.

3). Top up the rest of the beer and stir again.

It turns out a white cocktail (see photo).

Simple beer soup with sour cream

I also advise fans of exotic dishes to prepare beer soup with sour cream according to the following recipe.


  • beer – 1.5 liters;
  • sour cream – 2 glasses;
  • yolk – 3 pieces;
  • butter – 1 tablespoon;
  • sugar, salt – to taste;
  • croutons (sliced croutons) – to taste.


1). Bring the beer and crackers to a boil.

2). In a separate bowl, beat the sour cream, yolks, sugar and salt.

3). Pour the boiled beer slowly into the yolks, stir.

4). Heat the resulting mixture over low heat until thickened.

5). Pour the finished beer soup into the tureen. Serve in bouillon cups.