The digestif is an alcoholic drink served after dinner to aid digestion. So, one may ask, does it? Well yes it does. I guess that you would expect me to say this as luxury cognac producer, but I can support that view. I have on occasions, taken a small cognac after a meal and having done so, I experienced greater well-being than when no such digestif was available.
Indeed, I recall that my Grandmother, who was a lady in waiting for a rich socialite who lived in my hometown of Chichester, always enjoyed a cognac after a meal. Perhaps it was because of a type of social correctness or maybe because the ladies and gentlemen around the table (this would have been in the 1920s and 1930s) really did find that it helped relieve the effects of the generous portions served at that time.
There is also a certain etiquette to serving a cognac. It is, after all, the top dog of the digestif arena, best known for its high alcoholic content, a quality which promotes the production of enzymes, said to help digestion. We have more recently been bombarded with all sorts of alternative digestifs; whisky, whiskey, liqueurs, rum and even white spirits have been suggested by drink entrepreneurs as suitable ways to settle ones stomach after a heavy meal. But for me, when one drinks wine all evening, continuing with the honest grape, albeit reduced from wine by a factor of ten and aged in an oak cask for decades, cognac is the perfect and most deserving way to end the evening.
Last night I had a small glass of a very old single estate cognac and awoke in the knowledge that I had enjoyed a unique experience. Every cognac house crafts their cognacs according to their family traditions and skills, and every single estate cognac is different. When I went to bed I dreamed about the aromas and taste and the pleasure the cognac had given me and I felt great the next day. Yes, it is the perfect digestif.