Liquor: Brandy & Cognac

Sip a glass of cognac and you’ll understand why the French say it’s made from l’eau de vie (the water of life). The velvety spirit is the most famous variety of brandy and is named for the area in France where it must be produced.

Cognacs are classified into a few general categories: VS, or very special, must be aged at least two years; VSOP, or very superior old pale, must be aged at least four years; and XO, or extra-old, must be aged at least six years.