What can I use instead of Hennessy Cognac? The best substitutes for Hennessy Cognac are other cognacs made by Rémy Martin, Martell, and Courvoisier. Other delicious alternatives include Armagnac, Grand Marnier, regular brandy, and whiskey.
Hennessy Cognac is a French brandy made since 1765. To be labeled cognac, brandy must be AOC certified, made from Ugni white grapes in France’s Cognac region, twice distilled in copper pots, and barrel-aged in oak for at least two years. Hennessy Cognac is appreciated for its sweet fruity flavor and velvety mouthfeel. Here are the best seven substitutes for Hennessy Cognac.
The Best Hennessy Cognac Substitutes
Rémy Martin Cognac
The best substitute for Hennessy Cognac is made by Rémy Martin.
Rémy Martin is one of the oldest producers of cognac in the world, established in 1724.
Like Hennessy, they produce cognac of various ages and expressions, with VS (very special) cognac aged for two years, VSOP (very special old pale) for four years, and XO (extra old) for 10 years plus.
Rémy Martin’s most famous cognac is Louis XVIII, named for the French king who recognized cognac as separate from brandy.
This cognac was first made in 1784 and is a blend of 1200 Eaux-de-vie (fruit brandies). Aged from 40 to 100 years, Louis XVIII comes in an exquisitely designed bottle with a flavor profile including oak, tobacco, honey, and dried fruit.
The price and quality of Rémy Martin will encourage you to savor it neat rather than in cocktails.
Replace Hennessy with equal measures of Rémy Martin.
Another perfect alternative to Hennessy Cognac is Martell.
Martell was founded in 1715 and is the oldest cognac producer in France.
Martell’s flagship product is their VSOP, Blue Swift, aged in bourbon barrels, giving it a bold, rich flavor of oak, vanilla, and spices. Their XO, Cordon Bleu, is aged for 10-125 years and combines grapes from four regions of Cognac.
Substitute Hennessy’s VSOP or XO with Martell’s version and enjoy it neat or with a few drops of water to release more flavor. Martell’s is also delicious on the rocks.
Use the same amount of Martell Cognac to replace Hennessy’s.
The last of the “big four” cognac producers, Courvoisier, produces cognac to substitute for Hennessy’s.
Courvoisier was established in 1835, in Jarnac. This cognac house is known for its untraditional approach, blending of young and old eaux-de-vie, and never owning vineyards.
The company began as a liquor trader, with one of its famous customers being French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte. Apart from ordering cognac for his troops, Napoleon took several casks of Courvoisier cognac into exile with him.
Modern fans include Busta Rymes and P. Diddy, whose hit song was an ode to the popular beverage.
Enjoy Courvoisier’s VS (very special) cognac as an alternative to Hennessy’s two-year-old vintage. Fans love the oak, raisins, and caramel flavors combined with an aftertaste of peppery spice.
Drink Courvoisier VS neat or in a classic brandy cocktail, like the Metropolitan, Sidecar, or Brandy Smash.
Replace Hennessy’s Cognac 1:1 with Couvoisier.
Try Armagnac as a delightful alternative to Hennessy Cognac.
Armagnac is a French brandy produced in the southwestern Gascony area of France. Like cognac, Armagnac is AOC designated, with regulations including a single distillation followed by aging in oak.
The flavor of Armagnac differs slightly from cognac, as it is higher in alcohol, with a thicker consistency, and has a more complex flavor. Being a kind of brandy, Armagnac remains sweet and fruity.
Armagnac’s appealing flavor makes it a favorite for gravy, meat dishes, and desserts; it is unlikely that anyone would use Hennessy’s for cooking.
Replace Hennessy’s with Armagnac as a digestif, especially if you have an aged Armagnac. Sip it neat at room temperature. It’s also delicious on the rocks, or brûlot, where the Armagnac is flambéed using sugar.
Enjoy Armagnac in cocktails like the Stinger or Sidecar, using the same amount of Armagnac as you would Hennessy’s.
For an unusual Hennessy Cognac replacement, try Grand Marnier.
Grand Marnier, made since 1880, is a cognac-based beverage but isn’t strictly speaking a cognac, despite being made in the Cognac region.
Although it contains more than 51% of cognac and is aged in oak, Grand Marnier is regarded as a liqueur as it is infused with orange peel and sugar.
This renowned orange liqueur has the fruity caramel undertones of cognac. Still, its flavor profile is dominated by sweet orange and spice notes. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety.
Grand Marnier, especially the Cordon Rouge, is a tasty alternative for Hennessy’s Cognac sipped as a digestif.
If you find Grand Marnier has enough of a cognac undertone, add it to cocktails like the Grand Mimosa (with prosecco and orange juice), Manhattan, or Sidecar.
Substitute Grand Marnier for equal measures of Hennessy Cognac.
A convenient and budget-friendly replacement for Hennessy’s Cognac is brandy.
Cognac is a form of brandy, just as champagne is a form of sparkling wine. For most people, a regular and less expensive bottle of brandy will do the job, as well as a high-end product can.
The best alternatives to Hennessy’s Cognac will be brandy made from grapes rather than flavored with other fruit, like apples and apricots. Choose the best-quality brandy you can afford, both for cooking and drinking.
It is more pocket-friendly to use brandy instead of Hennessy’s for cooking. It’s ideal when deglazing a pan, making pan gravy, adding to coq a vin, and flavoring French onion soup.
Use brandy for adding flavor to bakes, especially flambéed desserts, seasoned fruit cakes, and brandy torte.
Brandy is perfect for cocktails like the classic Brandy Cocktail, eggnog, and brandy punch.
Replace Hennessy with the same amount of brandy.
From a different tradition altogether, whiskey is a fantastic substitute for Hennessy Cognac.
Whiskey is made from fermented grain (wheat, rye or barley) mash rather than grapes and is always aged in casks.
The spelling indicates origin: whiskey is from Ireland or the US, while whisky is from Scotland, Australia, or Japan.
Scotch is whisky from Scotland, made from barley and aged up to 50 years. Bourbon is an American whiskey made from corn and aged to specific regulations.
Although whiskey does not have the same flavor profile or mouthfeel as Hennessy’s Cognac, the oak-aged undertone, the complexity of flavor, and the alcohol content are common to both.
To substitute whiskey for Hennessy’s Cognac, enjoy it as a sipping drink, on the rocks, or with water.
Enjoy whiskey instead of Hennessy’s in equal amounts, with the proviso that whiskey has an intensely alcohol-forward taste without cognac’s sweetness.