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Why do you put honey in Hennessy?

Putting honey in Hennessy has become a popular trend, with people adding a spoonful or two of honey to their glass of Hennessy cognac. There are a few reasons why people add honey to their Hennessy drink.

It Smooths Out the Flavor

Firstly, the honey helps smooth out the flavor of the Hennessy cognac. Hennessy has a bold, oaky, slightly spicy flavor profile from being aged in oak barrels. The honey helps round out some of the spiciness and bold flavors. The touch of sweetness enhances the fruit notes in the cognac, making it taste more mellow and harmonious.

Honey contains fructose sugars that have an ability to mask some of the burn from the alcohol in the cognac. The glycerol in honey provides a velvety, viscous mouthfeel that coats the tongue. This allows you to better taste the layers of flavor in the cognac. The honey makes the Hennessy go down just a bit more smoothly.

It Helps Counter the Dryness

In addition, the honey helps counteract the dryness that can be felt when sipping straight cognac. Hennessy’s bold tannins can make the cognac taste drying on the palate. The honey provides a juicy sweetness that balances out the tannic dryness. Just a bit of honey makes the cognac more mellow and rounded on the tongue.

The viscosity and mouthcoating texture of honey helps leave the palate feeling refreshed rather than parched. This allows you to appreciate the flavor nuances of the aged brandy rather than just feeling the alcohol burn. The honey wets the palate just enough to make the Hennessy more enjoyable to sip neat.

It Lengthens the Finish

Moreover, adding a bit of honey to a glass of Hennessy can help lengthen the finish. Straight Hennessy can sometimes have a shorter finish, with the flavors dissipating quickly. The honey helps the flavors of oak, spice and fruit cling to the palate a bit longer for a lingering finish.

This makes the Hennessy more satisfying and complex to sip. You get to enjoy the cognac’s notes of candied fruit, cinnamon, vanilla, and honey for an extended period of time after each sip. The touch of honey makes the Hennessy a more layered sipping experience from start to lingering finish.

It Brings Out the Hennessy’s Sweet Notes

The honey also helps accentuate the subtle sweet notes in the Hennessy cognac. Hennessy is made from a blend of different aged eaux-de-vie from different growing regions of Cognac, France. Many of these eaux-de-vie are distilled from wines made from the Ugni Blanc grape, which tends to have underripe fruit flavors of apple and grape.

The honey complements these crisp fruit flavors and makes them seem just a bit riper and juicier. It also enhances the vanilla, butterscotch, and baking spice notes from the oak barrel aging. The added sweetness highlights the nuances that make Hennessy so complex and delicious.

It Makes a Smoother Cocktail

Adding a teaspoon or tablespoon of honey to a Hennessy cocktail can also help smooth and balance the drink. For example, honey goes fantastically in a Hennessy Sour cocktail, made with Hennessy VS, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white.

The honey helps tame the tartness of the lemon juice while also tempering the alcoholic bite of the Hennessy. This makes the drink have a beautiful, velvety texture and more integrated flavor. The egg white foam on top finds a luscious complement in the honey’s viscosity.

Hennessy Sour Recipe

Here is a recipe for a Hennessy Sour made extra lush with the addition of honey:

Hennessy VS Cognac 2 oz
Fresh lemon juice 1 oz
Honey syrup (1:1 honey:water) 1/2 oz
Egg white 1
Ice 1 cup

Add all the ingredients except ice to a cocktail shaker. Dry shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Add ice and shake again for 10-15 seconds. Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

It Can Tame the Burn of Higher-Proof Hennessy

Moreover, adding a bit of honey to your glass can help soften the bold alcoholic punch of higher-proof Hennessy bottlings. Options like Hennessy VSOP Privilège, XO, and Paradis have an alcohol content of 40-43% ABV rather than the 40% of the VS.

The extra alcohol can make these cognacs taste quite fiery without any dilution. Stirring in a spoonful of honey helps take the edge off the higher proof. The texture and flavor help integrate the alcohol warmth. This makes the bolder Hennessys a bit more rounded and mellow.

It Adds a Touch of Decadence

Finally, incorporating honey into your Hennessy drink simply adds an element of indulgence and decadence. The rich, silky, sweet honey makes the experience feel luxe and lavish.

Rather than harsh booze, the Hennessy with honey has a refined, gourmand taste profile. It feels like a special treat rather than just a casual drink. The touch of honey provides a first-class flavor experience.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, adding a bit of honey to your Hennessy can transform the flavor profile and drinking experience. The honey provides sweetness to counterbalance the dry, oaky cognac. It helps smooth out rough edges, highlight fruity nuances, and lengthen the finish.

Honey makes Hennessy feel richer and more mellow. It brings a lush, elegant character to cocktails. While Hennessy is great neat or on the rocks, honey adds an elevated dimension.

So next time you pour yourself a glass of Hennessy, consider incorporating a spoonful of honey. The complementary flavors blend beautifully for an extra smooth and satisfying sip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is adding honey to Hennessy a common practice?

While not extremely widespread, adding a bit of honey to Hennessy has become a popular hack among some connoisseurs. The touch of sweetness helps smooth out the Hennessy’s robust flavor profile for a more mellow sipping experience. It’s gaining traction as a tasty way to enhance the cognac.

Does the honey change the aroma of the Hennessy?

Stirring a spoonful of honey into your glass of Hennessy will not significantly alter the aromas. You’ll still get the fragrant notes of oak, spices, vanilla and fruit. If anything, the honey may help amplify the fruit and floral notes thanks to its own sweet scent.

What kind of honey works best with Hennessy?

Milder honeys like clover, orange blossom and acacia tend to work best so their flavor doesn’t overpower the cognac. Bolder honeys like buckwheat can clash. Avoid strongly flavored honeys and stick with lighter varieties to complement the Hennessy.

How much honey should you add to Hennessy?

As a general rule, stir just 1-2 teaspoons of honey into a glass of Hennessy. This provides a touch of sweetness without being overwhelming. Adjust according to your taste preferences for more or less honey flavor.

Does the honey dissolve well in the cognac?

Yes, the honey easily incorporates into the Hennessy with a quick stir. The honey’s viscosity blends smoothly into the rich, full body of the cognac. Within just a couple swirls of the glass, the honey will dissolve completely.

Does adding honey diminish the effects of the alcohol?

No, the small amount of honey does not significantly change the alcohol concentration of the Hennessy. It may help smooth out the alcoholic burn, but will not actually lower the ABV or reduce intoxicating effects.

Is there any specific way to incorporate the honey?

An easy method is to pour your Hennessy over ice, then drizzle in the honey and stir gently to combine. You can also stir the honey in first before adding ice. For cocktails, add to the shaker before shaking other ingredients. Don’t vigorously shake or overmix to avoid foaming.

Does the honey bring out more fruity notes in the Hennessy?

Yes, the touch of sweetness can help amplify the fruitiness of the eaux-de-vie in the cognac’s blend. Notes of apple, grape, cherry and dried fruit become more pronounced with a bit of honey stirred in.

Does Hennessy pair well with actual honey flavors like honeycomb?

Certainly! Pairing bites of honeycomb, honey toast or honey baked ham with Hennessy can be delicious. The real honey flavors will echo and build on the notes in the cognac. Candied nuts with honey also make a fantastic match.

Can you use honey to make a Hennessy glaze for cocktails or food?

Yes, simmering honey with a splash of Hennessy and a pinch of spice makes a phenomenal glaze for cocktails and food like meat, cheeses and fruit. Reduce it to a syrupy consistency then drizzle over drinks or dishes.

Are there any cocktails other than a Hennessy Sour that pair well with honey?

Honey plays nicely in all kinds of Hennessy cocktails! Add it to a Hennessy Mojito, Hennessy Rickey or Hennessy 75 for a touch of balanced sweetness. Also consider a Hennessy Bee Sting made with honey, lemon and Prosecco.