Angel’s Share

In the meticulous production process of cognac, one pivotal stage involves the maturation of the spirit in oak barrels.

The journey begins with Eau de vies, boasting an alcohol content of approximately 70% abv after distillation. Yet, to achieve the optimal conditions for extracting rich flavors from the wood, the Eau de vies are diluted with distilled water to reach a concentration of 65% abv just before they enter the barrel. The alcohol content of the final product is 40% abv.

As these spirits rest in the barrels, ethanol and water, the two essential components of the Eau de vies, slowly evaporate through the porous oak. While both substances dissipate, ethanol, on average, evaporates at a slightly greater rate, resulting in a gradual decrease in its concentration.

Over the course of a year, about 2% of the barrel’s contents vanish into thin air through this process, aptly named the “angel’s share” (“la part des Anges”). In the region of Cognac, it seems the angels have a particularly robust presence, as they claim a significant portion of the spirit’s essence.

You can delve deeper into the captivating history, production, and the role of angels and the Devil in the world of cognac in my article about cognac.

As for the cocktail that bears the name, it fully lives up to its rich and warming reputation.

Angel’s Share was thoughtfully crafted in 2005 by Jacques Bezuidenhout at Harry Denton’s Sunlight Room in San Francisco.


-1/4 oz / 7.5 ml Green Chartreuse
-1 1/2 oz / 45 ml Cognac
-3/4 oz / 22.5 ml Nocello Walnut Liqueur
-1/2 oz / 15 ml Tawny port

Pour Chartreuse into the glass and coat the glass walls with the liqueur. Discard the excess liqueur.
Alight the liqueur inside the glass and allow it to burn for a few seconds. Extinguish the flame by placing a saucer over the glass. Add other ingredients and swirl to mix.


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