You’ve got to feel sorry for brandy. Long associated with cigar smoking old men; even getting name dropped in dozens of rap songs hasn’t made it any more hip hop to drink.

The price is one problem. A decent brandy will set you back at least $20 with many — especially a top drawer French Cognac — well over $50. There’s more trouble in the glass. Brandy may be distilled wine but its flavour can come across full-bodied and boozy with what seems like a raw, burnt-like taste. Plus, other than service from a snifter, what can you do with it?

To bring brandy into the 21st century its makers have reported for kitchen duty: looking for ways to associate their spirit with food and encouraging you to pour their creations ice cold.

I gave it a try by popping a bottle of Rémy Martin’s V.S.O.P. Cognac ($67.49 - $87.95) into my refrigerator’s freezer for a couple of hours and was impressed to find how the chill softened the perception of alcohol and enhanced its creamy butterscotch flavours; making it a great match with savory foods like smoked salmon, gorgonzola cheese and tuna sushi.

– Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.

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