My friend, Mark, blessed me with a wonderful coffee table book that celebrates one of my passions (and guilty pleasures): cognac. Cognac: A Liquid History is a lush, glossy work by a collector and connoisseur, recounting the history of the spirit and providing an overview of 30 houses, along with vintage notes.
But it made my Reformed heart sing when I learned of the good Calvinist heritage of this, my favorite spirit. The trade, Calabrese notes,
was expanded by the Huguenots, supported by their Protestant contacts in Amsterdam, London, and even the cities of Copenhagen and Hamburg. The Edict of Nantes, in effect, helped to secure these deals. The main towns in the region, including Cognac, Jarnac, Segonzac and, nearer the coast, La Rochelle, were Calvinist strongholds, as were many of the families who developed the burgeoning trade, such as the Delamains and Hines of Jarnac, the Augiers and Martells of Cognac (p. 46).
Given that Scots Presbyterians also blessed us with single malt scotch, you might wonder whether there’s something in Calvinism that drives one to drink!