Pineau des Charentes

Pineau des CharentesAre you looking for something different and delicious this holiday season? Pineau des Charentes will be in some mighty fine cocktails at our place. What is it? Produced exclusively in France’s Cognac region, PdC is a fortified wine made of fresh grape juice and blended with Cognac. Classified as a wine, you will more likely find this unique beverage behind a bar than in a wine cellar. Read on for more information.

What is Pineau des Charentes?

Pineau des Charentes cocktail kitPineau des Charentes is approachable, versatile, aromatic and full of flavor. It combines a wine’s elegance with the kick of a spirit. We recently received a sample of Jean-Luc Pasquet Pineau des Charentes. As well, a kit and recipes accompanied the bottle, so we could create specialty cocktails. In addition, we enjoyed it as an apéritif and after dinner with dessert. Moreover, PdC has 17-19% alcohol. It’s lighter than a spirit but more robust than a wine. Of course, we mixed some up!

Pineau des Charentes Cocktail Recipes

Ms. Franky Marshall, a brand ambassador, created a signature recipe, Martinelle. She says PdC is one of her favorite spirited wines from France. “This beverage is bright and crisp, just like the Charentes region where it’s made.”

We followed her recipe earlier this week at a Cognac tasting with our “booze group.” Oh my, Martinelle is an easy-drinking cocktail. And it goes down quickly! This tasty drink features harmonious flavors of pears, apricots, honey and hazelnut with a kick of cognac and gin. Delicious!

Pineau Academy offers recipes for many other cocktails and signature cocktails to try.

Pineau Academy

The Pineau des Charentes Committee created the Pineau Academy to connect consumers and trade in the U.S. with this unique beverage. More than 500 wineries and trade companies produce PdC in France’s Charente region, home to the town of Cognac.

PdC shares much of its history with Cognac, drawing on the same skills and expertise. According to legend, in the late 16th century, a wine-grower carelessly threw grape must into a barrel containing Cognac eau-de-vie. Years later, a winemaker discovered the barrel with a limpid wine with golden hints. Voila! The introduction of Pineau des Charentes, the result of a happy accident.

Over the years, PdC flourished. However, cellar masters crafted it confidentially behind closed doors. It remained a closely guarded secret for more than four centuries, only poured at weddings and family events.

That all changed in 1920, when the industry organized. In 1935, Appellation d’Origine status followed. Finally, in 1945, PdC obtained the label “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée,” which guarantees its origin and quality. Pineau des Charentes is now exported across the world.


So let’s get started. First, click on the links above to download the recipes for each cocktail. Next, gather a bottle of PdC and the other ingredients. Finally, mix away!

In conclusion, Pineau des Charentes is an unusual, refreshing and festive drink for the holidays. But you can also enjoy it any time of the year. Try it as an apéritif, a digestif or in a delicious signature cocktail.

Thank you, Pineau Academy and Sopexa, for the sample kit.  

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Margot and Dave