If you’re a cognac connoisseur, you’ll already be familiar with the virtues of this upscale French brandy. Whether enjoyed neat or on the rocks, it’s a rich, fruity dreamboat of a drink. It’s also one that pairs wonderfully with other flavors, making it an excellent base for a cocktail. If you’re ready to try something new, here are 10 cognac cocktails to try.
1. French 75
If you’ve only ever tried a French 75 cocktail made with gin, you’re missing out. Cognac adds a lovely addition to the drink, making a cocktail fit for even the most special occasion. To try it for yourself, you’ll need 1 to 2 ounces cognac, 1 teaspoon simple syrup, 1/2 ounce lemon juice (freshly squeezed), 4 ounces Champagne, and a lemon twist Add the cognac, simple syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Half fill a Champagne flute with ice and strain in the mixture. Top up with Champagne and add the lemon twist as a garnish to finish.
2. Classic Sidecar
When most people think of cognac cocktails, the one that first springs to mind is the Sidecar. And for very good reason – it’s a classic. A gorgeously harmonious tipple that strikes the ideal balance between sweet and tart, it boasts a full, complex flavor and a good boozy kick from the cognac. To make one at home, you’ll need 2 ounces cognac, 1 ounce premium triple sec, 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a lemon twist for garnish. Start by rimming a glass with sugar. Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice before straining the drink into the prepared cocktail glass and garnishing with the lemon twist.
You don’t need a long list of ingredients to make a tempting tipple. Sometimes, the simplest cocktails are the best, as this classic combination of cognac and creme de menthe proves. To make a Stinger, simply add .25 oz. cognac and 0.75 oz. creme de menthe to a rock glass filled with ice, stir, and garnish with a mint spring to serve. The result is minty, fresh, dry and absolutely loaded with flavor.
4. Vieux Carré
If there’s one place on Earth that knows how to make a good drink better than most, it’s New Orleans. Created in 1930s New Orleans, the Vieux Carré is a complex, intriguing drink that combines cognac, rye whiskey, and sweet vermouth to magical effect. Elevating the pairing into the stratosphere is Bénédictine, along with not one, but two kinds of bitters. Smoky, citrusy, and sweetly spiced, it’s a sensation. Start by gathering 3/4 ounce rye whiskey, 3/4 ounce cognac, 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters, and 1/2 ounce Bénédictine liqueur. Add the ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a glass and add ice and a cherry to serve.
5. French Cocktail
The French Cocktail might not be complicated, but it is delicious, combining cognac and amaretto to create a drink with an aromatic, slightly caramelized nuttiness that’s perfect for rounding off a meal. To make, simply combine 1 1/2 ounces cognac with 3/4 ounce amaretto liqueur in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice, stir, and enjoy.
6. Morning Glory
The Morning Glory is a little bit like the Vieux Carré, but instead of adding vermouth to the pairing of cognac and rye whiskey, it calls for orange curaçao and simple syrup instead. The result is a flavor explosion you won’t forget in a hurry. Start by adding 1-ounce of rye whiskey, 1-ounce of cognac, 1 teaspoon of orange curaçao liqueur, a dash of absinthe, 1 teaspoon of simple syrup, and 2 of dashes of aromatic bitters to a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into a glass, add ice, and top up with club soda. Add a twist of lemon peel as a garnish.
Another classic cocktail from New Orleans next, this time in the shape of the Sazerac. To make, bespokeunit.com recommends gathering 50 ml (1¾ oz) cognac, 15 ml (½ oz) absinthe, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, and 1 lemon peel. Rinse the absinthe around a tumbler glass then discard the excess. Stir together the cognac and bitters in an ice-filled mixer before straining them into the prepared glass. Add the lemon peel as garnish.
8. Café Amore
As The Spruce Eats notes, cognac is delicious when it’s heated, especially when it’s paired with amaretto and coffee. Ideal as an after-dinner drink, it’s made by adding 1-ounce of cognac and 1-ounce amaretto liqueur to an Irish coffee glass and topping up with 6 ounces of black coffee. For an extra special treat, add whip[ped cream and shaved almonds to finish.
9. Tom Collins
Although a Tom Collins is traditionally made with gin, there’s nothing in the rule book to say you can substitute it for another base. Try it with a high-quality cognac for a zesty, refreshing tipple with a big boozy kick. To take it for a test drive at home, start by gathering your ingredients – you’ll need 1½ oz cognac, ¾ oz lemon juice, ¾ oz simple syrup, 3 oz club soda, a lemon twist, and a brandied cherry. Next, stir together the cognac, lemon juice, and syrup in an ice-filled mixer until chilled. Strain into a highball glass and top up with club soda. Add the lemon and cherry as a garnish.
10. Between the Sheets
If you can’t resist a Sidecar, you’ll love Between the Sheets. The cocktail starts as a standard Sidecar but then drifts into new territory with the help of some light rum. Rich, fruity, and with a touch of tropical complexity from the rum, it’s a dream. Start by adding 1-ounce cognac, 1-ounce light rum, 1-ounce triple sec, and 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice to a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add a lemon twist to garnish.