12 Classic Brandy Cocktails

Brandy, a spirit that has stood the test of time, is often enjoyed on its own or as an essential ingredient in classic cocktails. Whether you’re looking to create something new and exciting or revisit timeless classics, brandy offers endless possibilities for experimentation and enjoyment.

From the rich, velvety smoothness of Armagnac to the bold flavors of American brandy, there’s a world of brandy types to explore. And when it comes to mixing brandy with other ingredients, the options are virtually limitless.

Vintage Champagne Cocktail

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When champagne is involved in a brandy cocktail recipe, we know we’re in for a sophisticated and enjoyable experience. This classic vintage champagne cocktail is an ideal way to use up leftover bubbly and add some elegance to any gathering. To craft this refined drink, you’ll need prosecco or champagne, high-quality brandy, and a splash of orange liqueur. With this recipe, you’ll be able to create four cocktails at once, so have your glasses ready! One notable aspect of this particular cocktail is that it’s not stirred – instead, pour the brandy into the base of the glass, followed by a dash of Cointreau or Triple Sec, and finish with a chilled champagne topping. Serve your vintage champagne cocktail in a coupe glass or champagne flute for an added touch of sophistication.

The Japanese Cocktail

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The Japanese Cocktail has a rich history that dates back to 1862 when it was first introduced by Professor Jerry Thomas, a renowned bartender often referred to as the ‘grandfather’ of bartending. The original recipe featured lime juice, which made its debut in print through one of Thomas’s cocktail books. Initially, lemon peels were incorporated into the mix along with other ingredients and served over ice cubes in a rocks glass or highball glass. Over time, however, the recipe evolved to include fresh lime juice instead. To craft this timeless classic, you’ll need fresh lime juice, orgeat syrup, cognac, and aromatic bitters. For added visual appeal, garnish with a lemon peel or lime wheel, as per tradition.

French Connection

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While boasting only two ingredients, the French Connection packs a surprising flavor depth. Combining Amaretto and Cognac, this simple-to-make cocktail belies its complex taste profile. Essentially, it serves as an accessible gateway to exploring brandy or cognac-based cocktails – perfect for those new to the world of fine spirits.

Milk Punch

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Imbibe like the Scots did in 1688 when you try your hand at crafting the classic milk punch cocktail, a timeless concoction that’s been delighting palates for centuries. This venerable drink has its roots in Scotland, where it first appeared in recipe books as far back as 1711. To recreate this vintage treat, gather whole milk, brandy, bourbon whiskey, vanilla extract, and simple syrup. As you serve, consider garnishing with a cinnamon stick, grated nutmeg, or star anise to evoke the rustic charm of yesteryear.

Brandy Alexander

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One classic brandy cocktail that’s hard to forget is the Brandy Alexander. This sweet, creamy, and indulgent drink has a reputation for being both satisfying and potent. Despite its widespread popularity, the origins of the Brandy Alexander remain somewhat shrouded in mystery. Traditionally, it’s made with white creme de cacao, cognac or other types of brandy, and heavy cream. However, this particular recipe takes a creative detour from the norm. Instead, you’ll need Kahlúa, vanilla ice cream, cocoa powder, brandy, and dark creme de cacao to craft this unique variation.

Pisco Sour

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There’s a distinct charm to the Pisco Sour that sets it apart from other cocktails. The secret to crafting this unique drink lies in the use of Pisco brandy, an essential ingredient that lends its characteristic flavor profile. Interestingly, the Pisco Sour is often compared to the Whiskey Sour, with the key difference being the substitution of Pisco for whiskey and lime juice instead of lemon. According to mixologists, the Pisco Sour’s origins can be traced back to the 1920s when it was allegedly created by Victor Morris, an American bartender. To recreate this classic cocktail, one must combine Pisco brandy with fresh lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and a dash of Armago (or Angostura) bitters.

Sazerac Cocktail

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Imagination can transport us to the vibrant city of New Orleans at any moment. A Sazerac cocktail is all it takes to whisk ourselves away to the French Quarter’s charming atmosphere. As the official cocktail of the Big Easy, the Sazerac combines whiskey, sugar, and a surprising twist: absinthe, a black licorice liqueur. Legend has it that Antoine Peychaud, a New Orleans apothecary, was instrumental in creating this iconic whiskey and brandy cocktail. To recreate this classic, you’ll need cognac (Herbsaint is a great option), rye whiskey, absinthe, a sugar cube, and a dash of Peychaud’s bitters.

Between the Sheets

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The Between the Sheets is a timeless and tantalizing brandy cocktail that has earned its place among the most iconic drinks. Its origins may be shrouded in mystery, but it’s clear that this libation drew inspiration from the classic Sidecar, which emerged at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, France. The recipe itself is a harmonious blend of Cognac, fresh lemon juice, rum, and orange liqueur – think Triple Sec or Cointreau, whose citrusy undertones beautifully counterbalance the sweetness of the liqueur and the brightness of the lemon juice. For an added layer of complexity, feel free to introduce a splash of orange juice, allowing the flavors to mingle in perfect harmony.

Brandy Old Fashioned

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Brandy enthusiasts in Wisconsin have created a unique drink that has gained immense popularity. The Brandy Old Fashioned has become so iconic that it’s now the official cocktail of the state. When ordering this classic at a bar, you’ll encounter various twists on the recipe, including sour, sweet, press, and soda variations. What sets the Wisconsin version apart is its creative garnishing options, which can range from pickled Brussels sprouts to green olives with pimentos, orange slices, maraschino cherries, and more. The drink itself typically consists of a sugar cube, Angostura bitters, and a splash of soda such as lemon-lime soda, club soda, or grapefruit soda. This beloved cocktail has been celebrated online at chowhound.com.

Vieux Carre

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The Vieux Carre, another iconic New Orleans cocktail, boasts a bold spirit-forward flavor profile, courtesy of rye whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth. While some might liken it to the Old Fashioned or Manhattan, this drink has its roots in the 1930s French Quarter. The man behind the creation is Walter Bergeron, who named his signature cocktail after its namesake neighborhood. Its published debut occurred in 1937. To craft your own Vieux Carre, combine cognac, Benedictine, rye whiskey, Angostura bitters, sweet red vermouth, and Peychaud bitters in a chilled glass. Finish it off with a ripe Luxardo or maraschino cherry for garnish.

Brandy Manhattan

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While some might argue that substituting bourbon for brandy in a classic Manhattan cocktail dilutes its essence, we firmly believe that a Brandy Manhattan is still very much deserving of the iconic name. To create this spin on the original, simply swap out the rye whiskey for cognac or brandy. The resulting drink will boast the same bold flavors as its bourbon-based counterpart, albeit with a slightly sweeter and more nuanced profile. Orange bitters (or cardamom) and sweet vermouth provide a delightful balance to the rich, brandy-infused flavor, while a blood orange slice or maraschino cherry garnish adds a pop of color and visual appeal.

Classic Sidecar

To craft the iconic Sidecar cocktail, you’ll need to combine fresh lemon juice with cognac and Cointreau. This timeless drink has its roots in Paris, where it was first conjured up at Harry’s New York Bar, an institution famous for its libations. The classic recipe requires a simple yet essential step: shaking all the ingredients – including ice cubes – in a cocktail shaker until well combined, then straining the mixture into a chilled martini glass or cocktail glass. For added flair, garnish your Sidecar with a lemon twist or orange peel and a maraschino cherry.

Different Brandy Types

When it comes to crafting brandy cocktails, understanding the nuances of different types of brandy can elevate your mixology game. Let’s take a closer look at the various styles you’ll encounter. In France, Armagnac boasts a rich, full-bodied flavor profile featuring notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and burnt orange.

Cognac, on the other hand, offers a fruity, spicy, and bitter experience with hints of oak and vanilla. Meanwhile, Brandy de Jerez from Spain is characterized by its smooth and dry taste, accompanied by flavors of caramel, vanilla, and almond. For a distinctly French taste, Calvados is made from pears or apples, while Pisco hails from Peru and is crafted from fermented grapes.


Get ready to delight your loved ones with these mouthwatering recipes! Whether you’re hosting a gathering or simply want to share a meal with family and friends, these dishes are sure to impress. We’d love to hear about your experiences with them.

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