Brandy is the star liquor in several classic cocktails. While some have been lost to time and the pages of dusty bartending guides, the best brandy drinks remain favorites among cocktail lovers today.
These drink recipes are a nice introduction to mixing with brandy. The collection showcases the spirit's versatility, from brightly flavored sour drinks to cozy sips for winter. With a few exceptions, they are also among the simplest cocktail recipes—accenting brandy with common bar ingredients—and anyone can mix them up in minutes.
Watch Now: The Classic Sidecar Cocktail Recipe
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The brandy cocktail is a perfect way to dress up a good brandy, and it fits the definition of a cocktail perfectly. The recipe mixes brandy with curaçao, then finishes it off with both Angostura and Peychaud's Bitters. It's subtle, elegant, and a delightful drink.
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The brandy daisy is very similar and one of the better "daisy" cocktails. It requires just a few dashes of rum along with curaçao, simple syrup, lemon, and soda. This delicate cocktail has a well-balanced flavor and is ideal for your finer brandies and cognacs.
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Just as gin has the martini and whiskey has the Manhattan, brandy has the metropolitan. This classic recipe mixes brandy with sweet vermouth and simple syrup for a modest, satisfying drink that is great before dinner.
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As many brandy recipes demonstrate, simpler is often better, and no cocktail proves this more than the B&B. It is equal parts of brandy and the herbal liqueur, Bénédictine, served in a snifter. The heavenly drink is sure to show off the finest brandies in style.Continue to 5 of 24 below.
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A New Orleans classic, the Vieux Carré is an interesting cocktail with layers of flavor. In it, cognac and rye whiskey join up with sweet vermouth, Bénédictine, and Angostura and Peychaud's bitters. The complexity makes it a memorable cocktail.
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The brandy Alexander is a creamy pleasure and possibly one of the oldest dessert cocktails. Requiring just three ingredients—brandy, crème de cacao, and cream—it mixes up quickly, and the taste is unbelievably satisfying for the sweet tooth.
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The sidecar has seen many makeovers over the years, and it is one that you can easily adapt to your personal taste. The recipe uses your brandy of choice (often cognac or Armagnac), orange liqueur, and lemon juice. It's a fantastic brandy sour, particularly if you tweak the drink's balance for each brandy you pour.
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Between the Sheets
Fans of the sidecar family of drinks will thoroughly enjoy this sour cocktail. Between the sheets is nearly identical, with its brandy, orange liqueur, and lemon juice mix, but it tosses in light rum for a fun twist. Possibly the best part is that the three liquors are poured equally, which makes it easy to remember the recipe.Continue to 9 of 24 below.
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Another interpretation of the sidecar, the Embassy cocktail also pairs brandy, rum, and orange liqueur. The twist in this recipe is the switch to lime juice and a dash of bitters. It's fun to mix up all of these drinks for a side-by-side tasting.
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When brandy and Champagne meet, the result is pure elegance. The Champagne cocktail is a timeless drink that is ideal for special occasions. As a bonus, the fountain of bubbles from the sugar cube makes a stunning visual effect.
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When you want to celebrate something really special, the Champagne bowler is a fabulous choice. The recipe relies on fresh strawberries and a combination of cognac, still white wine, and sparkling wine. It's lovely in its purity and is a delight to drink.
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The classic cobbler cocktail is straightforward, requiring brandy (or whiskey), simple syrup, and club soda. Just like any dessert cobbler, the fruit makes this drink stand out. You can go with the standard lemons and oranges if you like, but this one really deserves whatever seasonal fruit you can find, so the possibilities are endless.Continue to 13 of 24 below.
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Stemming from the early 1800s, the brandy smash has been satisfying drinkers for nearly 200 years, so you know it's good. This recipe is a bit like a mint julep, though it takes a slightly different approach in the muddle, and, of course, it prefers brandy over bourbon.
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The Saratoga cocktail is where the metropolitan and Manhattan meet. The recipe pairs sweet vermouth and bitters with both brandy and whiskey (rye is recommended). The combination is both invigorating and soothing and could quickly become anyone's new favorite.
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Some variations on the metropolitan opt for dry vermouth rather than sweet, and that's what you'll find in the chrysanthemum. However, this recipe gets a little more interesting because absinthe plays a crucial role in defining the final flavor.
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The star cocktail is best described as a metropolitan for apple brandy. For a true taste of this 19th-century classic, try to find a real apple brandy (eau de vie distilled from the fruit) rather than the sweetened liqueur version. The recipe also introduces you to gomme syrup, an old-school version of simple syrup that's easy to make at home.Continue to 17 of 24 below.
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Appearing in the very first printed bartending guide, the Japanese cocktail embodies everything that makes these drinks timeless. Cognac is the brandy style of choice, and it's accented with fresh lime juice and bitters. The secret ingredient to its appeal is orgeat syrup.
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Three ingredients go into the Baltimore bracer. It may be a cocktail for acquired tastes, though the experience of drinking brandy, anisette liqueur, and egg white is one you won't forget.
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Brandy Milk Punch
Back in the 1700s, milk punch was a trendy beverage for gatherings. This recipe from 1862 makes a single drink. It's an excellent nightcap or cold weather sipper. To make it, you'll shake brandy, syrup, and milk—adding an egg and vanilla extract if you like—then dust it with nutmeg.
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Despite its name, not a single drop of coffee goes into the coffee cocktail. Instead, this classic pairs brandy and ruby port, sweetening the mix with a touch of syrup, a small egg, and a dusting of nutmeg. For an after-dinner drink, it's as enjoyable as a cup of coffee.Continue to 21 of 24 below.
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There is an actual cocktail called the nightcap, and it's a completely different drink than you might expect. This 1930s classic adds an anise liqueur to the common brandy and curaçao mix. There's also an egg yolk which, unlike the white that creates a nice foam, gives the drink a distinctly eggy flavor. It's interesting, to say the least.
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Eggnog is an iconic drink of the Christmas season. While there are countless variations on it today, brandy was one of the original spirits used to spike this party punch. In a traditional eggnog recipe, brandy is beaten with eggs, milk, and common kitchen ingredients. Just be sure to plan ahead and let it rest overnight for the best flavor.
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Tom & Jerry
The Tom & Jerry has long been a holiday tradition. It is typically made of brandy, dark rum, and warm milk, with a special spiced egg batter that can be prepped in advance. So even if you have an aversion to eggnog, you may enjoy this recipe.
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If eggy holiday drinks really aren't your thing, mulled wine should hit the spot. Flavored with mulling spices, this warm brandy and red wine punch has an even longer history. Though brandy is a relatively "modern" addition, apparently, mulled wine has been keeping drinkers toasty on cold nights since Roman times.