The French connection is an easy and popular cocktail that makes a stunning after-dinner drink or nightcap. It is, quite simply, a slow-sipping mixed drink made from a combination of cognac and amaretto and the two could not be better suited for one another.
The cognac adds warmth to the chilled drink and the flavor mixes nicely with the nutty sweetness of amaretto. Drinks as simple as this rely more on high-end spirits than a recipe with more mixers would. For this reason, do yourself a favor and pair a nice cognac with a quality amaretto like that from Disaronno or Gozio.
3 Cognacs to Try
You do not need to spend a fortune or anywhere near $100 on a bottle of cognac for the French connection. That's an important distinction to be made when discussing a "nice" cognac because what seems reasonable to one person may not be reasonable to others.
Cognac is naturally a bit more expensive than other brandies, the provenance and terroir of the region add to the liquor's value.
However, there are some fantastic cognacs available that will not break the bank.
These three bottles are among the best you will find for around $50 or less. You can also upgrade or downgrade within the brand as you see fit. All three companies produce a full range of cognac, using the standard brandy ratings: VS, VSOP, and XO.
The abbreviations are listed in order of age and, therefore, price. A VS is both younger and less expensive than the VSOP, for example. Use this little bit of knowledge when choosing your sipping and cocktail cognacs and you will have no problems finding the right one for you.
- Courvoisier VSOP: A very fine cognac at a reasonable price, this bottling from Courvoisier is a fantastic find and its peachy spice is nice against the amaretto. If using it, consider skipping the ice and simply enjoy a straight pour of the two spirits.
- Camus VSOP: Cognac fans know this name, but many others don't and that is why it needs to be mentioned. This bottling has wonderful character and a fruity oak that is perfect for the French connection.
- Hennessy VS: This is the bargain of the lot and it is a perfect choice for any cognac cocktail. It is worth every penny and it is considered by many drinkers to be the best budget-friendly cognac around.
How Strong Is the French Connection?
There is very little dilution in the French connection and some drinkers prefer not to include the ice. That means that this brandy drink is just slightly below bottling strength, averaging about 30 percent ABV (60 proof).
Drinks like this and the famous B&B were not designed to get you drunk (though they will do the job if you have too many). They are meant to show off some of the best brandies in the world and the higher proof means that there is more flavor to enjoy. Sip this one straight as it was meant to be and savor every minute of it.
More French Connection Recipes
The French connection name has been used a few times in the cocktail world over the years. While the recipe above may be one of the best-known, there's no reason to pass either of these up when you have cognac in the bar.
- French Connection No. 2: As simple and understated as this recipe, the French connection no. 2 is also known as the beautiful. In it, the amaretto is replaced by Grand Marnier, which also has a cognac base and the drink truly is quite beautiful.
- French Connection Coffee: This drink also has a dual name and you might hear it called a café amore. There is a lot to love about adding cognac and amaretto to a steaming cup of hot coffee. It's also a nice option for dessert, especially if you include the whipped cream and almonds!
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