French Connection

French Connection cocktail

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
177 Calories
0g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 177
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 0mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 9mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you love books and movies, you know this tasty cocktail is named after the 1971 movie of the same name, although some claim it already existed in the 1960s. This cocktail is regaining popularity, and with reason, as the wonderful combination is the perfect digestif, after-dinner drink, or nightcap. It is, quite simply, a slow-sipping mixed drink made from a combination of Cognac and amaretto. 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, buy a nice Cognac and a good-quality amaretto. You do not need to spend a fortune on a bottle of Cognac for the French Connection. Cognac is naturally a bit more expensive than other brandies, and its terroir (provenance) will add to the liquor's value. However, there are some fantastic Cognacs available that will not break the bank. 

While it's nice on the rocks, many connoisseurs agree that this drink is better straight.

"If you like sweet after-dinner drinks, look no further. The French Connection is a simple combination of Cognac and amaretto that is a bit sweeter than the sum of its parts. What this cocktail lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in intensity. You will not forget this recipe." —Sean Johnson

French Connection Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    French Connection cocktail ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Build the ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.

    Cognac and amaretto liqueur in a glass

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Stir and serve.

    French Connection cocktail stirred

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Three Cognacs to Try

The following three bottles are among the best Cognacs you will find at a sensible price. 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: Very Special (VS), Very Superior Old Pale (VSOP), and Extra Old (XO). The abbreviations are listed in order of age and, therefore, price. Use this little bit of knowledge when choosing your sipping and cocktail Cognacs:

  • 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. This bottling has wonderful character and a fruity oak that is perfect for the French Connection.
  • Hennessy VS: This is a perfect choice for any Cognac cocktail. It is worth every penny and considered by many to be the best budget-friendly Cognac around.

Other French Connection-Inspired Drinks

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: Also known as The Beautiful, simply replace the amaretto with Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored liquor with hints of vanilla and oak.
  • French Connection Coffee: Also called Café Amore, this spiced coffee with Cognac and amaretto is a nice option for dessert, especially if topped with whipped cream and almonds.

How Strong Is the French Connection?

There is very little dilution in the French Connection, especially since some drinkers prefer not to include ice. That means this brandy drink is just slightly below bottling strength, averaging about 30 percent ABV (60 proof) per serving. Drinks like this and the famous Bénédictine and brandy (B&B) 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 it slowly.

What is the difference between the French Connection vs. Godfather?

Both of these drinks—the French Connection and the Godfather—were named for famous films, and both use equal parts of amaretto. The difference between these two is the French Connection uses Cognac, while the Godfather uses whiskey as the base spirit.