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Brandy Cocktails


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Applejack

American Trilogy Cocktail

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American Trilogy Cocktail Ingredients

1.25 oz. Laird’s Applejack

1 oz. oz. Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey

1 barspoon Demerara syrup

4 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters #6

Garnish

Lemon twist

American Trilogy Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a double rocks glass and add ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.


American Trilogy Cocktail Story

Developed by Michael McIlroy, of New York City’s Attaboy, and Richard Boccato, of Long Island City’s Dutch Kills, in their days behind the bar at Little Branch, the late Sasha Petraske’s speakeasy-style underground cocktail parlor, this take on the Old Fashioned uses all-American ingredients: Rittenhouse Rye, Laird’s Applejack Brandy, and Regan’s Orange Bitters.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Brandy Alexander Cocktail

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Brandy Alexander Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Pierre Ferrand Ambre

0.5 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Menthe

1 0z. Heavy cream

Garnish

Fresh grated nutmeg

Brandy Alexander Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a coupe or stemmed cocktail glass. To garnish, grate fresh nutmeg over the top.


Brandy Alexander Cocktail Story

The Brandy Alexander’s origin stories are many. According to etymologist Barry Popik, the original Alexander may have been made with gin and served at the Philadelphia Racquet Club during the 1915 World Series in honor of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander. Or, head bartender Troy Alexander of New York’s Rector’s may have developed the drink celebrating Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad’s ad campaign built around fictional socialite mascot Phoebe Snow, who rode the railroad in all white to demonstrate the new use of clean-burning coal. The version with brandy, however, does not appear in print until 1937, in William J. Turling’s bar manual, Café Royal Cocktail Book. Regardless of the Brandy Alexander’s origins, the lasting taste made an impression on indulgers such as Ringo Starr and John Lennon, who liked to call the rich drink his milkshake.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Brandy Crusta Cocktail

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Brandy Crusta Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Hennessy Privilège VSOP Cognac

1 tsp. Luxardo Liqueur Maraschino

1 tsp. Senior Curaçao of Curacao Orange Liqueur

0.25 oz. Fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. Simple syrup

2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Garnish

Sugar rim

Lemon twist

Brandy Crusta Cocktail Preparation

For the sugared rim, pour granulated sugar onto a small plate. Run the flesh side of a lemon wedge along the outside lip of a stemmed cocktail glass. Carefully roll the rim through the sugar to coat.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a coupe or stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a long lemon twist.


Brandy Crusta Cocktail Story

Joseph Santini, owner of Jewel of the South coffee house in New Orleans from 1833 to 1869, originated the Brandy Crusta. The Brandy Crusta appears in Jerry Thomas’s definitive Bartenders Guide, published in 1862. Other recipes appearing throughout the ages, such as the Sidecar, give homage with subtle variations, but the primary attributes are as follows: base spirit, citrus, orange liqueur or alternative cordial, bitters, the mandatory shell of a whole lemon delicately placed against the mouth of the glass, and a sugar rim - the cocktail's signature crust(a).


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Champs Élysées Cocktail

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Champs Élysées Cocktail Ingredients

1.75 oz. Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1840

0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice

0.25 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Garnish

Lemon twist

Champs Élysées Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Champs Élysées Cocktail Story

Appearing in Harry Craddock’s 1930 publication, the Savoy Cocktail Book, the Champs Élysées comes across like an herbaceous cousin to the Sidecar. The original recipe is inexplicably built like a punch for up to six people, however the ratios, when scaled down, result in a balanced single-serving cocktail. Craddock also did not specify whether to use the 80-proof yellow expression of chartreuse or the 110-proof green. Rather than stressing over historical accuracy, use chartreuse as the monks do: using a mix of both green and yellow to taste yields an even more nuanced cocktail.

 
 
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Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Harvard Cocktail

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Harvard Cocktail Ingredients

1.5 oz. Landy Cognac VSOP

1 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth

3 dashes Hella Bitters Aromatic

Garnish

Lemon twist
Brandied cherry

Harvard Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a coupe or stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry or lemon twist.


Harvard Cocktail Story

The Harvard first appears in George J. Kappeler’s 1895 publication Modern American Drinks as a brandy Manhattan topped with seltzer. Part of a legion of drinks named after Ivy League institutions, the Harvard has an intrinsically insular appeal. Though Kappeler was from New York City, he was clearly in the know, creating an unfussy cocktail with exceptional ingredients that would appeal to the amateur grad-student bartender. Falling somewhere between legacy and parody, the Harvard and its kind were typically not cocktails to order at just any bar, but to enjoy at one’s alma mater exclusively.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Applejack

Jack Rose Cocktail

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Jack Rose Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Laird’s Applejack

0.75 oz. Fresh lime juice

0.75 oz. Grenadine

Garnish

Lime wheel

Jack Rose Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a coupe or stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Jack Rose Cocktail Story

The Harvard first appears in George J. Kappeler’s 1895 publication Modern. At the core of the Jack Rose cocktail is applejack, an all-American apple brandy. The family-operated Laird’s distillery has been making applejack in New Jersey since the early 1700s, most likely combining the spirit with citrus or juices long before the invention of the Jack Rose, which came about in the early 1900s. The recipe closely resembling the modern version of the cocktail appears in William H. Boothby’s 1908 manual The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them. Though the drink did suffer in popularity in the 1910s when patrons unjustifiably associated it with the murderous mobster Bald Jack Rose, the innocent Jack Rose cocktail has withstood the test of time, along with the iconic American liquor it utilizes.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Japanese Cocktail

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Japanese Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Pierre Ferrand Cognac 1840

0.5 oz. Orgeat syrup

3 dashes Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters

Garnish

Lemon twist

Japanese Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a double rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Japanese Cocktail Story

The Japanese Cocktail was one of Jerry Thomas’s few storied off-the-cuff riffs that ended up becoming very popular among discerning, adventurous drinkers and, of course, Japanese diplomats. In 1860, members of the first Japanese diplomatic mission to the United States stayed in New York City’s Metropolitan Hotel, just a stone’s throw away from Thomas’s bar on Broadway. The mission’s seventeen-year-old translator, Tateishi Onojirou Noriyuki, who had a bit of a party boy reputation, is thought to have frequented Jerry Thomas’s bar along with the rest of the delegation. That's where the bon vivant bartender presumably crafted an old fashioned-style cocktail with an unconventional twist: using orgeat and brandy in tandem to produce a creamy, nutty libation. His recipe called for an unusually high dose of Boker’s bitters, which lent the drink an assertive and confident backbone that made it stand out from the standard old fashioned cocktail.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Jimmie Roosevelt Cocktail

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Jimmie Roosevelt Cocktail Ingredients

1.5 oz. Hennessy Privilège VSOP Cognac

0.25 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

0.25 oz. Sugarcane syrup

8 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Sugar cube

Garnish

Lemon twist

Jimmie Roosevelt Cocktail Preparation

If using crushed ice, fill a Louis bag with ice and crush with a mallet. Place sugar cube on a plate or clean surface. Soak sugar cube with bitters until fully absorbed.  Pour cane syrup into a wine glass or goblet. Rinse walls until fully coated.  Add soaked sugar cube and cognac. Add cracked or crushed ice. Slowly float Chartreuse into the glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. 


Jimmie Roosevelt Cocktail Story

Charles H. Baker first recorded this robust take on a Champagne Cocktail in 1939 in The Gentleman’s Companion. Meant to be built in a wine glass, the Jimmie Roosevelt includes the same Angostura-soaked sugarcube trick that is characteristic of a well-made Champagne Cocktail, but adds layers of cognac, champagne, and finally, Chartreuse, all over cracked ice. Laborious to build, demanding to drink, the Jimmie Roosevelt is a restrained exercise in appreciating assertive spirits slowly melding together.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Metropole Cocktail

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Metropole Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Landy Cognac VSOP

1 oz. Cinzano Sweet Vermouth

2 dashes Scrappy's Orange Bitters

2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Garnish

Lemon twist

Metropole Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a double rocks glass and add ice if desired. Garnish with a lemon twist if desired.


Metropole Cocktail Story

For every Manhattan or Sazerac, there are hundreds of cocktails that simply didn’t make it into the classic cocktail lexicon. The Metropole is one of those drinks forgotten by time. Resembling an unfocused brandy Manhattan of sorts, the cocktail originated at Manhattan’s Metropole Hotel in 1884, making it even more evocative of a forgotten piece of bygone New York. The Metropole was an all night drinking venue, attracting all kinds of lurid after dark activity, culminating in the 1912 murder of bookmaker and casino owner Herman Rosenthal right outside the hotel’s doors. The hotel went bankrupt and changed hands just one week after the incident. The Metropole remains a fascinating B-side relic of a cocktail, representative of the burgeoning seedy side of Times Square at the turn of the century.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Milk Punch Cocktail

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Milk Punch Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Pierre Ferrand Ambre

4 oz. Whole milk

0.5 oz. Demerara syrup

Garnish

Grated Nutmeg

Milk Punch Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Dry shake for 15 seconds. Add ice and shake hard. Fine strain into coupe or stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg. 


Milk Punch Cocktail Story

Milk Punch, like the category of punch itself, has multiple identities, interpretations, and variations, depending on who you speak to and in which time period you did. Perhaps more than any other tradition of punch making, Milk Punch can be nice and simple or extremely fancy. New Orleans lays claim to a creamy, ruffian concoction of spirit, often a combination of whiskey, rum, or brandy, sugar, and milk simply shaken and served on the rocks, bearing more than a slight resemblance to a White Russian. A creamy, lemon-scented punch made with the pungent Indonesian rice and sugarcane spirit Batavia Arrack was ostensibly created by the seventeenth-century playwright Aphra Behn, who strained out the milk solids after boiling them, effectively engaging in one of the first recorded instances of molecular mixology. American recipes from Jerry Thomas’s era of the late 1800s recommend adding sherry or infusing citrus into the base spirit. But whichever preparation method is employed, the drink would be incomplete without its iconic garnish of freshly grated nutmeg, a tradition which dates back to the punch’s seventeenth century origins in Scotland.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Calvados

Pan American Clipper Cocktail

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Pan American Clipper Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Clear Creek Eau de Vie de Pomme 8 Year

2 dashes Mansinthe

0.75 oz. Fresh lime juice

0.75 oz. Grenadine

Garnish

Lime wheel

Pan American Clipper Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a coupe or stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Pan American Clipper Cocktail Story

Recorded by Charles H. Baker in his 1939 Gentleman’s Companion, the Pan American Clipper is perhaps best thought of in regards to its poetic namesake than for any significant cocktail innovation. Baker describes it essentially as a Jack Rose boosted by the addition of absinthe, but goes on to paint the drink as being of a distinct time and place: the golden age of air travel, when large planes challenged ocean liners for luxury points. 


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Pisco

Pisco Punch Cocktail

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Pisco Punch Cocktail Ingredients

1.5 oz. Campo de Encanto Acholado

0.5 oz. Pineapple syrup

0.5 oz. Fresh lime juice

1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Garnish

Lime wedge

Pisco Punch Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a snifter, coupe, or stemmed glass. Garnish with pineapple leaves and a lime wedge.


Pisco Punch Cocktail Story

With origins in Gold Rush-era San Francisco, the Pisco Punch predates the Pisco Sour by about half a century. After taking a liking to a new unaged brandy brought into the Bay Area by Peruvian immigrants, Duncan Nicol, barkeep at Parker's Bank Exchange Saloon, paired the Peruvian spirit with typical punch ingredients like pineapple gum and fresh citrus juice. It was rumored Nicol poured the now-forgotten spirit Vin Mariana into his punch as well, which would explain some of its wild popularity: the controversial apéritif wine contained an infusion of coca leaves for an extra kick. The devastating 1906 earthquake that miraculously spared Nicol’s bar paired with Prohibition, which effectively put Nicol out of work, nearly wiped the drink from history; however former co-workers kept the recipe alive long enough for San Francisco historians to document it.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Pisco

Pisco Sour Cocktail

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Pisco Sour Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Barsol Pisco Selecto Acholado

0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice

0.5 oz. Rich simple syrup

1 Egg white

Garnish

Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Pisco Sour Cocktail Preparation

Separate the egg whites from the yolk and place the whites in a shaker. Add the remaining ingredients. Shake hard for fifteen seconds without ice. Add ice and shake very hard. Fine strain into a coupe or stemmed cocktail glass. Allow the meringue from the egg to rise to the top and set in a thick layer. Dash 3-4 small dots of Angostura Bitters over the top.


Pisco Sour Cocktail Story

Both Chile and Peru take ownership of the Pisco Sour, perhaps because both countries have been producing the pisco for centuries, combining it with unspecified amounts of sugar and lime. The original pisco punch evolved over time, especially at American bartender Victor Vaughen Morris’s Morris Bar in Lima, where Morris borrowed elements from traditional American sours and combined them with pisco for refreshing new results. When bartender Mario Bruiget introduced egg whites and bitters to the drink, the modern Pisco Sour was born.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Sidecar Cocktail

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Sidecar Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Landy Cognac VSOP

0.5 oz. Cointreau

0.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice

Garnish

none

Sidecar Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a coupe or stemmed glass.


Sidecar Cocktail Story

The Sidecar is an indelible symbol of post-WWI European social life. Foregoing the fancier trappings of Jerry Thomas’s Brandy Crusta recipe, the Sidecar is stripped down to the basics, resulting in a dry sour that showcases a quality base spirit. As with the history of the Daiquiri, the Sidecar sees as many claims for its invention as variations in its recipe. One factor distinguished the Sidecar as being worlds away from anything made in America during Prohibition: really, really good brandy. While a sugar rim on a Sidecar is as ubiquitous as salt on a Margarita, it's not required (especially if you prefer a slightly more sour take). At the Ritz in Paris, bartender Frank Meier could be found mixing cocktails for his esteemed guests with the best vintage Cognac. Harry McElhone may claim first penning the recipe for the Sidecar in his 1922 publication of Harry’s ABCs of Mixing Cocktails, however it was likely Frank Meier who gave the drink its soul, embodying the elegance and glamour his bar represented as well as the opulence his affluent guests expected. 


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Stinger Cocktail

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Stinger Cocktail Ingredients

2.25 oz. Pierre Ferrand Ambre

0.5 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Menthe

Garnish

Fresh mint

Stinger Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a coupe or stemmed glass. Garnish with a mint bouquet.


Stinger Cocktail Story

A classic combination of crème de menthe and brandy, the Stinger has appeared under various pseudonyms in bar manuals since 1891. A dash of Angostura and a twist of lemon was the Brant, minus the bitters, the Judge. It wasn't until 1917, when Tom Bullock wrote the recipe down as a Stinger, "Country Club Style," in his bar manual, The Ideal Bartender that the cocktail became the version we know today. In the 1920s, the Stinger was the ultimate nightcap, served in social clubs and upscale restaurants. Reginald Vanderbilt would add his signature dash of absinthe to the cocktail, soaking up a number of them before dinner at popular Madison Ave. restaurant, the Colony. Favored by New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker, the Colony was one of only a few restaurants to serve alcohol during Prohibition, keeping liquor in the elevator and serving quaffs in cups instead of glasses. The Stinger’s appearance in 1955’s High Society and 1957’s Kiss Them For Me cemented the drink’s pop status in American culture.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac and Gin

Suffering Bastard Cocktail

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Suffering Bastard Cocktail Ingredients

1 oz. Hennessy Privilège VSOP Cognac

1 oz. Plymouth Gin

0.5 oz. Fresh lime juice

2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Ginger beer

Garnish

Candied ginger
Fresh mint
Orange wheel
Brandied cherry

Suffering Bastard Cocktail Preparation

Fill a Louis bag with ice and crush with a mallet. Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a Hurricane or Collins glass or tiki mug. Top with ginger beer and add crushed ice. Garnish with candied ginger, fresh mint, orange wheels, or brandied cherries.


Suffering Bastard Cocktail Story

Served at Cairo’s Shepheard’s Hotel by larger-than-life, globe-trotting bartender Joe Scialom in the 1940s, the Suffering Bastard is an amalgamation of the existential and recreational woes of wartime life in 1940s Egypt. Scialom served the drink, originally called the Suffering Bar Steward, as a hangover remedy to those Brits on break from active duty. Scialom cobbled the drink together by sourcing the best elements he could find at the time. According to his private papers, to alleviate the scourge of swill the soldiers were so used to, Scialom used quality brandy, British gin (for homesickness, one can assume), and ginger beer from “a Greek merchant of dubious character.”


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Vieux Carré Cocktail

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Vieux Carré Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a double rocks glass and add ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Vieux Carré Cocktail Story

The Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, family-owned and operated since 1886, is where the Vieux Carré was born. Long-time bartender Walter Bergeron first served up the drink in the 1930s at the Swan Bar, which was replaced by the now iconic rotating Carousel Bar. Thankful to be tending bar again post-Prohibition, Bergeron paid tribute to the mixed cultural heritage of the region with the drinks ingredients: American rye, Caribbean bitters, Italian vermouth, and Cognac from France. The drink is affectionately named “Old Square” in French, after the original moniker for the French Quarter.


 
 

Brandy Cocktails: Cognac

Widow’s Kiss Cocktail

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Widow’s Kiss Cocktail Ingredients

1.5 oz. Camus VSOP

0.75 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

0.25 oz. Bénédictine D.O.M.

4 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Garnish

Brandied cherry

Widow’s Kiss Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a rocks, coupe, or stemmed cocktail glass and add ice if desired. Garnish with a brandied cherry or lemon twist.


Widow’s Kiss Cocktail Story

First appearing in George Kappeler’s 1895 publication of Modern American Drinks, the Widow’s Kiss was likely created while Kappeler was tending bar behind Manhattan’s Holland House. The ingredients in a Widow’s Kiss lean towards the delicate and herbaceous, which can also appeal to drinkers who simply crave a sweet nightcap. Kappeler’s recipe calls for yellow Chartreuse, whose honey notes amplify the already honey-heavy Bénédictine. Those ingredients plant the Widow’s Kiss firmly within the turn-of-the-century palate for stirred cocktails to be saccharine but also spirituous. A calvados base, seldom seen in other cocktails of the period, ensured future bartenders would pay attention to the peculiar cocktail.