5 of the Best Brandy-Based Cocktails You Can Mix At Home: Classic, Interesting & Easy to Mix Cocktails | drinks.ng

Nowadays, people tend to think of cocktails as being made with gin, the whiskies, and vodka. We forget about brandy, or simply see it as drink for old men. Maybe we think of wealthy rappers drinking Louis XIII, but that’s as cool as it gets. It’s a shame, because as delicious and ennobling as Louis XIII is, its junior cousins have a lot to offer. If there’s one spirit deserving of a renaissance, it’s brandy.

We’ve put together five of the best brandy-based cocktails you can enjoy with friends at your party or by yourself:

The Brandy Cocktail

By its earliest 1806 definition, a cocktail is a drink made by mixing a spirit with water, sugar and bitters. Water quickly came to mean ice as the cocktail evolved and it’s from this ancient school of the bibulous arts that we gain the Old Fashioned, and The Brandy Cocktail. This cocktail’s simplicity is its charm.


How to Make

  1. Stir 60ml brandy, a teaspoon of sugar syrup and a couple of dashes of Angostura Bitters over ice in a mixing glass.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Charles Cocktail

“Charles” published The Cocktail Bar in London in 1952, a time when people REALLY needed a drink because rationing wouldn’t end for another two years. Self-effacing to the last, “Charles” gave away nothing of himself in the book apart from The Charles cocktail. We assume it’s his signature drink. If the cocktail is anything to go by, he must have been good company.


  • 30ml cognac
  • 30ml Italian vermouth
  • A dash of Angostura Bitters

How to Make

  1. Stir together your dash of Angostura Bitters, 30ml Italian vermouth and 30ml cognac in an ice-filled mixing glass.
  2. Strain into your cocktail glass.
  3. Serve.

The Picasso

This drink is featured in Charles Schumann’s The American Bar. Suffice to say, after a few glasses of these, you and your guests’ faces may start to resemble some of Il Maestro’s later work.


  • 30ml cognac
  • 20ml Dubonnet
  • A dash of fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon twist
  • Orange twist

How to Make

  1. Fill your small highball glass with ice.
  2. Add your dash of fresh lemon juice, 20ml Dubonnet and 30ml cognac.
  3. Stir.
  4. Squeeze in the oils from both a twist of lemon and a twist of orange.
  5. Garnish with both twists.

Thunder & Lightening

From doyen of English food writing Ambrose Heath 1939 book Good Drinks, this cocktail is delightfully rich and refreshing. It has an egg in it, so it’s not for vegetarians.


  • 80ml brandy
  • A shake of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar
  • 1 Egg yolk

How to Make

  1. Shake your 80ml brandy, an egg yolk and a teaspoon of powdered sugar in a dry shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake again to chill.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass
  4. Garnish with a shake of cayenne pepper.

The Brandy Crusta

You must have noticed a theme here: brandy cocktails tend to be on the older side. The Brandy Crusta first appeared in Jerry Thomas’s 1862 Bartenders’ Guide, but was apparently invented by Joseph Santina at the Jewel In The South on Gravier Street, New Orleans a full ten years previously. Age hasn’t withered it. It as delicious today as it ever was.


  • 60ml cognac
  • 15ml triple sec/cointreau
  • 10ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dash of Maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash of Angostura/Peychaud’s Bitters

How to Make

  1. Rim your cocktail glass with lemon juice and sugar.
  2. Curl a long fat lemon twist all around the inside rim of the glass.
  3. Stir your 60ml cognac, 15ml triple sec or Cointreau, 10ml fresh lemon juice, dash of Maraschino liqueur and dash of either Angostura or Peychaud’s Bitters in an ice-filled mixing glass.
  4. Strain into your cocktail glass.


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