When it comes to brandy cocktails, you may be used to reaching for the Cognac or the VSOP but you do not have to.
Brandy is a surprisingly versatile liqueur and you can find apricot and peach flavored brandies too that go well in some niche cocktails.
If you simply want to jazz up a cider, coffee, or Horchata then throwing in a measure of brandy can work sublimely well.
In this guide, we will detail 20 brandy cocktails that are worthy enough to treat yourself at happy hour. There is also a bonus section for variants of cocktails that use brandy.
If you are unsure what to do with a bottle of apricot brandy then try creating a Flor de Jerez.
Add ice to a cocktail shaker and then pour in one and a half ounces of sherry, half an ounce of Jamaican rum, a quarter ounce of apricot brandy, three quarters an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, half an ounce of 2:1 sugar syrup and a dash of Angostura Bitters.
Shake well and then finely strain into a chilled coupe glass.
For Brandied Cider, you can use any brandy of your choice, as long as it goes with the cider. Try to contrast a sweet hard cider with a sharp brandy or try to go for complementary flavors.
Grab a pint glass and fill one with ice and then add eight ounces of hard cider with one and a half ounces of brandy. Stir to combine and then sip.
If you have some nutmeg then you can sprinkle some as a garnish on a brandy cocktail like this Brandy Horchata. Fill a rocks glass with ice cubes and then pour in one and a half ounces each of RumChata and brandy (see also ‘13 Amazingly Easy RumChata Recipe Ideas For Your Drinks‘).
Stir it well and then garnish with the nutmeg.
The Brandy Sangaree dates back to the 1700s and largely has not changed since then. Stir together half a teaspoon of sugar with a teaspoon of water until dissolved.
Add in two ounces of brandy and an ounce of port wine. Stir it up and strain before garnishing with a sprinkling of nutmeg.
5. Betsy Ross
If you want a cocktail to commemorate the fourth of July then try the Betsy Ross.
In a mixing glass with ice, pour one and a half ounces each of brandy and ruby port to half an ounce of Orange Curaçao and two dashes of Angostura Bitters. Stir until very chilled and then strain into a well chilled cocktail glass.
For a party in fall, try a Brandy Alexander as an infusion of booze, cream, and spices. Throw some ice into a cocktail shaker and top with three ounces of brandy, and two ounces each of Kahlua and cream.
Shake and pour into a cocktail glass and then garnish with a sprinkling of nutmeg or cinnamon.
The Sidecar is around a century old yet the Side by Sidecar is an interesting variant. Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass and give it a coating of sugar.
Grab a cocktail shaker and fill with ice, three quarters of an ounce each of brandy and pomegranate liqueur, an ounce of Triple Sec, and half an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Double strain into your martini glass.
8. Pisco Sour
A list of cocktails would not be complete without a sour in there.
The Pisco Sour is created by combining pisco, an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, three quarters of an ounce of simple syrup and an egg white in a cocktail shaker and shaking it all together.
This should create the foam and then you can add ice to shake until very chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a dash of Angostura Bitters.
9. Brandy Daisy
If you enjoy a classic Sidecar then the Brandy Daisy should be tried too.
Add ice to a cocktail shaker and pour in four ounces of brandy, half an ounce each of rum, Triple Sec, and simple syrup with an ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and an ounce of Sprite.
Shake vigorously and then strain into a pair of cocktail glasses.
To create the perfect Metropolitan, chill a martini glass first. In a cocktail shaker, add ice and pour in two ounces of brandy, an ounce of sweet vermouth, half a teaspoon of simple syrup, and two dashes of Angostura Bitters.
Shake vigorously and then strain into your martini glass.
A B&B is simply short for Bénédictine D.O.M. and brandy because that’s all you need for this cocktail. Serve equal parts of both liqueurs into a brandy snifter and you may even treat yourself to an ice cube after a quick stir.
Rum goes exceptionally well with brandy too, as proven in the Embassy.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in three quarters of an ounce each of brandy, Jamaican rum, Triple Sec, half an ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice and a dash of Angostura Bitters.
Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a lime wedge garnish.
Brandy is meant to be mixed with the finer things available so go for some Champagne in this cocktail.
For four flutes, pour three-quarters of an ounce of brandy into each one then top with an ounce of Triple Sec or Cointreau before topping up with Champagne. There may be some bubbly leftover but that should be a problem.
14. Champagne Bowler
When strawberries are in season, opt for this Champagne Bowler cocktail. Muddle together three hulled strawberries with half an ounce of simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
Add ice with brandy and an ounce of white wine. Shake well and then pour into a wine goblet to top up with Champagne, or any other sparkling wine, then garnish with a strawberry.
15. Brandy Cobbler
Pick your fruit when it is in season for this cocktail as you can really vary it up. Fill a red wine glass with shaved ice and then add two ounces of brandy, a teaspoon of simple syrup, and top it up with a couple of ounces of soda water.
Garnish with whatever fruit is in season but this works really well with strawberries.
16. Brandy Smash
For the Brandy Smash, you will need to do some muddling. Four mint leaves with a teaspoon of sugar and a measure of soda water to be exact.
Fill the glass with ice and then add two and a half measures of brandy to stir. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice, smashing.
17. The Woodsman
When fall arrives, you may want to invest in a bottle of brandy as there are several cocktails you could make.
The Woodsman is one where you will need two ounces of apple brandy, half an ounce of ginger liqueur, three quarters of an ounce of maple syrup, and four dashes of Angostura Bitters in a mixing glass.
Add ice, give it a stir until chilled and then strain into a coupe glass with an orange twist garnish.
For fall, you may also want to batch create some gingered sugar syrup as it can be used in several cocktails.
Simply combine a quarter cup of water with three tablespoons of sugar in a saucepan and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add a quarter cup of peeled ginger and leave to stand covered for 15 minutes.
Strain through a sieve and bottle it up.
When you are ready to use some, half-fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the sugar syrup to three cups of pear juice, and a cup of cognac (see also ‘14 Best Hennessy Cocktails‘).
You only need half a cup for a martini glass and you should be able to provide for ten glasses, each with a lemon twist.
Yes, the name may be fancy but The Chrysanthemum can be easily done. Combine three quarters of an ounce of brandy with two ounces of dry vermouth and a quarter ounce of absinthe.
Stir well and then add ice to stir for a full minute before straining into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist some orange peel over the top and then drop it in.
By now, you should have realized that brandy goes pretty well with coffee. If you are adept at making cold brew then add two ounces of it to two further ounces each of brandy and whole milk with half an ounce of simple syrup.
Give it a good shake and strain into a glass then sprinkle on some cocoa powder, even some cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg work well too.
Bonus: The Alternatives
Some cocktails are worth experimenting with and you may find yourself replacing an ingredient you had not thought of before.
That may be Grand Marnier in a Calvados Sidecar, Cognac in a Pear Brandy and Amaretto Sour, or any brandy for Cognac in an Old Fashioned.
Yes, you typically use Grand Marnier in a Calvados Sidecar but Triple Sec and Cointreau work well too.
Chill a martini glass and then add three quarters of an ounce each of freshly squeezed lemon juice and Triple Sec or Cointreau to one and a half ounces of Calvados (another apple brandy will work too).
Add ice to the shaker and after a few shakes, strain the mixture into your martini glass.
If you have a pear brandy then you can use it with amaretto to create this sour instead of using a Cognac which can be overpowering for the brandy ingredient.
Pour in three quarters of an ounce each of freshly squeezed lemon juice and amaretto with half an ounce of simple syrup and one and a half ounces of pear brandy.
Add ice, shake until well chilled and then strain into a rocks glass with some more ice. Top with club soda or ginger ale and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
An Old Fashioned typically comes served with Cognac yet brandy can work just fine. Add three dashes of Angostura Bitters to an Old Fashioned glass and muddle with a sugar cube, two orange slices, and two maraschino cherries.
Add ice then two ounces of brandy before topping up with either Sprite or club soda. Garnish with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry.
There are few liqueurs that prove as versatile as brandy as it comes in several forms. From apple or peach brandy to VSOP and Cognac. That means some recipes can be specific in which brandy you require.
Yet if you just want to treat yourself at Happy Hour and need a caffeine boost, add it to coffee.
Citrus fruits like limes and lemons go well with brandy too yet several cocktails also call for cream for indulgence.
If you do have a penchant for sparkling wine then treat yourself to Champagne as it works terrifically well with brandy, especially in a Champagne cocktail.
You may also find yourself requiring a bottle of Angostura Bitters for several of these recipes too which is well worth investing in and you may find it useful for other cocktails too.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Considered A Good Mixer For Brandy?
If you simply want to treat brandy to a mixer then there are several options to try. These include heavy cream, coffee, tea, orange juice, lemonade, ginger ale, or ginger beer. Even a coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kahlua can work well too.
Should A Bottle Of Brandy Be Refrigerated?
You may be used to freezing a bottle of vodka yet you may not even need to refrigerate a bottle of brandy. Leave it on the counter or on a shelf at room temperature and it should remain fine.
You may want to chill it yet if you do not have room, do not worry and prioritize the space for wine, beer, cider, and sparkling wine.