These brandy cocktails are full of delightfully boozy flavor! Choose from all the great brandy drinks, from Alexander to Sidecar.
Got brandy? Brandy drinks are some of the most classic cocktails of all! This historic liquor features in everything from the tangy Sidecar to the boozy Sazerac. While vodka and gin are more popular today, there’s always a place for brandy at the table.
Here are all the best brandy cocktails to try, from creamy and sweet to boozy and dry. Each of these drinks uses various types of brandy: some you can choose your own, or others specify Cognac (French style) or Pisco (Peruvian style). Read more about types of brandy below…or let’s get mixing!
And now…the top brandy drinks and cocktails to try!
Arguably the most popular brandy cocktail is the Brandy Alexander! It's a creamy, boozy delight, invented back in 1916. This simple drink is equal parts creamy, intriguing, and delicious. Mix brandy with cocoa liqueur (creme de cacao) and cream: it's like a classier White Russian.
Here’s a brandy drink that’s a quirky spin on a classic: the Brandy Old Fashioned! Leave it to Wisconsinites to make their own spin on the Old Fashioned: so popular that it became the State drink. Order it in a bar and it comes with lots of variations: Sweet, Sour, Press and Soda. When it comes to the garnishes…well, those are a little funky too (pickled Brussels sprouts?).
Ingredients: Brandy, sugar, Angostura bitters, lemon lime soda
Here's one of the most classic brandy cocktails of all time: Sidecar! This drink is perfectly balanced between sweet and tart, with just the right edge from the boozy brandy. It’s a complex, layered drink: warm, crisp, dry, rich, and full at the same time. While it's typically made with Cognac, you can make it with any type of brandy.
Ingredients: Cognac or other brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice
Here's another creamy brandy drink: Milk Punch! It's one of the oldest cocktails there is, featuring brandy, bourbon, milk and sugar. It’s a popular brunch drink in New Orleans and in the American South. You'll love the creamy, cool milk against the spice of the brandy and the nuance of vanilla extract.
Here’s a bright and tangy brandy cocktail that’s a little sassy: the Between the Sheets! A spin on the classic Sidecar, it features rum and brandy together: something that in Prohibition times was thought to be a little naughty. The rum adds nuance to this citrusy drink, and it’s a great sour cocktail that goes down easy.
Ingredients: Brandy, white rum, Cointreau or triple sec, lemon juice
Looking for a sophisticated spin on the Manhattan? Try the Brandy Manhattan! If you’ve got a bottle of Cognac or brandy, this is the drink for you. Brandy is sweeter than whiskey, with fruity, floral and citrus notes. So brandy makes for a sweeter, more complex and even more exciting Manhattan cocktail, in our opinion.
Ingredients: Brandy or Cognac, sweet red vermouth, Angostura bitters
Here's a brandy cocktail that takes just 1 minute to stir together: the French Connection! This slow-sipper features Cognac and amaretto in a perfect pairing. Serve it over ice and you’ve got a sophisticated drink that’s far greater than the sum of its parts. The amaretto gives it an almond essence that matches the strength of the brandy.
Next up, a brandy drink with some history: the boozy Sazerac! It's a low ball cocktail made with Cognac or rye whiskey, and absinthe, invented in New Orleans in the mid-1800’s. The previously outlawed absinthe is now back in good graces (since 2007, at least), so it's a reason to try this famous slow sipper. It’s the official drink of New Orleans and one of the oldest cocktails there is.
Another great New Orleans brandy drink? The Vieux Carre! (Say it VOO care-A.) This unique classic cocktail comes from New Orleans: the name means “French Quarter” in French. It’s strong and alcohol forward, made with not one but two types of bitters and Cognac brandy. The complex flavor is ideal for whiskey lovers who love to relax with a slow sipper in hand.
It might be called the Japanese Cocktail, but this drink isn’t related to Japanese cuisine. It doesn’t even have Japanese whiskey! But this American classic from the 1860's is worth a try. Grab your favorite brandy or Cognac then sweeten it with orgeat, a tasty almond cocktail syrup. Add a few shakes of bitters and it comes out nutty with a hint of citrus and an herbal finish from the bitters.
Ingredients: Brandy or Cognac, orgeat syrup, lemon juice (optional), bitters
A final unexpected brandy drink? The Pisco Sour! Pisco is a type of Peruvian brandy, and it makes for one heck of a cocktail. This sour cocktail from Peru is massively popular for a reason. It’s just that good. We’ve made all the sours: our famous Whiskey Sour and Amaretto Sour, the two-toned New York Sour, and many more. But there’s really nothing like a pisco sour. The way the pisco melds with the lime makes it bright, mellow, and distinctly magical.
Ingredients: Pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, egg white
Types of brandy
Brandy is a liquor made from distilling wine or other fruit, like apples or apricot. There are several major types of brandy that feature in the drinks below, including:
Cognac, a French brandy that tastes spicy, fruity, and bitter, with notes of vanilla and oak
Armagnac, a more full-flavored, richer French brandy, with notes of dark caramel, chocolate and burnt orange
Calvados, an apple or pear brandy made in France
Brandy de Jerez, Spanish brandy that tastes dry and smooth, with notes of caramel, almond and vanilla
American brandy, any type of brandy made in the US
Pisco, a Peruvian brandy made of fermented grapes with a funky, earthy flavor. (It’s very different, so only use it in the Pisco Sour!)
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.