If you like strong cocktails but aren’t a big fan of rye whiskey or bourbon, brandy cocktails might be an excellent compromise for you.
In some ways, brandy cocktails and whiskey cocktails have a lot in common, but brandy cocktails, while potent, tend to be somewhat sweeter, more floral-like, and fruitier.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t still get some smoky, woodsy drinks; you will. However, there are also some lighter cocktails in the mix.
So whether you’re looking for something traditional, like the sidecar, or something new and fun to try, this list should have a drink for you. Enjoy!
20 Classic Brandy Cocktails Everyone Should Know
This three-ingredient brandy cocktail is sweet, creamy, and perfect for the holidays.
All you’ll need to make it is brandy, Kahlua, and cream, though a dash of cinnamon won’t hurt, either.
It’s a rich, tasty drink that has just enough coffee in it to make it extra yummy.
If you thought the Brandy Alexander sounded a lot like eggnog without the nog, you’re not alone.
It was my first thought, too. And after I tried it, I still thought, “Man, that would be perfect in eggnog.”
So I did a little digging and found out that yes, lots of other people thought so, too.
That’s why there’s an eggnog Brandy Alexander. To make it, you’ll need eggnog, spiced rum, and brandy.
Like the original Brandy Alexander, it’s sweet, creamy, and delicious. It’s spicier, but that just makes it better and even more ideal for the holiday season.
3. The Woodsman
Fall drinks are some of my favorites, and the Woodsman is the quintessential fall drink.
It may only have five ingredients, but it manages to work in all of your favorite fall flavors.
You’ll get apples and spice from the applejack (or apple brandy) and ginger liqueur.
Then, you’ll also add maple syrup, Angostura bitters, and an orange twist garnish.
It’s everything you love about fall in one lovely reddish-orange cocktail.
The Cheese State puts its spin on the classic old-fashioned in this delightfully sweet-but-not-too-sweet brandy cocktail.
To make it, you’ll need an orange slice, a maraschino cherry, cherry juice, a sugar cube, Angostura bitters, brandy, ice, and lemon-lime or grapefruit soda.
(If you’re going for a sweeter drink, use lemon-lime soda; the grapefruit adds a hint of bitterness that offsets all the other sweet ingredients.)
This cognac-based drink is ideal for anyone who loves pears and ginger because that’s about all you’ll taste.
It’s like someone liquified a pear, shaved off some ginger root into it, and added a splash of brandy. It’s delicious, spiced, and fruity.
It would be challenging to find a more unique-looking drink than the whiskey apple brandy cocktail.
The top is thick and luscious whipped cream dusted with chocolate shavings.
The rest of the drink, though, isn’t nearly so thick or rich. It’s more like spiked (and spiced) apple juice with a bit of lemon juice added for contrast.
It’s certainly a drink that’ll catch people’s attention, and once they try a sip, it’ll catch even more than that because it’s scrumptious.
7. Brandy Daisy
If you’re looking for a brighter, zestier option, try the Brandy Daisy instead. It has a lot in common with the sidecar, but it’s a bit more on the tart side.
Even so, it’s still tasty, ice-cold, and super simple to make, taking only 5 minutes.
8. Brandy Smash
This four-ingredient drink is for anyone who loves the rich, complex taste of brandy.
Although you’ll add some sugar, soda water, and mint leaves, the brandy still shines through in this one.
It’s a crisp, minty drink with a semi-sweet aftertaste that lingers pleasantly on the tongue.
If you’re looking for a cleansing before-dinner drink, this one is the one you want.
This orangey-red drink is a citrusy twist on the more well-known Cosmopolitan. It combines brandy, sweet vermouth, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters.
It’s a complex drink that features notes of orange, caramel, vanilla, fruits, and berries.
It’s insanely easy to make, but there’s a lot going on in that flavor profile that seems to defy the drink’s simplicity.
10. Vieux Carre
The vieux carre, or “old square,” is a 2-minute, booze-forward cocktail that’s good for any occasion.
While there’s a hint of sweetness from the sweet vermouth and Benedictine, it’s primarily earthy, herby, and woodsy.
If you’re the kind of person who likes stiff drinks without a lot of extra sugary sweetness, this one is an excellent choice.
This tartly sweet, citrusy drink is an ideal after-dinner drink for when you want something strong and sweet.
It contains an ounce each of white rum, cognac, and triple sec.
There’s also a dash of lemon juice and a lemon peel garnish.
You’ll need to be someone who likes to taste the alcohol in your drinks for this one; otherwise, it’s probably not for you.
The vintage Champagne cocktail may look light – and it is in appearance and taste – but it’s pretty much 100% alcohol in ingredients.
There are only three, and they all contain varying levels of booze. There’s Prosecco (or any Champagne), triple sec, and brandy.
It’s a bubbly, robust cocktail that looks elegant enough for any party or formal occasion.
13. Brandy Cobbler
This drink is for anyone who can’t choose between after-dinner drinks and dessert.
With two ounces of brandy and soda water, it has a nice, bubbly, zesty kick.
But thanks to the fresh fruit and simple syrup, it’s also sweet enough to enjoy for dessert.
Ah, the chrysanthemum – a fancy name for a fancy drink. Or at least, it looks fancy; it’s actually quite simple to make and uses only three ingredients.
With nothing more than dry vermouth, brandy, and absinthe, you can create an amber-colored cocktail with a rich, somewhat bitter licorice flavor that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tried.
Garnish it with an orange twist (and add a bit of the orange’s juice into it if you want to make the cocktail a little sweeter), and you’ll have a real hit on your hands.
Whether you’re looking for some hair of the dog that bit you or your new favorite brunch cocktail, the New Orleans brandy milk punch is sure to make your list.
It’s sweet and creamy, but it isn’t too rich or overwhelming.
There’s a light vanilla flavor that makes it super delectable, and the nutmeg adds just enough spice to make it memorable.
This may not be one you want to order on a busy night at the club, but for relaxed, lazy Saturdays at home, it’s pretty perfect.
16. Sidecar Cocktail
If you’re looking for a classic cocktail that has a light sweetness to it, give the sidecar a try.
You’ll make it with brandy, triple sec, lemon juice, and sugar for the rim.
The sugared rim adds a hint of sugary sweetness to every sip, while the triple sec (or other orange liqueur) adds in a bit of tang, as well.
If you enjoy drinks that are a little on the lighter side, you’ll probably be perfectly content with the sidecar.
17. Mulled Wine
If you love the fruitiness and spiced herb flavor of mulled wine but wish it had just a bit more kick to it, this mulled wine recipe might be the one you need.
You’ll still use a bottle of your favorite red wine, oranges, honey, and all of your favorite spices (star anise, cinnamon, cloves, etc.), but then you’ll also add a fourth cup of brandy.
It gives it just a bit more oomph if you ask me.
There are not many things that you can’t make taste better with brandy, including coffee.
This sweet, spiced cold brew is perfect for brunch or for any other time you need a bit of a pick-me-up with your alcohol.
It’s easy to make, requiring only four main ingredients and whatever garnishes you like best. You might not buy it from Starbucks, but it tastes every bit as good.
19. Champagne Bowler
I love everything about this drink. I love the way it looks, the way it smells, and especially the way it tastes.
It combines several of my favorite things: strawberries, cognac, white wine, sparkling wine, and simple syrup.
As you can probably guess from that ingredients list, it’s a sweet drink.
Even so, there’s a freshness to it that makes it sweet without being candy-like or sickeningly sugary.
It’s great for celebrating or for enjoying a lazy day by the pool.
20. Brandy Manhattan
The Brandy Manhattan is – you guessed it – a brandy-filled twist on the traditional Manhattan.
You’ll combine brandy, sweet red vermouth, and Angostura bitters.
Then, simply add a cherry and a lemon peel for garnishes, and you’re all set.
You’ll have an elegant, perfect-for-any-occasion drink that’s ready in just 5 minutes.
Oh, and if you prefer sweet drinks to dry, then you’ll like this one more than the original Manhattan, which has somewhat more of a bite.
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