With temperatures continuing to drop, Cognac is the perfect drink to cozy up with at the end of a long day. The brandy, produced in the Cognac region of France, has a light fruity flavor (think oranges and apricots) with notes of nuts, spices, florals, and caramel.
Cognac is often synonymous with images of wooded cabins, fur throws, and cozy nights in. So what better way to enjoy the spirit than by mixing it up in an autumnal cocktail? From dessert-inspired recipes, to riffs on classics like the Hot Toddy, there are plenty of sweet and spiced brandy-based drinks to make at home.
Need some inspiration? Here are seven Cognac-based cocktails from VinePair’s recipe library to drink fireside.
The Rough Waters Recipe
Made with Cognac, aromatic bitters, and sweet vermouth, this cocktail was originally created by the MO Bar at the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. However, this home bartender-friendly version simplifies the bar’s original recipe, making it ideal for sipping at your next socially distanced gathering. In a mixing glass, stir together Cognac, bitters, vermouth, and optional homemade saline solution. Strain into a chilled cordial glass.
The Cognac Cherry Cordial Recipe
Inspired by cherry-filled chocolates, this drink is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Shake together Cognac, cherry syrup, sweet vermouth, vanilla bean paste, and chocolate bitters with ice. Strain into a glass, and garnish with one of the namesake candies for a deliciously drinkable dessert.
The Hennessy Hot Toddy Recipe
There may be no drink better to warm up with than a Hot Toddy — especially since it may even cure a winter cold. One of many variations, this riff on the classic winter cocktail uses Hennesey in place of whiskey. Steep a bag of herbal tea in a mug, then stir in maple syrup, the spirit, and the juice of a lemon wedge. For an extra festive feel, add a whole cinnamon stick, and enjoy!
The French Zabaglione Recipe
Winter is really all about comfort food, and what’s more comforting than a dessert-inspired cocktail? Influenced by the Italian custard dessert zabaglione, this drink has a smooth mouthfeel with a sweet finish. In a shaker, combine Cognac, banana liqueur, lemon juice, a whole egg, and orange bitters. Strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with a lemon peel.
The Zesty Zeus Recipe
Need a pick-me-up? This caffeine-filled cocktail uses two cold-weather spirit staples, Cognac and rye whiskey, for a warm, spiced flavor. Shake both spirits together with cold brew coffee and maple syrup for a balanced finish. Strain into a coupe glass, and garnish with an orange twist.
The Easy Eggnog Punch Recipe
Whether gathering with friends or family, try this easy, two-ingredient batch cocktail recipe to really get in the holiday spirit. Stir together eggnog (store-bought makes it extra simple) and Cognac in a punch bowl with ice. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top, and garnish with cinnamon sticks. Don’t have a bottle of Cognac readily available? Swap it out with bourbon or rum.
The Brandy Alexander Recipe
The Alexander is a drink that dates back to the early 20th century. This cocktail — also known as the Alexander #2 — evolved from the original gin-based recipe. Since the 1930s, bartenders have preferred using brandy in the cocktail (hence its not-so-original name). To make this cold weather treat, combine brandy with crème de cacao and cream in a shaker, and strain into a Nick & Nora or coupe glass. The result is a richly sweet drink that is topped with freshly grated nutmeg.