A little history on the cognac cocktail

Cognac is a wine brandy, one of its greatest riches is its aromatic complexity induced by “the blend”, the assembly of several brandies. They can also sometimes come from different farms, different vintages or even years of aging.

Mixology is the art of making cocktail recipes to highlight the ingredients of the mix, but also the way of presenting them and talking about one’s creations.

The first cognac cocktail recipes were intended to treat the ailments of patients. Some apothecaries prescribed a spoonful of cognac and bitters a day to soothe pain and prolong life expectancy…

There are tons of cognac cocktail recipes out there these days. They can be made with different qualities VS, VSOP or XO. In order to tame the use of this spirit in cocktails, it is preferable to taste it plain and to discover its aromatic qualities in order to imagine marriages of flavors.

The choice of cognac used remains very personal, it is possible to make a fresh and long drink cocktail based on VSOP cognac, just like a Sidecar based on VS or VSOP which will be shorter.

Some classic cognac cocktail recipes

With a VS cognac base

VS cognac is used in the development of fresh and thirst-quenching cocktail recipes . Most often VS cognac is the basis of a mix-drink, we simply add a tonic or ginger ale to express the freshness and woodiness of VS cognac. It is also possible to mix a cognac in a cocktail while respecting its fresh and subtle aromatic palette by using green tea or citrus fruits.

tonic brandy

Ingredients: 4 cl cognac VS, 12 cl tonic, 1 lemon wedge.

Recipe: Fill a long drink glass with ice, pour in the cognac then the tonic, stir very lightly with a spoon and add the lemon wedge.

Summit Cognac

Ingredients: 4 cl cognac VS, 1 cucumber zest, 2 slices of ginger, 1 lime zest, 8 cl lemonade.

Recipe: Crush the ginger in a rocks glass. Fill with ice and add the VS cognac, the lime zest then pour the lemonade. Mix lightly and place the cucumber zest expressed in a spiral then taste.

But also Peach Tea , King’s Rock and Josephine .

With a VSOP cognac base

VSOP cognac is aged for a minimum of 4 years in oak barrels. This characteristic gives it more complex aromas of fresh spices, ripe fruit and dried flowers. In cocktails, VSOP cognac is an integral part of the mix. It is best to base yourself on a recipe with a maximum of 4 ingredients.

Horse’s Neck

Ingredients: 4 cl VSOP cognac, 12 cl ginger ale, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, 1 organic orange zest.

Recipe: Fill a long drink glass with ice. Pour in the Cognac, the bitters and add the ginger ale. Squeeze the orange zest over the glass and drop it into the glass.


Ingredients: 4 cl VSOP cognac, 1.5 cl triple sec, 2 cl lemon juice, 1 organic lemon zest.

Recipe: Chill a coupette glass for serving. Fill the large part of your shaker 3/4 full. Pour all the ingredients into the small part of the shaker and close it. Shake the cocktail vigorously for 5 seconds. Pour the cocktail into the coupette glass and squeeze the lemon zest over the glass to flavor it.

Also discover 1828 .

With an XO cognac base

XO cognac is an eau-de-vie aged at least 10 years in oak barrels. This prolonged aging gives the XO cognac a very great complexity. At the tasting we find warm notes, spices, flowers, pastries as well as a woody present. All these aromas are assembled to perfection and must remain there when tasting the cocktail. To do this, the XO cognac is found at the base of the so-called ” Night Cap ” cocktail. Simple, elegant and subtle cocktails, usually offered at the end of a meal.

Cognac Old Fashioned

Ingredients: 5 cl XO cognac, 1 cl sugar syrup, 1 dash of Angostura bitters, 1 dash of Angostura orange, 1/2 slice of orange.

Recipe: Fill a rocks glass with ice, pour the cognac, bitters and sugar into a mixing glass or the small part of the shaker. Add ice and mix 6 to 8 turns. Pour the cocktail into the rocks glass and add the orange slice.

Express your creativity

Once you’ve discovered the classic cognac cocktail recipes, it’s time to get down to business and develop your own creativity!

The experience

For a successful cognac cocktail recipe, you must first determine the desired experience.

  • Informal: long drink / refreshing / slight acidity / fresh fruit
  • Aperitif: appetizer / elegant / sparkling
  • Formal: dinner / food and wine pairing / gastronomy / tasting / vegetable juice
  • After dinner: gourmet / bitterness / cigar

The type of experience also helps you define a glass to serve and present your cognac cocktail :

  • Punch: round glass / crushed ice
  • Cocktail fountain: flute or coupette
  • Wine spirit cocktail: wine glass
  • On the rocks: tasting glass / block of ice

Once the tasting experience has been designed, it’s time for the taste!

Taste: our recipe suggestions

The afternoon

The afternoon is mild by the pool, the garden is full of fruit trees and aromatic plants, opt for this recipe.

Ingredients: 4 cl cognac VS / 2 cl grapefruit juice / 2 fresh blackberries / 1.5 cl sugar syrup / 6 cl sparkling water / 2 sage leaves / 100 g crushed ice.

Recipe: Crush a blackberry in the bottom of a highball glass and add grapefruit juice and sugar. Add the crushed ice to 2/3 of the glass and pour the cognac. Shake the mix vigorously before adding the sparkling water. Place the rest of the crushed ice, making a dome above the glass and decorate the glass with sage leaves.

The aperitif

At the time of the aperitif at the corner of the barbecue, nothing better than a cognac punch to start the evening.

Ingredients for 2 litres: 70 cl cognac VS / 35 cl jasmine and ginger syrup / 25 cl lime juice / 80 cl milky oolong tea.

Recipe: Infuse 15 g of milky oolong tea in 100 cl of cold water for 8 hours. Filter the tea and pour it into a 3 L container. Infuse 20 cl of jasmine tea and 5 slices of ginger at 70°C for 3 minutes. Add twice the weight in sugar and heat it to dissolve the sugar and make a syrup. Once the syrup is cold, add it to the tea, then pour the lime juice and VS cognac. Mix the cocktail vigorously then keep it cool before serving.

Use a punch bowl or a fountain to serve the cocktail on ice, garnish with several slices of dried lemons.

Celebration meal

During a festive meal or an exceptional occasion, it is interesting to combine the dishes with the drinks while keeping the wine service codes at the table.

White wine spirit cognac cocktail

Ingredients: 40 cl VSOP cognac / 20 cl pear liqueur / 20 cl verjuice / 20 cl dry vermouth / 35 cl mint and ginger tea / 1/4 fresh fennel / 1/4 cucumber

Recipe: Infuse 40 cl of fresh mint and ginger tea at 70°C for 5 minutes. Pour all the ingredients into a container. Cut the fennel and cucumber into pieces and let the cocktail infuse in the fridge for 4 hours. Strain the cocktail and serve it chilled with a carafe in wine glasses.

This cocktail goes well with seafood, a cold starter, a vegetable pie…

Red wine spirit cocktail

Ingredients: 40 cl VSOP cognac / 10 cl clear beetroot juice / 15 cl verjuice / 20 cl red vermouth / 50 cl hibiscus roibos tea / 10 cl cherry liqueur / 20 cl mineral water

Recipe: Infuse 60 cl of hibiscus roïboos tea at 70°C for 3 minutes. Pour all the ingredients into a container along with the cooled tea. Serve this cocktail with a carafe in wine glasses.

This cocktail goes very well with grilled meats such as duck or a piece of beef. With a red wine spirit, it goes perfectly with a temperature of 12°C.

Evening by the fire

During a long winter evening, by the fire or an outing in the forest punctuated by a gastronomic stopover.

Ingredients: 3.5 cl VSOP or XO cognac / 1 cl walnut aperitif / 1.5 cl fig leaf liqueur, 1.5 cl verjuice / 2 cl pear

Recipe: Pour all the ingredients into the mixing glass. Add ice to 3/4 of the mixing glass and dilute the cocktail for 8 turns. Pour the cocktail into a “tulip” glass and enjoy.

This type of pairing blends with the sensations and experience provided by the environment of this tasting.

A successful cognac cocktail is first of all to highlight the eau-de-vie used by the expression of its sensations, its tastes and its creativity.

Good tasting !

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