Last week, we looked at tequila and mezcal in building your home bar, and this week, we’re back to classic cocktail staples with brandy. One of Golden Age bartenders’ most-used base spirits, brandy--fruit distillate, most commonly made from grapes--is the foundation for many an essential drink. A flip though a classic cocktail book will quickly reveal its significance, as well as offer up some mixing ideas.
Your starting point should be a Cognac VS, the youngest age designation for these regional spirits; while a more aged spirit can make an excellent cocktail, and we encourage you to try mixing with your favorite VSOP, this is the absolute necessity. We suggest taking a look at Philippe Latourelle Cognac VS. One of our favorite cognac classics is the Sidecar, and though there several traditional variations on it, this is our favorite so far:
2 oz. Cognac
1 oz. Combier Orange Liqueur
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
A less common variety that’s nonetheless a must-have is apple brandy. This category has many variations, from America’s applejack to France’s Calvados, and these spirits have a wide range of delicious mixing applications. Apple brandy can be used in a variety of seasonal warm punches, and it’s got bourbon tied for our favorite addition to hot cider. Named for (and possibly by) a famous early 20th century perjurer, this dusty pink cocktail is a must-mix.
2 oz. Applejack
1 oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. Grenadine
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Finally, if you’re interested in experimenting, we’d suggest looking to the traditionally-sipped-straight category of eau de vie. Translating to “water of life,” these traditional fruit brandies make flavorful substitutions for vodka.
Happy mixing from DrinkUpNY!