Only a short time ago, the notion of Scotch cocktails seemed a bit absurd to many drinkers—isn't Scotch supposed to be served neat? But as bartenders became acquainted with more affordable blended Scotches marketed for mixing, Scotch cocktails started popping up at bars across the country. Cognac is, in many ways, a similar case: a generally pricey spirit whose higher-end bottles are indeed best enjoyed straight, but whose more affordable brethren can shine when mixed. As we're seeing mixology-focused cognacs hit the market, perhaps the cognac cocktail is on the verge of a comeback.
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This cocktail is an apple orchard in a glass, bursting with three layers of apple flavor from fresh sweet cider, 100-proof apple brandy, and fizzy hard cider.
Thanks to a crop of small distillers, the U.S. is now one of the most exciting producers of apple brandy. We tasted our way through an orchard of bottles to find a few of the best.
Some compare the South American spirit to grappa, because both are distilled from grapes. Others relate it to tequila, as it often has similar herbal, earthy flavors. The truth is, comparisons to other liquors often fall flat because pisco has its own unique personality. We tasted through 25 different piscos, exploring what makes the category so wild and wonderful. Here are our 10 favorites.
A potent mix of applejack, grenadine, and lemon juice flavored with a dash of Peychaud's bitters.
This equal-parts drink, made with cognac, Old Tom gin, and sweet vermouth, is luscious and smooth, with a little candied-orange sweetness and a touch of vanilla.
The cocktail program at Trou Normand focuses on Calvados, Armagnac, and Cognac. But that narrow focus doesn't feel like a gimmick here, and their spin on the Old Fashioned is worth braving the crowds.
There's something about punch that transports us back to the days of Dickens, and this warm milk punch dates back even further. It's a delicious, lighter-tasting alternative to a classic eggnog that doesn't taste as boozy as a hot toddy.
This historic punch recipe originates from a 1711 British recipe, but The Varnish's Max Seaman made some modifications for the modern day drinker.
Lighten and brighten up the classic Brandy Alexander with a little homemade quince syrup.
The base spirit in this cocktail is Calvados, distilled from apples in France. Eastern Standard's Kevin Martin cooks up a special spiced syrup to play up those characteristic fruits in the sweet and spicy way we know best as apple pie, but he didn't leave it at that.
The Eastern Standard's Equinox has become a favorite at the Boston bar—it offers an autumnal twist on the classic sour.
This cocktail, created by John Hogan of Lincoln Restaurant and Teddy & the Bully Bar in Washington, DC, is an autumnal take on a pisco sour, made without eggwhite.
A tasty fall cocktail with a cognac base, made with Fernet Branca, maple syrup, and tart apple cider vinegar, plus a sprinkle of cinnamon.
This cocktail from Mark Brinker and Jessica Tessendorf of Chicago's Barrelhouse Flat is a tasty fall drink with a cognac base. Fernet Branca, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar all contribute to the subtle complexity of the flavor, while cinnamon adds an autumnal aroma.
With pear brandy, orange liqueur, and rhubarb shrub, this drink keeps the spirit of the Sidecar with three bold flavors.
Shots! Shots! Shots! These are often the words that get the party started...and lead to countless bad decisions and lost memories. The trouble is that not all shots are created equal. Some go down as easy as pie while others burn and burn. The Prairie Fire shot is one of those dangerous shots, commonly constructed with cheap tequila enlivened by Tabasco sauce. But despite its fiery reputation, the Prairie Fire can be corralled into a balanced—and delicious—craft cocktail. Here's how.
This sweet and spicy cocktail packs a fiery punch but won't overwhelm your tastebuds.
The Grasshopper is the original green monster drink, but this sweet and creamy dessert cocktail is reawakened with fresh mint.
Cognac. To many, it's the ultimate in brandy. Now, you may ask why? Does it taste better? is it the expense? The time to make it? The grapes? The history? I'd say it's all of those things, and more. But what is cognac? How's it made, and what makes it special?