It’s late summer – and perhaps one of the very best seasons to try mixing your cognac up in a few different ways. Just think – a chilled glass, some ice cubes, a fruity or fizzing mixer all spiced up with a tot or two of your favourite cognac.

In our humble opinion, there’s no better way to end the perfect summer’s day than by sitting outside and enjoying a scrumptious cognac cocktail.

Side Car - New Garnish

Cognac has long been used by mixologists as a base for some truly decadent cocktails. And you only have to look at the contenders for the world’s most expensive cocktail to see this. For example, the cocktail that includes Croizet 1858 Cuvee Leonie Cognac, or perhaps Salvatore’s Legacy, with it’s pre-French Revolution and American Independence ingredients.

But coming back to the more affordable cognac cocktails, we thought we’d come up with a ‘top 5 list’ of some of our favourites. Easy to make and great to experiment with, they contain ingredients that most of us have in our kitchens already. We’ve listed some of our favourites below. These, and many others, are some of the recipes that Cognac Expert provided for the recently revamped and republish directory by cognac specialist, Nicholas Faith. Read more about this in the interview that he gave to Cognac Expert at the end of last year.

1. The Classic One: Sidecar Cocktail

This classy little cocktail is both simple and chic. It not only tastes fabulous, but looks just wonderful when served. It is believed that it was so named after the motorcycle sidecar in which an eccentric British captain in Paris during the Second World War was transported to the bistro where the cocktail was born. The first recorded listing for this cocktail can be found in the early 1920s books, Harry’s ABC of Cocktails, and Cocktails, How to Mix Them.

In the USA the Sidecar is often served with a sugared rim, and is very popular. However, this then leads to a completely different cocktail: one named the Brandy Crusta (see below for more details). Of course, you can enjoy the Sidecar (or Brandy Crusta) served however you prefer.


  • 2 parts of VS or VSOP cognac
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • dash of sugar syrup
  • 1 twist of lemon peel for garnish

Place all the ingredients (bar the lemon peel) in a cocktail shaker with some crushed ice and mix. Allow to cool and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the twist of lemon peel and serve immediately.

2. The Risqué One – Between the Sheets

Yeah, baby! This is one to spice up any party, and is definitely a classic cocktail. It’s also quite alcoholic, so be aware of this when sipping, as it doesn’t taste as lethal as it really is…


  • 3cl cognac (quality and brand of your choice)
  • 3cl white rum
  • 3cl Cointreau
  • 3cl lemon juice
  • 1 slice of lemon crushed ice

Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and mix well. Allow to cool, then pour into a tumbler, long glass or balloon glass and serve immediately.


3. The Decadent One: Champagne Pick Me Up

What better than the combination of dry champagne and cognac to provide the perfect before- or after-dinner cocktail? And it’s so easy to make, as well as quick, meaning you can easily pamper your dinner guests with a cocktail that will certainly get the juices flowing…


  • 2cl cognac (quality and brand of your choice)
  • 2cl fresh orange juice
  • very small amount of Grenadine
  • cooled champagne
  • ice cubes

Prepare chilled champagne glasses. Put all the ingredients except the champagne into a cocktail shaker and mix well. Allow to cool before pouring into the glasses. Add the champagne and serve immediately.

4. The Funky New One

Well, you might not think that the humble banana would figure in many cognac cocktail recipes. But we’ve come across an interesting liqueur that’s being used by mixologists in the US to surprisingly good effect.

Giffard Banane du Bresil is produced by a four-week maceration process, and then given an added kick by being fortified with cognac. The hippest of New York bars are using this to create fabulous new cocktails. This includes the NiteCap bar who’re offering the ‘Bananarac.’ This is a mix of Giffard Banane du Bresil with rye whiskey, bitters and Absinthe that creates a head-spinning concoction.


  • 2cl Giffard Banane du Bresil
  • Absinthe
  • 2 cl rye whiskey of your choice
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • Lemon peel
  • Ice cubes

Rinse a tumbler glass with Absinthe and discard the excess. Place the sugar cube in a mixing glass with the bitters and swirl. Add the rye whiskey, Giffard Banane du Bresil, fill with ice cubes and stir well. Strain into the tumbler glass, twist a lemon peel over the surface of the drink for an added bite.

Of course, there are many more ways you can enjoy cognac in cocktail form. Check out our ’30 Best’ List here for more ideas.


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Jacki has been with Cognac Expert from virtually the beginning. She's the senior editor of the blog, and has spent much of her life living in rural France. Today she's based back in the UK, where she splits her working life between writing for Cognac Expert and working as a Paramedic at a large regional hospital.

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