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Classic Brandy Cocktails

As we’ve stepped into a new year, the misty cold seems to be the flavour of this season. Another flavour to watch out for this season is the taste of ever-faithful and delicious brandy. And although there isn’t a wrong season to pick out a good old brandy, it becomes a perfectly enjoyable alcoholic drink even more so in winters.

For the novices, the word ‘brandy’ is derived from the Dutch word brandewijn, which translates to burnt wine. Brandy is the distilled alcoholic drink made from wine or a fermented fruit mash. The rich-fruity tasting alcoholic beverage is often drunk up straight, it is also mixed as an ingredient in cocktails.

In this article, we bring you a list of cocktails made with boldly boozy brandy.

Brandy Alexander


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 This sweet & creamy cocktail is a popular choice as an after-dinner cocktail. Originally made with gin as ‘Alexander’, this cocktail got rechristened as ‘Brandy Alexander’ in 1922.


 1 oz. Cognac or Brandy

1 oz. Crème de Cacao

Splash half & half cream optional

2 scoops vanilla ice cream


 Pour ingredients into an empty blender canister. Thoroughly blend ingredients and pour into a chilled house speciality glass. Garnish with a dusting of grated nutmeg.



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This classic cocktail gives you a taste of fine Parisian elegance. The recipe first appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930.


  • 1 1/2 ounces cognac
  • 1/2 ounce green Chartreuse
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass.


Club Cocktail Brandy

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The recipe of this tropical cocktail first appeared in ‘Just Cocktails’ by W.C. Whitfield’s in 1939. The tropical taste of pineapple with brandy is a thing that makes this cocktail stand out.


  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce pineapple juice
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Garnish: lemon peel
  • Garnish: strawberry


 Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

  • Shake well.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a lemon peel and strawberry.


Wisconsin Brandy Old-Fashioned


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Nothing beats brandy prepared the old-fashioned Wisconsin way! Do you know a special thing about it? Well, it was first showcased at the Chicago’s Columbian Exhibition ages ago in 1893.


  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 orange slice (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 Maraschino cherries or brandied cherries (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • Sprite, 7-up, Squirt, sour mix, or seltzer (as desired to top off the drink)


  • Place the sugar, bitters, orange slice, and cherries in an Old Fashioned glass.
  • Add a splash of water. Muddle*, being careful to avoid the orange rind, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the brandy and a couple of ice cubes. Stir.
  • Top the drink off with your choice of soda, sour mix, or seltzer.
  • Garnish with a skewered orange slice and cherry, if desired.


French 125

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Trust the French to do things utterly stylishly & deliciously, this cocktail stands as a proof of it.


  • 1 1/2 oz. Cognac
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 4-6 oz. chilled brut Champagne


  • Pour Cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup into an iced mixing glass.
  • Shake vigorously and strain contents into a chilled Champagne flute.
  • Fill with chilled brut Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist spiral.


Before the winters slowly yet gradually fade away and the doors of Spring are sprung open, try out these amazing cocktails in this beautiful weather. Cocktail lovers, it’s time to bring out your finest brandy because the winters are here to stay, well, at least for a while!

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Why Do I Get Drunk but My Friends Don’t?

‘Why did I get drunk last evening, but my friend was sober?’, raise your hand if you’ve been plagued by this question at least once in your life.

There are people who are more affected by alcohol, meaning that they get tipsy, whereas, some others remain as solid as a rock despite consuming rather large amounts of alcohol. Thus, if this question has troubled you to bits, you’d be relieved to know that you aren’t alone! Sometimes, even the seasoned drinkers are perplexed by this tricky situation after a night of revelry with friends. So, you can sit back & relax as we share some facts that can help to solve this mystery for you!

Now, speaking of capacity or tolerance, how is that different for two individuals consuming the same amount of alcohol? Well it could depend upon various factors which determine what effects does alcohol have on ones’ body, these factors include ethnic, biological traits, age, gender, the interval between drinks, whether one has consumed alcohol on an empty stomach.

Ethnic & Biological Traits

Have you ever heard of the famous Asian flush syndrome? Do you also wonder if the Irish really are heavy drinkers?

Asian flush syndrome is a condition which is found in people of Asian ethnicities particularly China, Japan, Korea.
The primary enzyme responsible for the Asian flush syndrome is dehydrogenase.

The red flush occurs because of a genetic acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency. The blood vessels dilate due to the buildup of ‘acetaldehyde’ leading to the ‘flushed’ reddening of the face and raced heartbeats.

From Asia, as we move on to Ireland, it is pertinent to mention that there is no scientific evidence that supports or suggests that the Irish are indeed comparatively superior drinkers!


It takes time to become a seasoned drinker as the body takes time to become tolerant of alcohol. Paradoxically, as we ripe in age & owing to physical changes & in the brain, the alcohol builds up to a higher concentration & hits us slightly harder.

As postmenopausal women go through changes in their body, another effect of menopause observed is the slower metabolism of alcohol.


Men have a higher water body level which means that they are less likely to get drunk in comparison with premenopausal women.

It is observed that women are more likely to get liver toxicity.

Time Interval

How you consume alcohol really matters, yes it does!

One needs to time their drink as going slow is the key here. The volume of alcohol consumed at a slow pace is more likely to keep you sober. The faster you drink, the drunker you get.


Never drink it up on an empty stomach, carbs & fats ensure that you do not get drunk anytime sooner. Certain foods delay the absorption of alcohol in the body, thus saving the day for us!

To conclude, you can heave a sigh of relief, since you know the contributing factors which are likely to make you drunker than your friends.

Disclaimer: Let’s state here that excessive drinking has adverse effects on health and by no means should one boast about a mighty drinking capacity. One should be mindful of the amount of alcohol consumed & must not drink beyond one’s capacity.

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Is There A Difference Between Cognac & Armagnac?

Let’s begin with the basics here to keep things simple.

So, what kind of liquor is Cognac and what about Armagnac?

In a lay language, cognac and Armagnac are like first cousins, they are similar yet different! They both are French brandies distilled from wine, but they differ vastly in terms of variety of grapes used & distillation process.

Moving on to cognac and brandy, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that all cognacs are brandy but not all brandy is Cognac. To explain it further, brandy is a liquor which is made by distillation of grapes whereas, cognac has to fulfil a certain set of strict parameters for it to be called so. Cognac is a particular form of brandy which is produced specifically in Cognac town of south-western France and it requires to .follow certain stringent legal criterion vis-à-vis naming and production method. In this way, it reminds us to share a similar example of Champagne and sparkling wine, you can read about it here.

Variety of Grapes

Cognac uses 97% of  Ugni Blah grapes which are high in acidity content. Armagnac in addition to Ugni Blah grape variety (55%)also uses three additional varieties of grapes, namely Folle Blanche (5%), of Colombard (5%) and Baco Blanc (35%) grape varieties.

Baco Blanc in Armagnac is a hybrid variety of American Noa & Folle Blanche grape varieties, which is absent in Cognac.

The white wine from which Cognac is made is highly acidic, making it almost undrinkable. However, the produced wine in Armagnac tastes pleasant.


Climate, temperature & soil variety play a significant role in deciding the grape varieties which grow in a particular region.

The climate in both regions of Cognac and Armagnac differ significantly. By and large, Armagnac experiences moderate-continental climate with dry summers & comparatively harsher winters.


The difference in the distillation process significantly affects the end product.

While Armagnac goes through a single distillation in continuous Armagnac pot still (or column still), Cognac goes through double distillation in pot stills (Charentais pot still).


Following the distillation process, these brandies are then left to age in the barrels. The minimum aging process of Cognac is two years whereas Armagnac can be aged for a minimum period of one year.

As per Cognac regulations, only French oak barrels are permitted for the aging process. Armagnac is left to age in 400-litres oak barrels mostly from the forests of Gascony or Limousin.

To conclude, although the average production of Armagnac is lesser than that of Cognac, the superiority of one brandy over the other cannot be established. While Armagnac is more robust than Cognac, both the brandies are bold spirits with great aromatic richness,  and these are served at room temperature. While Cognac is the vivacious globe-trotting brandy, Armagnac remains low-key!

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