15 Brandy Cocktails That'll Have You Restocking Your Bar Cart ASAP

Brandy is more than just for sipping neat!

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brandy alexander, dessert cocktail, chocolate, brandy, creme de cacao, cream

When you think of brandy, do you only thinking of sipping it neat? Well, it's time to shake things up (literally) with some long-overdue cocktails. The sweet and fruity liquor is great on ice as an amazing after-dinner night cap, but we think it's even better when used these iconic brandy mixed drinks, like Brandy Alexanders, sidecars, and cherry Sazeracs.

First things first: What is brandy anyway? Simply put, brandy is a spirit made by distilling fermented fruit juice (i.e., wine), which are then aged in oak casks. Brandy is also an umbrella term for a wide variety of liquors you probably already enjoy, like Cognac (which is strictly made in Cognac, France with white grapes), Pisco, Grappa, Kirschwasser, Ouzo, Applejack, and Calvados.

Most importantly, how do you use brandy? Brandy is such a multi-dimensional liquor, and it lends a mellow sweetness (ranging from notes of cherry and apple all the way to anise) to some of our favorite classic cocktails. Our favorite introduction to brandy is using it as a way to add body to a refreshing red sangria and some boozy decadence to eggnog and mulled wine.

That being said, if you want to make brandy the star, by all means, go for it. Our Pisco Sour recipe highlights smooth, earthy Chilean-Peruvian Pisco brandy, and Calvados (apple brandy) is the key to our favorite Appletini and Big Apple Manhattans. And if you're looking to upgrade your usual sidecar, you'll absolutely want to get acquainted with our new favorite use of Cognac: this spicy grapefruit sidecar.

brandy alexander, dessert cocktail, chocolate, brandy, creme de cacao, cream
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Brandy Alexander

This retro dessert cocktail deserves a spot at your next dinner party. Making a Brandy Alexander couldn’t be easier, either: Just add equal parts of brandy, dark crème de cacao, and heavy cream for a sophisticated and luxurious post-dinner cocktail. Think of it as a boozy, ultra-fancy chocolate milkshake!

Get the Brandy Alexander recipe.

Erik Bernstein
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Classic Sidecar

This is one classic cocktail recipe you'll want to keep in your back pocket. The sugar rim isn't required, but we think it offsets the tart flavors in the drink nicely. If you find your Sidecar too sour, bump up the sweetness with a little more triple sec.

Get the Classic Sidecar recipe.

pisco sour
Andrew bui
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Pisco Sour

Smooth and slightly tart, the pisco sour is a unique and refreshing cocktail hailing from Peru and Chile. First time trying pisco? You’re in for a treat. This grape brandy ranges from clear to amber in color and has a distinctive wine-like aroma and flavor, ranging from smooth and herbal to funky and earthy depending on the age and quality.

Get the Pisco Sour recipe.

big apple manhattan
Emily Hlavac Green
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Big Apple Manhattan

This Manhattan uses apple brandy to give it a fruity twist. It's a strong enough drink to handle any and all holiday hustling and is perfect served with any of our apple desserts.

Get the Big Apple Manhattan recipe.

cherry sazerac
Emily hlavac green
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Cherry Sazerac

New Orleans made the Sazerac famous and is a classic cocktail for Mardi Gras. We added a little maraschino juice to this whiskey and cognac cocktail for a little fruity sweetness. It's bittersweet!

Get the Cherry Sazerac recipe.

mulled wine  delishcom
Parker Feierbach
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Mulled Wine

Making this mulled wine couldn't be easier: Combine a bottle of red wine with some orange slices, warm spices, honey, and brandy, and let it simmer for 10 minutes. THAT'S IT. We like using dry varietals like Merlot, Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon. But really, your favorite bottle, whatever it may be, should work!

Get the Mulled Wine recipe.

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Apple schnapps brings sweet-tart green apple flavor, while a splash of calvados (apple brandy) gives it a fiery kick. Warning: These babies are STRONG, so don't plan on going anywhere after consuming. 😂

Get the Appletini recipe.

best ever red sangria
Parker Feierbach
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Classic Red Sangria

Our classic version of sangria is light and bubbly with an addition of seltzer water and the perfect ratio of wine to brandy. Skip the summer berries and swap in fall fruits, like pears and apples, to keep enjoying this summer classic whenever the craving strikes.

Get the Red Sangria recipe.

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Wassail is a warm, spiced punch that’s traditionally served when celebrating the ancient English Yuletide tradition of the same name. The combination of warm spices, like cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom, infuse a heady, pleasing essence into each steaming mug. Feel free to spike your wassails with bourbon or brandy to finish off this favorite winter warm-up.

Get the Wassail recipe.

eggnog jello shots
Parker feierbach
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Eggnog Jell-O Shots

It's not the holidays until the eggnog has been poured, and this year, we are spicing things up a bit. RumChata and brandy ensure these Jell-O shots will make the holidays so much fun.

Get the Eggnog Jell-O Shots recipe.

spicy grapefruit sidecar
Emily Hlavac Green
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Spicy Grapefruit Sidecar

If the idea of sipping cognac kinda scares you, fear not: This concoction of grapefruit juice and triple sec (which you’re familiar with for making margaritas go down so easy) and a sweet-and-spicy rim is bomb.

Get the Spicy Grapefruit Sidecar recipe.

classic eggnog
Emily hlavac green
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Eggnog is the type of drink that people either love or really, really hate. It's rich, creamy, and, well, egg-y. We fall into the camp of people who love it (like, really really love it); it's one of our go-to holiday drinks, and it goes way too well when spiked with a bit of brandy.

Get the Eggnog recipe.

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Honeycomb Sazerac

This twist on the traditional New-Orleans cocktail has all the crucial elements and then some: a crisp, bold-flavored rye whiskey, cognac, bitters, and of course, absinthe. But we used honey in place of a regular ol' sugar cube to really complement the botanical and earthy flavors in the whiskey.

Get the Honeycomb Sazerac recipe.

sangria slushy cocktail
Parker Feierbach
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Sangria Slushies

In the off-chance you happen to have leftover red wine, do future-you a favor by freezing it in an ice cube tray, then blending it up into a slushie. More of a white wine or moscato sangria person? We got you.

Get the Sangria Slushies recipe.

sangria jello shots horizontal
Charlie Gillette
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Sangria Jell-O Shots

Sangria is essential for a party—but so are Jell-O shots. So we combined the two into one dangerously good, very boozy treat. We use a light-bodied red wine, but you can feel free to swap in your favorite white wine as well!

Get the Sangria Jell-O Shots recipe.

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