Citrus perks up caramel-heavy brandies by drawing out fruity notes and creating an easy sipper for the summer months. It also pairs wonderfully with pisco—the unaged brandy from Peru and Chile—to create a sort of long Pisco Sour.
There are a few recipes floating around for the Champagne Cocktail (ours, taken from Professor Jerry Thomas, keeps it simple with bitters, sugar and bubbly). But one of the most popular includes brandy, which makes for a wonderful combination of grape-based booze. Brandy mixed with the tight bubbles of the Champagne creates a velvety texture, while the yeasty notes of the bubbly wonderfully overlay brandy’s fruity flavor.
There are plenty of options when it comes to spiking iced tea, but brandy is a no-brainer. Pick an appropriate fruit brandy—like peach—for the Southern staple, mix up a pitcher, and take it out to the porch for the ultimate all-day summer sipper.
The two-ingredient classic French Connection may not get much respect (too many overly sweet versions have undermined the integrity of this fruity, nutty cocktail), but when made right, it’s a total dream. French Cognac makes the cocktail even more luscious than its American whiskey-based cousin, the Godfather, but you could experiment with different brandies to take this Francophile tipple on a trip around the world.
There’s a reason saint bernards famously rescued avalanche victims with mini kegs of brandy—the spirit is perfect for warming up after hours spent in the snow (all right, the boozy saint bernard rescue brigade is a myth, but we’d happily get saved by a brandy-toting pup anytime). Usually sipped in a glass by the fire, a heavy glug of brandy is also the secret to a killer spiked hot chocolate, the perfect break from the whiskey and rum you find in most other boozy cocoas.