The Top Brandies for Your Cocktail Needs

What do the Sidecar, Vieux Carré, and Pisco Sour all have in common? They’re cocktails made with brandy! Here are a few bottle recs for these and other brandy cocktails; all under $50!
Jan 09, 2018
  • 10
    10 Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy
    82
    Woody
    Copper & Kings sources pot-distilled brandy from other distillers, to blend and age themselves prior to bottling. For their American Craft Brandy, 90% of the stock ages "solera"-style in 90% Kentucky bourbon barrels & 10% in new, medium-char American oak for at least 2 years. Non-chill-filltered without any additives, it is bottled at 45% ABV.
  • 9
    9 Pierre Ferrand Original Formula 1840 Cognac
    85
    Fruity & Floral
    Released in 2011,1840 Original Formula was created as a collaboration between Pierre Ferrand owner, Alexandre Gabriel, their cellar master, Christian Guerin, and cocktail historian, Dave Wondrich. Using a rare 19th century cognac, Pinet-Castillon Cognac from 1840 as a base, this product is designed to replicate what would have been used then in cocktails and punches. Its youthful fruity and floral character along with its higher proof for added oomph makes it stand out from other VS cognacs.
  • 8
    8 Christian Brothers Sacred Bond Brandy
    85
    Woody & Spicy
    The Sacred Bond from Christian Brothers is a named, in part, for it being bottled-in-bond, the first for a grape brandy. Aged for 4 years in former Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, the brandy is distilled in California in copper pot-stills. It is bottled at 50% ABV and as such is suggested for use in cocktails.
  • 7
    7 Dobbé VSOP Cognac
    86
    Sweet
    The Dobbé family has been producing cognac for eight generations, going back to around 1787. The family estate covers 35 hectares, two-thirds of which are in Petite Champagne, with the remainder in Fins Bois. Its cognacs are aged in Limousin oak barrels. The VSOP expression is bottled at 40% abv.
  • 6
    6 H by Hine VSOP Cognac
    86
    Fruity & Floral
    Hine is a cognac house which only uses eaux de vie from Grande and Petite Champagne growing regions. Their H by Hine is created using 20 different eaux de vie with a minimum aging of 4 years. Hine is a producer which distills its wine on the lees providing a roundness to their cognacs.
  • 5
    5 Frísco Brandy
    87
    Fruity & Floral
    Frísco is a pisco-inspired spirit made in San Francisco, a locale where pisco historically had strong footing. Founder Charlie O'Connell was inspired to bring a local riff to market after traveling through South America, and partnered with San Francisco's Seven Stills for production. Bottled at 45% ABV, Frísco (pronounced "frees-koh") is made from California muscat grapes and is unoaked.
  • 4
    4 Louis Royer Force 53 VSOP Cognac
    87
    Rich & Fruity
    Founded in 1853, Louis Royer is an old house that is just now raising in prominence in the international scene. Embracing fairly classic methods this cognac is distilled twice in copper stills “sur lie” and aged 4-6 years in French Limousin oak casks. The Force 53 is bottled at 53% ABV with a clear push to be used in cocktails.
  • 3
    3 Christian Drouin Sélection Calvados
    88
    Fruity & Floral
    For his entry-level calvados, Drouin chooses apples and pears from the Domfront region, and single-column distillation (as opposed to the double-distillation in a pot still used for his other spirits) to create a lighter, earlier-maturing spirit. This young calvados is intended as an aperitif or to be used in cocktails.
  • 2
    2 Laird's Straight Apple Brandy 100 Proof
    88
    Fruity & Sweet
    This is 100% apple brandy aged at least 3 years in charred oak barrels. It is bottled at 100 proof. The Laird's apple brandies are produced from cider that is allowed to ferment naturally; no commercial yeast strain is used.
  • 1
    1 BarSol Acholado Pisco
    89
    Floral & Fruity
    An acholado is a blend of different varieties, in this case mostly quebranta grapes (approx. 70%) with some of the aromatic italia and torontel grapes (both Muscat clones). BarSol Selecto Acholado Pisco is bottled at 41.3% ABV.