It’s National Cognac Day? Because That, Too, Is a Thing

Drink Lists Cognac Cocktails
It’s National Cognac Day? Because That, Too, Is a Thing

Cognac is one of those spirits one tends to associate with crackling fires, smoking jackets, and the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, but here we are, at the beginning of summer and celebrating the brandy. June 4 is in fact National Cognac Day, according to… my inbox. This full-bodied French brandy can hang out in your cellar for a very, very long time, often becoming more complex and delectable in the process, not unlike, say, a wine writer for a beer-forward outlet. But why let it do that when you could be enjoying it in frisky summery ways you weren’t thinking about? For example, if drinking it neat, some experts (and amateurs, we aren’t snobby around here) prefer it straight out of the freezer. Some favor keeping a bunch of minis on hand to sneak into music venues, parks, or that matinee showing of the latest CGI-fest from the MCU. This is known as “complementing an experience” in case you were wondering.

Cognac has an affinity for bubbles: try it with Champagne, tonic water, or ginger beer. It also likes to have its natural fruitiness enhanced with… well, fruit. If you’ve got a bottle of V.S.O.P on your hands, it’s highly “sour-able;” so think citrus. Cognac’s other best friends include tart fruit liqueurs, pear, apple or apricot brandies, and chocolate.

Here are a handful of summer-friendly cocktails that incorporate cognac.

The Timeless Mastery

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A twist on a classic Sazerac, The Timeless Mastery celebrates the past & future for the 200th anniversary of Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège.

2 oz. Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac
.5 oz. Madeira
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
Orange twist and gold leaf garnish

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir to chill and strain into a rocks glass; garnish with the expressed oils of an orange twist, discard the twist and add gold leaf. (Note: if you need to skip the gold leaf, we totally understand and assure you it will still taste good.)


1 1/2 oz. D’USSE Cognac
4 oz. Lemonade

Directions: Add D’USSE and lemonade into an ice filled highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.


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The Sidecar was created in 1920 at the Ritz Hotel bar in Paris. It has become the single most iconic Cognac cocktail of the world.

2 oz. Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac
.75 oz. Grand Marnier
.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions: Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice, shake until chilled, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe or martini glass, garnish with a lemon twist, and an optional sugared rim

Between the Sheets

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Between the Sheets was created in 1930 by Harry MacElhone, head bartender at the eponymous Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. A Sidecar variant, its addition of rum helps to add complexity and elegance.

1 oz. Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac
1 oz. Ten Cane Rum
1 oz. Orange Curacao
.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Directions: Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice, shake until chilled, strain into a coupe or martini glass, garnish with a lemon twist.

Corny Alexander

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Recipe & Photo by: Stacie Grissom (@GardenCocktails)

1.5 oz. cognac V.S.
5 oz. simple syrup
.75 oz. lime juice
Handful of fresh sweet corn cut off the cob (about a quarter cup)
Basil for muddling and garnish

Directions: Blend the cognac and corn together and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a cocktail shaker (press all liquid out of the solids with the back of a spoon). Add simple syrup, lime juice and basil to the shaker and muddle the basil. Shake with ice. Strain and serve in a coupe glass. Garnish with corn husk curl, corn kernels, and a sprig of basil

Casino Collins

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Recipe by: Bridget Albert, SGWS National Director of Education, Beam Suntory; Photo by: Jorge Gera

1.75 oz. cognac V.S.O.P.
.5 oz. simple syrup
.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
4 oz. Prosecco
.25 oz. Absinthe

Directions: Combine cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup in a collins glass; add ice and top with Prosecco. Add Absinthe. Garnish with a lemon twist


2 oz. D’USSE Cognac
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1 oz. Coco Lopez
1/2 oz. Simple Syrup

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a snifter glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and a skewer of pineapple chunks.

Sur la Charante

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Recipe by: Ezra Star, General Manager Drink, Boston; Photo By: Geert Teuwen

1.5 oz. cognac V.S.O.P.
.5 oz. lemon juice
.5 oz. Amaro Montenegro
.5 oz. Cinnamon syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Directions: Shake with ice and strain into chilled coupe.

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