From summer Cognac cocktails to those that are more suited for cooler weather, there’s no shortage of options to choose from. For this reason, you shouldn’t find it difficult to add various cocktails to your restaurant menu this year.
Here’s the question you must answer: what types of Cognac cocktails will engage your customer base and keep them coming back for more?
If you need help finding the answer, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for a handful of ideas to explore.
The Best Cognac Cocktails for Your Restaurant
The word “best” is subjective, but there are some Cognac cocktails that are universally enjoyed. Here are seven that you should consider adding to your restaurant menu in 2023.
Key takeaway: You can (and should) get creative when adding Cognac cocktails to your restaurant menu. Consider all your options and the unique wants and needs of your customers.
Originating during WWI, the Sidecar is a cocktail classic. Believed to be conceived in either London or Paris, its name likely references the motorcycle attachment. Combining Cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, it delivers a sweet and sour balance with a robust, brandy backbone. The result is a bright, citrusy, and potent cocktail, appreciated worldwide.
Born in WWI-era Paris, the French 75, named after the powerful 75mm field gun, packs a punch. Traditionally made with gin, it also shines with cognac, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a Champagne top. This sparkling cocktail melds citrusy tartness with the warmth of Cognac, creating a refreshing and effervescent drink.
The Brandy Crusta, a 19th-century New Orleans creation, is a historic, influential cocktail. Composed of cognac, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters, the drink is distinguished by its sugar-rimmed glass and elongated lemon peel garnish. The result is a beautiful harmony of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors with a rich undertone of Cognac.
Another New Orleans classic, the Sazerac was born in the mid-1800s. Originally using Cognac, then later rye whiskey due to supply constraints, it's a blend of spirit, sugar, Peychaud's Bitters, and an absinthe rinse. The cocktail delivers spicy, anise-kissed undertones with a mellow sweetness, all layered over the depth of Cognac or rye.
Between the Sheets
This provocative cocktail, created during Prohibition, is a spin on the Sidecar. Mixing Cognac, rum, triple sec, and lemon juice, the Between the Sheets is an invigorating blend of citrus, sweet, and strong spirit flavors. Its tantalizing complexity makes it a memorable classic and mainstay in many bars and restaurants.
Named after Paris's most famous avenue, the Champs-Élysées cocktail emerged in the 1930s. It marries cognac, lemon juice, sugar syrup, green chartreuse, and Angostura bitters. The herbal notes from the chartreuse combine with the tart lemon and warm Cognac, resulting in a sophisticated, beautifully balanced drink.
The Vieux Carré, paying tribute to New Orleans' French Quarter, surfaced in the 1930s. Combining Cognac, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and two types of bitters, this cocktail is a symphony of complexity. It offers layers of sweetness, bitterness, and herbal notes, enhanced by the strong, smooth character of Cognac.
How to Choose Cognac Cocktails for Your Restaurant
Now that you know some of the most popular cocktails with Cognac, it’s time to decide which ones to offer. Here are some tips for doing so.
Understand Your Audience
Your first consideration should be your audience. Consider the preferences of your typical clientele. Are they adventurous, inclined to try unique combinations, or do they lean more towards classic, universally loved drinks? A trendy, upscale urban bar might have customers who appreciate complex cocktails like a Vieux Carré or Champs-Élysées.
Meanwhile, a more casual establishment may find that straightforward, easy-to-drink options like the Sidecar resonate more with their patrons.
Tip: An understanding of your audience will also help you with inventory management.
Secondly, seasonality can greatly influence the appeal of certain cocktails. Cognac, with its warm and rich flavor profile, is often associated with cooler weather, making it a fantastic base for fall and winter cocktail menus.
For instance, you could serve a classic French 75 with its effervescence and brightness as a festive option for the holiday season. During the warmer months, incorporating fresh, seasonal fruits or lighter mixers into your cognac cocktails can make them more refreshing and appealing.
Balance and Variety
Finally, strive for balance and variety in your cocktail offerings. Include a mix of strong, potent cocktails and lighter, more refreshing options. Balance sweet and sour, and play with bitter and herbal elements. Offering a variety of cocktails with different flavor profiles will ensure there's something for every palate.
For example, include a strong and complex cocktail like a Sazerac, a sweet and sour Sidecar, and a bright and bubbly French 75 to provide a well-rounded selection.
Remember this: The goal is to create a cognac cocktail menu that excites and satisfies your guests, encouraging them to explore and enjoy what cognac has to offer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cognac Cocktails
After learning about the cognac production process, you may want to create the ideal cognac cocktrail. These frequently asked questions will help you better understand which Cognac cocktails to add (or remove) from your restaurant menu.
What is a good beginner's cognac cocktail?
The Sidecar is an excellent beginner's cognac cocktail. It's a simple yet delicious blend of Cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, which gives a nice balance of sweet and sour.
Can I substitute cognac for whiskey in cocktails?
Yes, you can substitute Cognac for whiskey in cocktails, but it will change the flavor profile. Cognac offers a grape-based, fruity, and floral character compared to the grain-based, often spicier profile of whiskey. Be sure to check out the differences between cognac vs whiskey before making the substitution.
Why is cognac considered a good base for cocktails?
Cognac is a versatile spirit with a depth of flavors, including fruit, spice, and oak, which mix well with a variety of other ingredients. Its smoothness and complexity make it an excellent base for both simple and complex cocktails.
Take your time when choosing Cognac cocktails for your restaurant’s menu in 2023. Compare your options, and most importantly, consider what your customers are most interested in.
Once you’ve made up your mind, you can decide how to best manage your beverage list. That’s where BinWise and BlueCart can help. Both of these applications can help you with restaurant or bar management.
The BinWise Pro platform, when used in tandem with the BinScan mobile app, can bring efficiency and improved time management to your inventory program. Also, the BlueCart order management system helps you preemptively manage orders, determine your reorder point, and strategize for potential food supply chain disruptions.