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Chris Bibey

Summer Cognac Cocktails: 7 Refreshing Cocktails to Try

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On a hot summer day or cool summer night, there’s nothing better than a refreshing cocktail. As a restaurant or bar owner in search of an above-average profit margin, meeting the unique wants and needs of your customer base is a must. For that reason, you should have a nice selection of summer Cognac cocktails.

What are Cognac Cocktails?

As the name suggests, a Cognac cocktail is a mixed drink using Cognac. Each cocktail's recipe uses Cognac as a key ingredient, demonstrating its versatility and the sophistication it brings to the world of mixology.

Key takeaway: Cognac cocktails demonstrate the versatility of this rich, nuanced spirit, blending it with a range of ingredients to create flavor profiles that appeal to a wide array of tastes. 

7 Popular Summer Cognac Cocktails

While there’s no shortage of summer Cognac cocktails to offer your customers, some are more popular than others. Here are seven of the most popular cocktail drinks with Cognac.

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1. Sidecar

This classic cocktail mixes Cognac with orange liqueur (like Cointreau) and lemon juice. Shaken with ice and strained into a sugar-rimmed glass, the Sidecar offers a delicate balance of sweetness and acidity. Its popularity stems from the Prohibition era, and it's lauded for its elegance and refreshing citrus twist. It has a bright, zesty flavor profile, layered with the complexity of Cognac.

2. French Connection

A simple yet sophisticated cocktail, the French Connection combines Cognac with Amaretto, an almond-flavored liqueur. Served on the rocks, it's a smooth sipper with a delightful balance of nutty sweetness and rich fruitiness from the Cognac. Its popularity rests in its simplicity and the harmony of its flavors.

3. Sazerac

Originating in New Orleans, the Sazerac traditionally uses Cognac and rye whiskey, sweetened with sugar and Peychaud's bitters. It's served in an absinthe-rinsed glass for a touch of herbal intrigue. The Sazerac showcases the depth and spice of Cognac, with a distinctive, robust character that's earned it a loyal following.

4. Stinger

The Stinger pairs Cognac with crème de menthe for a cool, refreshing contrast to the Cognac's warmth. Typically served straight up, this cocktail gained popularity as a dessert drink due to its mint-chocolate note. It's a sweet, cooling cocktail with a surprising depth of flavor.

5. Vieux Carre

Named after the French term for New Orleans' French Quarter, the Vieux Carré is a complex cocktail combining Cognac, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and two kinds of bitters. Its intricate flavor profile features sweetness, herbal notes, and the robust qualities of its spirit ingredients, making it a timeless classic.

6. Between the Sheets

A sultry, sophisticated cocktail, the Between the Sheets mixes Cognac, rum, triple sec, and lemon juice. It's a spirited and citrusy concoction that became popular during the Prohibition era. The result is a drink with a harmonious blend of tropical, citrus, and fruity notes, enlivened by the richness of Cognac.

7. Brandy Crusta

This 19th-century cocktail uses Cognac, Maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, and a dash of bitters, served in a sugar-rimmed glass garnished with a large lemon peel. The Brandy Crusta offers a harmonious mix of fruitiness, sweetness, and tartness. It's admired for its vibrant taste and visually pleasing presentation.

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Choosing Summer Cognac Cocktails

Choosing which Cognac cocktails to offer in a bar or restaurant can be a complex process. It involves consideration of factors like clientele preferences, your establishment's brand, the variety of your drink menu, and your capacity to provide high-quality cocktail ingredients

Here's a guide to making such selections:

1. Know Your Audience

The first step is understanding the preferences of your clientele. If your establishment caters to a crowd that appreciates classic cocktails and fine spirits, including traditional Cognac cocktails like the Sidecar, French Connection, and Sazerac would be advisable. 

On the other hand, if your customers lean towards innovative, contemporary cocktails, you could experiment with new combinations, perhaps a twist on a classic Cognac cocktail or a signature house creation.

2. Align with Your Brand

Your cocktail menu should reflect the identity of your establishment. If your bar or restaurant embodies sophistication and luxury, premium Cognac cocktails like the Vieux Carré can align with your brand image. A more casual, hip venue might focus on playful and accessible Cognac cocktails, like the Cognac and Cola or Cognac Sour.

3. Diversify Your Drink Menu

A diverse cocktail menu offers something for every palate. Alongside rich, complex cocktails like the Brandy Crusta, consider including light, refreshing options like the Cognac Highball. You might also aim for a range of flavors — fruity, spicy, herbal, sweet — to showcase the versatility of Cognac.

4. Quality of Ingredients

The quality of your cocktails will depend heavily on the quality of your ingredients. Source high-quality Cognacs that reflect the standards of your establishment. Remember, each cocktail calls for a specific type of Cognac — VS for mixed drinks, VSOP for slightly sophisticated cocktails, and XO for high-end, sipping cocktails.

5. Seasonal Considerations

Seasonality can influence cocktail choices. Light, citrus-forward Cognac cocktails might be preferred in the warmer months, while spiced, warming drinks like the Cognac Hot Toddy could be more popular in colder months. Adjust your menu accordingly to cater to these seasonal preferences.

6. Staff Knowledge and Training

Ensure your staff is knowledgeable about Cognac and can prepare the cocktails consistently. Your bartenders should be trained to mix Cognac cocktails skillfully and explain the differences between various grades of Cognac to customers.

7. Profitability

Lastly, consider your profit margins. Luxury cocktails made with high-end Cognac can command higher prices, but remember to balance this with more accessible options. A well-structured pricing strategy can help you attract a broader clientele while maintaining profitability.

Summer Cognac Cocktails: Frequently Asked Questions

Even with all this information, you’re likely to have questions about summer Cognac cocktails. Here are a few of the most common. 

1. Is it appropriate to use high-end Cognac in summer cocktails?

For summer Cognac cocktails, VS or VSOP grades are usually recommended as they blend well without being overshadowed by other ingredients.

2. What are some non-alcoholic mixers that pair well with Cognac in summer cocktails?

Light, effervescent mixers like tonic water, ginger ale, or club soda complement Cognac nicely in summer cocktails. Additionally, fresh citrus juices or fruity syrups can also pair well, lending a refreshing and vibrant edge to the drink.

3. How should summer Cognac cocktails be served for the best experience?

Most summer Cognac cocktails are best served chilled, either shaken with ice and strained or served over ice. The temperature and dilution from the ice help to make the cocktail more refreshing, which is desirable in a summer drink.

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Cognac Summer Cocktails: Give Your Customers What They Want

Cognac cocktails can be among the most refreshing during the hot summer months. You should always have a well-rounded selection to offer your customers.

Once you’ve decided which Cognac cocktails to add to your summer beverage list, learn more about BinWise and BlueCart. Both of these applications can help you with restaurant or bar management.

The BinWise Pro platform, when used alongside the BinScan mobile app, can bring efficiency to your inventory program. Furthermore, the BlueCart order management system empowers you to preemptively manage orders, determine your reorder point, and strategize for potential food supply chain disruptions.

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