Brandy and Orange Liqueur Drinks

Karen Frazier
Classic Sidecar cocktail

The fruity flavors of brandy blend tastefully with brandy-based orange-flavored liqueurs, such as Grand Marnier, as well as other orange liqueurs such as triple sec, Cointreau, and Curaçao. All of the orange liqueurs make a complex drink that is the choice of many drink connoisseurs.

Classic Brandy and Orange Liqueur Cocktails

Many drinks with brandy and orange-flavored liqueur derive from classic drinks created in the 1930s; some cocktails remained en vogue, others were forgotten and then revived. Many are variations of the vintage Sidecar, and others are novel creations with mere hints of the past, such as the Scorpion and Ambrosia.

Sidecar

The Sidecar is a classic cocktail related to the classic Brandy Daisy.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Armagnac
  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice

Preparation

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake well.
  3. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with sugar.
  4. Garnish with an orange or lemon twist.

The Classic

The Classic Brandy Cocktail is a classic drink with a unique flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces brandy
  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce orange curaçao liqueur
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Preparation

  1. Rub the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon wedge, and rim with sugar.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice.
  3. Pour the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake for 15 seconds.
  4. Strain the cocktail and add Angostura bitters.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist and maraschino cherry.

Embassy Cocktail

The Embassy Cocktail is another American classic originating from the 1930s.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce brandy
  • 3/4 ounce dark rum
  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Preparation

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake well.
  3. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass and add Angostura bitters.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and lime twist.

Deauville Cocktail

The Deauville Cocktail is a New Orleans classic from the 1930s.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce brandy
  • 3/4 ounce applejack or calvados
  • 3/4 ounce triple sec
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice

Preparation

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice.
  2. Pour the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake well.
  3. Strain the drink into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Between the Sheets

Another classic, Between the Sheets made its debut in Paris during the 1930s and is a variation of the Sidecar.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce brandy, of choice
  • 3/4 ounce gin or white rum
  • 3/4 ounce triple sec or Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce lemon or lime juice

Preparation

  1. Rub the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon wedge, and rim with sugar.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  3. Pour the ingredients into the cocktail shaker and shake for 15 seconds.
  4. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with lemon twist. For a twist, garnish with fresh berries.

Ambrosia

In Roman mythology, Ambrosia meant the nectar of the gods. Ambrosia is related to the family of contemporary champagne cocktails that have grown popular along with brandy wine-based mixes, such as sangria.

Ambrosia with Fruit and Garnish

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces brandy
  • 1/2 ounce Applejack
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec or Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine, chilled

Preparation

  1. Rub the rim of a highball glass with a lemon wedge; rim the glass with sugar.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except for champagne, into a cocktail shaker. Shake cocktail for 10 seconds.
  3. Pour drink into a chilled highball glass filled with ice cubes. Top with chilled champagne, stirring gently.
  4. Garnish with fresh fruit and maraschino cherries, as desired.

Scorpion

The Scorpion is a contemporary rum drink with brandy and orange liqueur with a procilivity toward elaborate presentation.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce brandy of your choice
  • 3/4 ounce dark rum
  • 3/4 ounce light rum
  • 1/4 ounce triple sec
  • 1 1/2 ounces orange juice
  • 1 lime or half a lemon, juiced
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters, optional

Preparation

  1. Rub the rim of a highball glass with a lemon wedge; rim the glass with sugar.
  2. Juice the lime or lemon into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.
  3. Add the ingredients to the shaker and shake for 10 seconds.
  4. Strain into a chilled highball glass filled with crushed ice.
  5. Garnish with citrus twists, fruit, mint sprigs and paper flowers and umbrellas.

Classic Drinks With Brandy and Orange Liqueur

Two of the earliest known drinks made with brandy and orange-flavored liqueurs were the Brandy Daisy, dating back to the 18th century, and the Sidecar. The Sidecar is believed to have originated in the 1930s, and it originally resembled the Brandy Daisy in many respects.

Bottle of cognac

The key differences in classic cocktails with brandy and orange liqueur were often found in the choice of brandy and liqueur. Many classic drinks were mixed with grape brandies, such as Cognac or Armagnac. Other brandy cocktails used a fruitier brandy base, such as Applejack or Calvados. The choice of orange liqueur was also based on preference and quality. Most popular brands of orange liqueurs have been Cointreau, Grand Marnier, triple sec and curacao. As new brands are created, the final choice boils down to preference.

Differences Between Orange Liqueurs

There are several orange liqueurs you can try in your cocktails. If you're wondering which to use, understanding the differences may help.

Triple Sec

This orange liqueur originated in France, and you'll find many different brands. It's a generic term like vodka or rum; makers of triple sec include Cointreau and Combier. Typically, triple sec is made with a neutral spirit such as sugar cane, wine, or grain. It has no color. Triple sec ranges from 15 to 40 percent alcohol by volume (30 to 80 proof).

Curaçao

Curaçao can be used as a generic term for orange liqueur, but it's also a brand name. It's typically made from rum or grain spirits, and it may have color added. It originated on the island of Curaçao in South America and was made with bitter oranges from the region. Curaçao ranges anywhere from 15 to 40 percent alcohol by volume (30 to 80 proof).

Cointreau

Cointreau is a brand of triple sec. It's made from beet liquor and is 40 percent alcohol by volume (80 proof).

Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier is a French, 80-proof, Cognac-based orange-flavored liqueur that also contains bitter orange essence and sugar.

Enjoying Brandy and Orange Liqueur Cocktails

For the finest drink with brandy and orange liqueur, always choose high quality spirits and experiment with the art of cocktail mixology. Because of the orange flavors in the brandy, it blends beautifully with orange liqueurs to make delicious cocktails.

Brandy and Orange Liqueur Drinks