Brandy and Tonic Cocktail Recipe

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Brandy and Tonic Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Brandy and Tonic is a simple yet refreshing cocktail that has been enjoyed for decades. It's a twist on the classic gin and tonic, substituting gin with brandy for a warmer, richer flavor profile.

  • Origins:
    • The exact origins are unclear, but it's likely that the drink evolved from the popularity of the gin and tonic during the British colonial era.
  • Popularity:
    • It's a favorite among those who prefer a less juniper-forward tonic cocktail, and it's particularly popular in regions where brandy is a local specialty.
  • Occasions:
    • Perfect for a relaxed evening or a casual get-together, this cocktail is versatile and can be enjoyed year-round.

How Brandy and Tonic Tastes?

The Brandy and Tonic is a harmonious blend of sweet and bitter, with the warmth of brandy shining through. The tonic water adds a crisp effervescence that balances the drink, making it neither too strong nor too light. It's aromatic, with a subtle woodiness from the brandy, and has a refreshing aftertaste.

Interesting facts about Brandy and Tonic

  • The Brandy and Tonic can be considered a 'lowball' cocktail, typically served in a short glass.
  • Brandy was historically used for medicinal purposes, and combining it with tonic water, which contains quinine, might have been seen as a healthful tonic.
  • The drink's simplicity makes it easily customizable with different brands of brandy and various flavored tonics.



The brandy is the soul of this cocktail. Giving you 2 oz (that's about 60mL, for my metric friends) provides a sturdy base without steering your taste buds into a brandy overdrive. Too little brandy, and you're practically drinking adult lemonade; too much, and you might as well be warming by a fireplace with a snifter of it, neat. If brandy's not your thing, try a good dark rum for a sweeter, molasses-touched alternative.

Emma Rose

Tonic Water

Why 4 oz of tonic water? It's all about balance—enough to mingle perfectly with the brandy and not overwhelm it or make the drink too diluted. Skip the tonic, and you'll miss out on the cocktail's refreshing fizziness. But if tonic's too bitter for you, a splash of soda water might do the trick, although you'll lose some complexity.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Wedge

This little citrusy ninja adds a zesty pop and a hint of acidity, cutting through the sweetness to achieve cocktail nirvana. No lemon could mean a flatter tasting experience and a lost opportunity to play with the brandy's fruity profile. Consider a lime wedge if you're feeling adventurous, which will make the drink a tad sharper.

Alex Green

Ice Cubes

Ice keeps your drink cool, obviously, but it also mellows the brandy as it melts, muddling the flavors together into a harmonious chill. Nobody likes a warm cocktail, unless you're intentionally sipping a hot toddy. No ice? Prepare for a stronger flavor and a potentially less enjoyable sip. You could also use frozen fruit like berries for an extra flavor twist and to keep things cold.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Brandy and Tonic Drink

  1. Fill a lowball glass with ice cubes.
  2. Pour the brandy over the ice.
  3. Add the tonic water.
  4. Squeeze the lemon wedge over the drink and drop it in.
  5. Stir gently to combine.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Pro Tips

  • Chill the glass before making the drink to keep it cooler for longer.
  • Use a high-quality brandy to ensure the best flavor.
  • Adjust the ratio of brandy to tonic to suit your taste preference.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Boards: The saltiness of cured meats and the variety of cheeses will contrast nicely with the fruitiness of the brandy and the bitterness of the tonic.
  • Grilled Shrimp: Its light and breezy taste will complement the citrusy notes introduced by the lemon wedge.
  • Salty Snacks: Think salted nuts or pretzels; they'll enhance the subtly sweet notes of the brandy while standing up to the tonic's quinine flavor.

Main Courses

  • Roast Chicken: The simplicity of a well-roasted chicken makes an excellent backdrop for the cocktail's robust flavors.
  • Pasta with Cream Sauce: A rich and creamy pasta dish will pair beautifully with the crisp and refreshing elements of the cocktail.


  • Lemon Tart: The lemon in both the dessert and the cocktail will resonate with each other, creating a harmonious taste experience.

Non-Alcoholic Pairings

  • Sparkling Water with Citrus: To keep the palate refreshed between sips of the cocktail without overpowering any flavors.

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What you could change in Brandy and Tonic

  • Brandy: Any good quality VS or VSOP cognac can be used as a substitute for brandy.
  • Tonic Water: Flavored tonic water such as elderflower or citrus can be used for a different twist.
  • Lemon Wedge: An orange slice or a twist of lemon peel can be used as an alternative garnish.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Brandy and Ginger Tonic

  • Replace tonic water with ginger beer or ginger ale.
  • The warmth of the ginger will add a spicy undertone to the cocktail, balancing out the sweetness of the brandy.
  • This twist adds a warming sensation, perfect for cooler evenings or for those who enjoy a spicier kick to their drinks.

Herbal Brandy and Tonic

  • Add a sprig of rosemary or thyme directly into the glass before adding ice cubes.
  • The herbs will infuse the drink with earthy notes, making it more aromatic and adding a touch of sophistication.
  • Perfect for a garden party or when you want to impress with a more complex flavor profile.

Brandy and Bitter Tonic

  • Include a dash of Angostura bitters to the recipe.
  • Bitters will deepen the flavor and enhance the natural fruitiness of the brandy.
  • This version is for those who enjoy a more pronounced bitter edge and a richer depth in their cocktails.

In case you forgot basics how to make Brandy and Tonic

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

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Frequently Asked Questions on Brandy and Tonic

Can Brandy and Tonic be considered a summer cocktail?

Yes, while it can be enjoyed year-round, the refreshing qualities of tonic water make Brandy and Tonic a suitable choice for summer.

What type of glass is recommended for serving Brandy and Tonic?

A lowball glass, also known as an Old Fashioned glass, is the traditional choice for serving Brandy and Tonic.

Can I use lime instead of lemon for Brandy and Tonic?

Absolutely, lime can be a zesty alternative to lemon that adds a different citrus note to the cocktail.

How do I choose a good brandy for this cocktail?

Look for a brandy that has a balance of fruit and spice notes which will compliment the bitterness of the tonic water. Aging and regional characteristics can also influence your choice.

Is Brandy and Tonic a strong cocktail?

The strength of Brandy and Tonic depends on the brandy-to-tonic ratio. The standard recipe is not overly strong, as the tonic dilutes the brandy.

Are there any variations of Brandy and Tonic I can try?

Certainly, experimenting with different types of tonic water, such as those infused with botanicals or fruit flavors, can give this cocktail a unique twist.

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