Brandy Crusta Cocktail Recipe

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Brandy Crusta Nutrition Facts


Fat:0 g

Protein:0 g

Carbohydrates:15 g


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 Crusta is a classic cocktail that dates back to the mid-19th century. It was created by Joseph Santini, a bartender at the New Orleans City Exchange bar. The drink is considered a predecessor to the modern Sidecar and Margarita cocktails. The Brandy Crusta gained popularity in the 1860s and was featured in Jerry Thomas' famous bartending guide, 'How to Mix Drinks.'

How Brandy Crusta Tastes?

The Brandy Crusta has a balanced, complex taste with a combination of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. The brandy provides a rich, warming base, while the lemon juice adds a refreshing tartness. The orange liqueur and maraschino liqueur contribute a subtle sweetness, and the aromatic bitters bring a hint of spice.

Interesting facts about Brandy Crusta

  • The Brandy Crusta is considered one of the first 'fancy' cocktails, due to its elaborate garnish and presentation.
  • The cocktail is typically served in a wine glass with a sugared rim, which adds an extra layer of sweetness and texture.
  • The Brandy Crusta is often credited with popularizing the use of citrus in cocktails, paving the way for classics like the Daiquiri and the Margarita.



Brandy is the star of the show, imparting its warm, rich, and fruity notes. Opting for 2 oz is just right—it's enough to assert its presence without overpowering the dance of the supporting ingredients. Skimp out, and the cocktail could turn spineless. Overdo it, and its co-stars might as well not show up.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Juice

Citrus sparkle! The 0.5 oz of lemon juice cuts through the sweetness, balancing things out with just a twist of tartness. Any less would leave the sweetness unchecked; any more, and the drink could end up like a sourpuss at a party.

Alex Green

Orange Liqueur

This 0.5 oz of orange liqueur brings in a smooth, citrusy sweetness plus a depth that can only come from the essence of sun-kissed oranges. Think of it as the supporting actor that knows just how to make the lead look good.

Emma Rose

Maraschino Liqueur

A wink and a nod from 0.25 oz of maraschino liqueur—it's a cherry on top that offers a subtle almond-like layer. Lose it, and the cocktail misses a certain je ne sais quoi; too much, and it overdresses, turning every sip into a maraschino monologue.

Mary Mitkina

Aromatic Bitters

With just 2 dashes of aromatic bitters, this cocktail gains complexity and an aromatic bouquet that tickles the nose. It's like a dash of spice in a stew—it should be just enough to intrigue, not overwhelm.

Alex Green

Lemon Twist

A lemon twist is more than a pretty garnish. It's an essential oil-infused hello to your senses before each sip, priming your palate for what's to come with its zesty perfume.

Emma Rose


Sugar rimming is not just a festive look; it adds a sweet crunchy contrast, inviting you into the drink. Imagine it as a welcome mat for your taste buds—the party starts at the first 'crunch'.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Brandy Crusta Drink

  1. Prepare the glass:
    • Moisten the rim of a wine glass with a lemon wedge.
    • Dip the rim into sugar to create a sugared rim.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the following ingredients:
    • 2 oz brandy
    • 0.5 oz lemon juice
    • 0.5 oz orange liqueur
    • 0.25 oz maraschino liqueur
    • 2 dashes aromatic bitters
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well.
  4. Strain the mixture into the prepared wine glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality brandy for the best flavor.
  • Chill the glass before serving for a refreshing touch.
  • Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Cheese: Aged cheeses like Gouda or Cheddar provide a robust flavor that can stand up to the Brandy Crusta's strong profile.
  • Nuts: Salted nuts or spiced pecans offer a crunchy contrast to the cocktail's smoothness and complement its nutty undertones from the maraschino liqueur.
  • Seafood: Lighter seafood dishes like shrimp cocktail or ceviche can be refreshed by the citrus notes within the drink.
  • Dark Chocolate: The bitter notes of dark chocolate create a sophisticated pairing with the sweet and strong flavors of the cocktail.

Drink Pairings

  • Coffee: Enjoy a strong espresso after the Brandy Crusta to pick up on the deep, rich brandy flavors.
  • Sparkling Water: Between cocktails, cleanse your palate with some sparkling water.
  • Amber Ale: A beer with caramel notes can echo the warmth of the brandy and the sweetness of the liqueur.

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What you could change in Brandy Crusta

  • Brandy: Can be substituted with Cognac or Armagnac.
  • Orange liqueur: Triple sec or Grand Marnier can be used.
  • Maraschino liqueur: Can be replaced with Cherry Heering or another cherry-flavored liqueur.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Brandy Crusta Royale

Replace the brandy with cognac for a regal upgrade that offers a silkier texture and a more nuanced flavor profile. It's like swapping your comfy sneakers for a pair of sleek dress shoes—you're elevating the experience.

Gingered Crusta

Add 0.5 oz of ginger syrup to bring a spicy zing to the classic composition. This twist is a spicy adventurer wearing a bowtie, introducing an exciting, warming note to the palate.

Bourbon Crusta

Substitute the brandy with bourbon and you’ve got a Southern twist that’s bold, oaky, and tauntingly caramel. It's as though the cocktail decided to put on a cowboy hat and start telling tales of the Wild West.

In case you forgot basics how to make Brandy Crusta

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Brandy Crusta

What is the origin of the name 'Brandy Crusta'?

The name 'Brandy Crusta' refers to the sugar crust that forms along the rim of the glass after it has been dipped in sugar. 'Crusta' is derived from the Latin word 'crustulum,' which means 'crust.'

How should I store Brandy?

Brandy should be stored upright in a cool, dark place, preferably in its original packaging. Once a bottle of Brandy has been opened, it should be consumed within 1-2 years for optimal taste.

Can I use another citrus besides lemon for the Brandy Crusta?

While the traditional Brandy Crusta calls for lemon, you could experiment with other citrus fruits like grapefruit or lime. However, this may alter the flavor profile of the cocktail.

What is the best way to juice a lemon for a cocktail?

The best way to juice a lemon for a cocktail is by first rolling it on a hard surface which helps to liquefy the juice inside. Then, cut it in half and use a citrus juicer or your hands to squeeze the juice.

What types of foods pair well with the Brandy Crusta?

The Brandy Crusta is a versatile cocktail that pairs well with many foods. It goes particularly well with salty appetizers, seafood dishes, and rich, creamy desserts.

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