Cognac Highball Cocktail Recipe

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Cognac Highball 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 Cognac Highball is a classic cocktail that dates back to the late 19th century. It is believed to have originated in the United States and was a popular choice among the upper class during the golden age of cocktails. The drink is a simple yet elegant combination of cognac and ginger ale, served over ice in a highball glass.


  • The Cognac Highball is said to have been created by American bartenders who were looking for a way to showcase the rich flavors of cognac.
  • The drink gained popularity in the early 20th century and was often enjoyed by the elite at high society events.
  • Today, the Cognac Highball remains a timeless classic that is enjoyed by people all over the world.

How Cognac Highball Tastes?

The Cognac Highball is a smooth, refreshing, and slightly sweet cocktail with a hint of spice from the ginger ale. The rich, fruity flavors of the cognac are perfectly balanced by the effervescence of the ginger ale, creating a delightful and sophisticated drinking experience.

Interesting facts about Cognac Highball

The Cognac Highball is sometimes referred to as a 'Horse's Neck' when served with a long spiral of lemon peel as a garnish.

  • Cognac is a type of brandy that is produced in the Cognac region of France, and it must meet strict production standards in order to be labeled as such.
  • The highball glass, in which the Cognac Highball is traditionally served, was designed specifically for serving tall, mixed drinks over ice.


  • Cognac: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Ginger ale: 4 oz(120ml)
  • Angostura bitters: 2 dashes
  • Lemon peel: 1

A few good options for Cognac Highball are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


Cognac provides the base spirit for our cocktail. It's a type of brandy hailing from the Cognac region in France, and with 2oz, it hits that 'just right' threshold—not too boozy, but enough to give our highball its signature warmth and depth. Skimp on the cognac, and you'll be sipping on a sad, weak ginger ale; overdo it, and you'll be overpowered by alcohol, missing the finer nuances.

Mary Mitkina

Ginger Ale

The mixer of champions! Ginger ale brings a mild spice profile and welcome carbonation to the highball, totaling 4oz for a pleasing balance that won't drown the cognac. Skip this, and you're drinking neat cognac with a dash of sadness. Swap it for club soda and you're in a less spicy, less sweet town. Ginger beer can play here too, but it's going to turn up the spice dial.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters

These aromatic bitters pretty much bring the party to the palate, with just 2 dashes. They're the salt and pepper of the cocktail world—an unseen but essential flavor enhancer. Without them, your highball would lack depth and complexity. It's like listening to music without bass—something's definitely missing.

Emma Rose

Lemon Peel

This is the twist that makes your highball smile. A lemon peel twist brings bright, citrusy notes into the mix. Overlook this, and your cocktail just misses that spark of sunshine. It's more than a garnish; it's like the subtle hint of perfume that leaves a lasting impression.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Cognac Highball Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add 2oz of cognac to the glass.
  3. Top with 4oz of ginger ale.
  4. Add 2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  5. Gently stir the drink to combine the ingredients.
  6. Garnish with a lemon peel twist.

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality cognac for the best flavor.
  • Chill the ginger ale before use to keep the cocktail cold longer.
  • Add the bitters last to allow the flavors to spread throughout the drink.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese Platters: A good cognac highball pairs beautifully with a cheese platter, especially with aged cheeses such as Gouda or Cheddar, as the nuttiness of the cheese complements the warmth of the cognac.
  • Sushi: The effervescence of ginger ale and the citric twist of lemon make sushi a refreshing companion, balancing the rich flavors of fish with the lightness of the cocktail.
  • Charcuterie: The savory flavors of cured meats are a classic matchup with the boldness of cognac and the spices from the bitters.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Chicken or Pork: These lighter meats, when seasoned well, can stand up to the cocktail's flavors without overpowering them.
  • Salmon: The richness of salmon harmonizes well with the deep flavor profile of cognac.


  • Dark Chocolate: For those who love to end their meal with a sweet note, the bitterness of dark chocolate is an excellent counterpoint to the sweet and spicy notes of the cognac highball.

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What you could change in Cognac Highball

  • Brandy can be used as a substitute for cognac.
  • Club soda can replace ginger ale for a less sweet version.
  • Orange peel can be used instead of lemon peel for a different twist.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Cognac Highball with a Touch of Apple

  • Substitute 1 ounce of cognac with apple brandy.
  • Add 1/2oz of fresh apple juice. The classic highball gets a fruity twist with the infusion of apple. It brings a crisp sweetness and an orchard-fresh flair that will have you thinking of autumn evenings.

Honeyed Cognac Highball

  • Mix 1/2oz of honey syrup with the cognac before adding ginger ale.
  • Garnish with an orange peel instead of a lemon peel. The addition of honey syrup adds a velvety sweetness that softens the sharpness of the cognac, and the orange peel adds a new dimension of citrus that pairs remarkably well with the honey's warmth.

Spicy Cognac Highball

  • Muddle a slice of fresh ginger in the glass before adding ice.
  • Use a spicy ginger beer instead of ginger ale. A spicy update that's not for the faint of heart. The fresh muddled ginger and the kick of a strong ginger beer bring the heat for an invigorating, bold experience.

In case you forgot basics how to make Cognac Highball

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

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 Cognac Highball

What is the best time to enjoy a Cognac Highball?

The Cognac Highball can be enjoyed at any time, although it is often chosen as an after-dinner drink due to its rich, soothing flavors.

What food pairings go well with this cocktail?

Chocolate, cheese, and fruit plates pair well with this cocktail due to its rich, fruity flavors.

Are there any popular variations of the Cognac Highball?

Yes, some popular variations include the 'Stinger', made with cognac and creme de menthe, and the 'Brandy Alexander', made with cognac, creme de cacao, and cream.

How is the taste of cognac different from other types of brandy?

Cognac is known for its unique and exquisite flavor profile, often described as rich and full-bodied with notes of fruit, spice, and oak.

Which cognac is most recommended for making a Cognac Highball?

A VS (Very Special) or VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) cognac is often chosen for its smoothness and rich flavor, although the choice of cognac ultimately depends on personal preference.

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