Cognac Old Fashioned Cocktail Recipe

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Cognac Old Fashioned 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 Old Fashioned is a twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail, which dates back to the early 1800s. The original Old Fashioned was made with whiskey, but this version uses cognac as the base spirit, giving it a smoother, richer flavor. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy the taste of cognac and are looking for a sophisticated, timeless drink.

  • The Old Fashioned is considered one of the oldest cocktails in history
  • Cognac Old Fashioned became popular as a variation for those who prefer the taste of cognac over whiskey
  • This cocktail is often enjoyed by those who appreciate classic, elegant drinks with a rich history

How Cognac Old Fashioned Tastes?

The Cognac Old Fashioned has a smooth, rich, and slightly sweet taste with notes of oak, vanilla, and caramel. The cognac provides a warm, full-bodied flavor, while the sugar and bitters add a touch of sweetness and complexity.

Interesting facts about Cognac Old Fashioned

  • Cognac is a type of brandy that is produced in the Cognac region of France
  • The Old Fashioned is often considered the 'original' cocktail, as it was one of the first to be documented in recipe books
  • The Cognac Old Fashioned is sometimes garnished with an orange twist or cherry to add a touch of color and extra aroma


  • Cognac: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Simple syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Angostura bitters: 2dashes
  • Orange peel: 1
  • Garnish: Maraschino Cherry:1


Cognac, a type of brandy hailing from the Cognac region in France, is the star here. We're using 2oz as it provides a robust base without overpowering. It's like the foundation of a house — too little and your cocktail is wobbly, too much, and you're basically just sipping cognac on the rocks (not necessarily a bad thing, but stay on track!). Going without it? You'd lose the richness and depth, effectively not making an Old Fashioned anymore. Want something similar? Armagnac or quality brandy could step in, but remember, it's like changing the lead actor in a movie — similar but never quite the same.

Emma Rose

Simple Syrup

At 0.5oz, it's the sweetener keeping things smooth, like the sugar in your coffee it balances the strong flavor. More could mean oversweetening your drink (turning it into adult candy) and less might not cut it against the Cognac's boldness. If it's missing, you're in for a too-strong gulp that might have you making a face. Maple syrup could be an alternative for a deeper, autumn-like sweetness.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura Bitters

Two dashes might not seem like much, but bitters are like the spice of cocktails — a little goes a long way. It's like adding seasoning to your food; it's not the same without it. Without these dashes, you'd lose complexity and that hint of herbal intrigue. If you're adventurous, try orange bitters for a fruity twist.

Alex Green

Orange Peel

With just one peel, it's all about the aroma. Express it (aka give it a good twist over the drink) and it's like a spritz of citrus perfume, adding an olfactory dimension that echoes in the flavor. Without it, your cocktail is like a gift without a bow — still nice, but not quite complete. Lemon peel could stand in, offering a different sort of citrus zing.

Emma Rose

Garnish: Maraschino Cherry

The garnish is like the cherry on top — literally. It's a classy, eye-catching finish that adds just a touch of fruity sweetness when you reach the bottom of the drink. Without it, no harm done, but the garnish often rounds out the final impression. Want to mix it up? Try an orange slice or even a Luxardo cherry to elevate your garnishing game.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Cognac Old Fashioned Drink

  1. In a mixing glass, combine the cognac, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters
  2. Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled
  3. Strain the mixture into a rocks glass filled with a large ice cube
  4. Express the orange peel over the drink and drop it into the glass
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality cognac for the best flavor
  • Stir the cocktail well to ensure the sugar is fully dissolved
  • Use a large ice cube to keep the drink cold without diluting it too quickly

Perfect Pairings

Savory & Spicy Snacks

  • Cheese plates: Rich cheeses like Camembert or Brie complement the velvety notes of cognac.
  • Grilled meats: The smoky character pairs exceptionally well with the caramel notes in the cocktail.
  • Spiced nuts: Almonds or cashews with a hint of chili can contrast sweet and heat.

Chocolate & Sweets

  • Dark chocolate: The bitterness can balance the sweetness and enhance the cognac's complexity.
  • Fruit tarts: Citrus or stone fruit tarts echo the citrus notes from the orange peel.


  • Select cigars: A good cigar can elevate the sipping experience further, complementing the richness and adding a new sensory layer.

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What you could change in Cognac Old Fashioned

  • Bourbon or rye whiskey can be used in place of cognac
  • Maple syrup can be used as a substitute for simple syrup
  • If you don't have Angostura bitters, you can use orange bitters instead

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Smoky Cognac Old Fashioned

Ingredients: 2oz smoked cognac, 0.5oz demerara syrup, 2 dashes chocolate bitters, orange peel, garnish: orange twist.

Smoked cognac adds a new layer of depth, while demerara syrup contributes a molasses-like sweetness. Chocolate bitters play up the dessert vibe. Stir the ingredients, strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube, express the orange peel and use the twist garnish. It's a bonfire in a glass, with a slightly more complex and dessert-leaning profile.

Spiced Orange Old Fashioned

Ingredients: 2oz cognac, 0.5oz cinnamon syrup, 2 dashes orange bitters, orange peel, garnish: cinnamon stick.

Cinnamon syrup and orange bitters make it a seasonal treat, perfect for fall. It's like wrapping your cocktail in a cozy sweater. Blend the ingredients, strain into a glass with ice, express the orange peel, and garnish with a cinnamon stick for added spice and scent. It has a warm, inviting spin while staying true to the original's charm.

Herbal Cognac Old Fashioned

Ingredients: 2oz cognac, 0.5oz honey syrup, 2 dashes herbal bitters, lemon peel, garnish: fresh herb sprig.

Honey syrup brings a naturally sweet taste and the herbal bitters introduce a botanical note. Using a lemon peel instead of orange provides a sharper citrus contrast. Stir everything, pour over ice, express the lemon, and add a spring garnish. It's an herb garden's take on a classic, offering a more nuanced and fragrant experience.

In case you forgot basics how to make Cognac Old Fashioned

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

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

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 Old Fashioned

What is the best time to enjoy a Cognac Old Fashioned?

Typically, the Cognac Old Fashioned, like other Old Fashioned drinks, is enjoyed during evening hours as a pre-dinner drink or after dinner sipping cocktail.

How to choose a good cognac for my cocktail?

It is advisable to pick a VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) or XO (Extra Old) grade cognac. They have a richer spectrum of flavors which impact positively on the overall taste of the cocktail.

Can I make a Cognac Old Fashioned without the orange peel garnish?

Yes, you can. The orange peel garnish adds aroma and a slight citrus flavor to the drink but omitting it won't drastically change the overall taste.

What's the best glass for serving a Cognac Old Fashioned?

Traditionally, a short tumbler, also known as a rocks or old fashioned glass, is used for serving the Cognac Old Fashioned.

Do I need a special tool to express the orange peel?

Usually, it can be done with your hands but for the best result, a cocktail zest peeler or chanel knife is used to peel the orange and a bar muddler can be used to express the oils.

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