Napoleon Cocktail Recipe

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Napoleon 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 Napoleon cocktail is a classic drink that dates back to the early 20th century. It is named after the famous French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and was created to celebrate his victories and conquests. This cocktail is popular among history buffs and those who appreciate a strong, sophisticated drink.

  • Originated in France
  • Popular during the early 1900s
  • Named after Napoleon Bonaparte

How Napoleon Tastes?

The Napoleon cocktail has a complex, rich, and slightly sweet taste. It is well-balanced with notes of fruit, spice, and oak from the cognac, while the herbal and bitter flavors from the vermouth and Campari add depth and intrigue.

Interesting facts about Napoleon

  • The Napoleon cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'Emperor's cocktail'
  • It was traditionally served in a brandy snifter to enhance the aroma and flavor of the cognac
  • The drink is often garnished with an orange twist to complement the citrus notes in the Campari



Cognac, a type of brandy from the Cognac region in France, is the heart of our cocktail, providing a rich and complex base with notes of fruit and spice. At 1.5oz, it's the star of the show without overpowering its costars. Want more warmth and less bite? Amp up the cognac and dial back the Campari.

Emma Rose

Sweet Vermouth

At 0.75oz, sweet vermouth brings a herbal and sweet balance to the drink, ensuring it's not too boozy or bitter. Without it, you'll miss out on the depth it adds. Vermouth's cousin, dry vermouth, could sub in for a drier edge.

Mary Mitkina


Campari, the bitter Italian liqueur, is the yang to the sweet vermouth's yin at 0.75oz. Ditching Campari would leave you with a sweeter, less complex cocktail. Fancy a change? Try Aperol for a less bitter, more orangey twist.

Alex Green

Orange Twist

The orange twist is our cocktail's final flourish, offering a citrusy aroma and a touch of elegance. Skipping it? You'll lose that bright zesty greeting as the glass reaches your nose. Lemon could work, but it's like showing up to a tango in tennis shoes—still fun, but a different dance.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Napoleon Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice
  2. Add the cognac, sweet vermouth, and Campari
  3. Stir the mixture until well chilled
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  5. Garnish with an orange twist

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality ingredients: The Napoleon cocktail is a simple drink with few ingredients, so the quality of each component is crucial.
  • Chill your glass beforehand: This will keep your cocktail cool for longer.
  • Stir, don't shake: This cocktail should be stirred to maintain the clarity of the drink and prevent dilution.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Charcuterie: The bold flavors of the cognac pair wonderfully with cured meats such as prosciutto or salami.
  • Cheese: A nice aged cheddar or gouda can complement the rich and slightly sweet profile of the cocktail.
  • Chocolate Desserts: The bitterness of the Campari can balance out the sweetness from a dark chocolate torte.

Drink Pairings

  • Espresso: A palate cleanser like a strong espresso shot can balance the cocktail’s richness between sips.
  • Sparkling Water: To cleanse the palate without impacting the cocktail's flavors, a neutral sparkling water does the trick.

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What you could change in Napoleon

  • Cognac: Can be replaced with a good quality brandy.
  • Sweet Vermouth: A dry vermouth can be used for a less sweet cocktail.
  • Campari: Aperol can be used as a less bitter alternative.
  • Orange Twist: Lemon twist can be used for a different citrus note.

Explore all drinks starting with N here

And of course - twists🍹

The Bonaparte

  • Replace Campari with Aperol
  • Add a dash of champagne on top Bonaparte elevates the Napoleon with a bubbly twist, toning down the bitterness while adding a festive fizz.

The Corsican

  • Substitute Cognac with aged Corsican brandy
  • Use a sprig of rosemary as garnish The Corsican comes with a herbaceous kick and a Mediterranean whisper, creating an island vibe that Napoleon himself would have approved.

The Elba Escape

  • Swap sweet vermouth for a red wine syrup
  • Add a drop of orange bitters
  • Garnish with a charred orange wheel Sweet and smoky, the Elba Escape reminisces a sunset on the island, the bitters playing up the orange twist's role for a bolder escape.

In case you forgot basics how to make Napoleon

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 Napoleon

What does cognac taste like?

Cognac is known for its rich, fruity, and nutty flavors, often with notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak thanks to the aging process. Remember, the taste can differ based on its age and the house that produced it.

How does the taste of sweet vermouth and dry vermouth differ?

Sweet vermouth has a sweeter, spicier flavor profile because it's made with more botanicals and sugar, while dry vermouth is lighter and more bitter in taste.

Why is there an orange twist in this cocktail?

The orange twist not only compliments the citrus notes in the Campari but also provides a refreshing aroma which greatly enhances the overall cocktail experience.

What's the best time to enjoy the Napoleon cocktail?

The Napoleon, with its strong and sophisticated flavor profile, is a great after-dinner drink. However, it also makes a good choice for any celebrations or special occasions.

What are the main differences between Campari and Aperol?

Campari has a much more intense, bitter flavor compared to Aperol and also has a higher alcohol content. Aperol, on the other hand, is milder and slightly sweeter in taste.

How can I make my Napoleon cocktail visually appealing?

Using an elegant, classic cocktail glass can immediately make your drink look more appealing. You can also be creative with garnishing and not just limit it to an orange twist. Try adding a cherry or a thinly cut slice of citrus to float on top.

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