French Connection Cocktail – Cognac and Amaretto
The French Connection Cocktail is both simple and stunning; a combination of Cognac and Amaretto named after the movie of the same name.
This month ‘s Progressive Eats event is about French food and drink. The epitome of excellence in my book. Un-apologetically decadent and delicious foods. When I perused the offering my blogging friends had already included I saw there was no cocktail. Perfect, I’ve been wanting to write about the The French Connection Cocktail with Cognac and Amaretto.
I seldom do cocktails for this monthly event because of a habit I ‘used’ to have of doing one every Friday but what the heck; I did it anyway!
I am most fond of both the French 75 and the Kir Royale, both French cocktails made with champagne, but both are in these pages. I wanted something that I could see in a smoky French bar, not at a holiday table and when I saw a reference to The French Connection Cocktail I decided that this was it. Only then did I adventure online to get some history and see what was behind the making.
As it turns out, very little is known about the history of the French Connection Cocktail. While it is supposedly named after the iconic film of the same name that debuted in 1971 starring Gene Hackman as ‘Popeye Doyle’ in a true crime drama, I could find no definitive story of a bartender in a French bistro who concocted it with a purpose.
My only saving grace that truly qualifies this inclusion as French is the use of Cognac, a very French brandy.
You may wonder though, what about that Cognac; what should you use? There are three main types:
- V.S. – Eau de vies with a minimum age of two years. Also known as Very Special or Three Stars.
- V.S.O.P. – Eau de vies with a minimum age of four years. Also known as Very Special Old Pale or Reserve.
- X.O. – Eau de vies with a minimum age of ten years.
One important note too; while Cognac is brandy, not all brandy is Cognac. Cognac is a wine grape brandy from the Cognac region of France (a region just North of world-famous Bordeaux!). This region is a controlled designation of origin, or AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée), with many rules and regulations regulating the quality of all the styles of Cognac.
It means every Cognac you drink comes with a stamp of authenticity, much like Champagne that can only be labeled as such if from the Champagne region in France.
My cognac of choice for this French Connection Cocktail was Courvosier VSOP. A very scientific reason for it too. It’s what my dad used to buy for the holidays! I’m not sure I ever tried it as a kid but I always loved that name. And it’s perfect; a good cognac that doesn’t break the bank.
If you don’t already have a bottle of Amaretto on hand, that search is much easier; it’s an Italian liqueur and several brands make it, I typically keep a bottle of Amaretto Disaronno on hand, the one with that signature square cap.
This cocktail can only be considered French because of the main ingredient and I suppose as a ‘connection’ as it were to a film that takes place in France. But it seems French to me; something about it, a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi.’
Maybe in lieu of traveling to anywhere, much less France, I’ll enjoy this drink and dream of those days when Paris seemed a possibility…come with me?
While the vast majority of the cocktails I make require shaking with ice in a cocktail shaker, the French Connection Cocktail is different. Ingredients are simply stirred before being poured over ice and then garnished with a lemon twist.
Very few recipes call for the lemon twist (or orange twist) but I preferred it. It lends a nice touch to an otherwise sweet after dinner drink. Didn’t I say simple? This is all that’s required (both ingredients and instructions follow at the end of this post).
- 2 ounces of Cognac brandy
- 1 ounce of Amaretto
- Lemon or orange twists
Along with the variations on quantity I saw a huge difference in the use of ice as well. Some used ice when mixing and then poured it over ice in a glass. Some only put ice in the glass. I didn’t even use ice so I kept mine cold with my favorite ‘ice’ when I’m having a cocktail like this, these Whiskey Stones. They stay in my freezer and then I use one stone per glass and it will make a drink cool without making it ice cold, exactly what I wanted.
If you think your French Connection Cocktail would improve with a bit of water, than add ice to your glass. When I don’t use the stainless steel ice from Rabbit, I like to make my ice in an ice mold for large square ice like these. or large round ice like this that I used for a Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail. I don’t recommend you mix it with ice and then pour it over more ice; you don’t want it watered down, simply chilled a bit.
This was a fun exercise and a leap from the type of cocktails I normally work on. I can imagine it would be a fitting end to a great French dinner though…On trinque? (Shall we toast?).
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is A French Feast, and our host is Coleen who blogs at The Redhead Baker.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Bon appétit!
La boisson (Drink)
- French Connection Cocktail – Creative Culinary (You’re Here!)
- French-Style Marinated Cheese – Shockingly Delicious
Le pain (Bread)
- Pain Fendu (French Split Bread) – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Le plat principal (Main Dish)
- Moules à la Normande (Normandy-Style Mussels) – The Redhead Baker
Les plat d’accompagnements (Side Dishes)
- Duck Fat Fries (Pommes Frites) – The Heritage Cook
- Beginner’s French Onion Tart with Mushrooms – The Wimpy Vegetarian
Le dessert (Dessert)
- French Apple Tart – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
PIN IT! ‘The French Connection Cocktail’
The French Connection Cocktail
- 4 ounces Cognac
- 2 ounces Amaretto
- Lemon or Orange Twists for Garnish
- Combine the Cognac and Amaretto in a glass and mix to combine. Pour over ice in a rocks glass.
- Twist the lemon or orange peel to extract some of the oils over the drink, drop it in and stir again.
Thank you for this recipe! The general name of the spirit is “brandy.” To be called “cognac,” brandy needs to comply with certain legal requirements. The name “cognac” comes from Cognac, France, where the spirit was produced originally. You can find more facts on cognac as a bar product here: https://ivypanda.com/essays/beverage-management-cognac-as-a-bar-product/
What kind of cognac is used in this drink? I.E. specific name
This is a new drink for me. I adore amaretto and am experimenting with drinks with it. I really want to try this!!
I just happen to have a bottle of each! I am so looking forward to trying one!
What a perfect cocktail for our French meal – my husband would LOVE this!!
I’ve not had this drink. Sounds good, and I do like the addition of the twist. I have some of those big ice cube molds that make cubes big enough so you need only one per glass. I think I might use one of those for this drink — keep it cold, but those cubes take forever to melt so it wouldn’t water down the drink. Good stuff — thanks.
I have a mold like that too John, another favorite way to cool a drink without diluting it.