Brandy Sour

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Discover the Timeless Elegance of the Brandy Sour

Imagine sipping on a cocktail that’s both a nod to tradition and a toast to sophistication. The Brandy Sour is just that—a classic concoction that marries the warmth of brandy with the zesty punch of lemon. Whether you’re lounging on a sun-dappled patio or nestled by a crackling fireplace, this cocktail is sure to elevate the moment. But what makes the Brandy Sour a perennial favorite?

At its heart, the Brandy Sour is a symphony of flavors. Each sip offers a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and bitter notes, making it a versatile choice for any occasion. Are you ready to explore how this storied drink can become the highlight of your next gathering?

Let’s dive into the world of the Brandy Sour, where every glass tells a story of refined taste and timeless appeal. Are you curious to uncover the secrets behind its enduring popularity?

Key Facts:

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 24% ABV
  • Calories: Roughly 180 kcal per serving
  • Preferred Glass: Chilled cocktail glass
  • Typical Garnish: Lemon twist or cherry (optional)

Brandy Sour Cocktail Preparation

Tasting Notes: A Symphony of Flavors

The Brandy Sour is not just a drink; it’s an experience. Each sip starts with the velvety warmth of brandy, followed by a refreshing burst of lemon. The simple syrup lends a gentle sweetness, perfectly counterbalancing the tartness and enriching the drink’s complexity. A solitary dash of bitters adds a layer of aromatic depth that lingers pleasantly on the palate.

This cocktail is a favorite among those who appreciate a balance of flavors. It’s a drink that fits seamlessly into a cozy winter evening or serves as a refreshing companion on a hot summer day. The Brandy Sour is versatile, making it an excellent choice for dinner parties, celebratory toasts, or quiet moments of reflection.

Who might enjoy a Brandy Sour? It’s a cocktail that appeals to the connoisseur and the casual drinker alike. Whether you’re new to the world of cocktails or a seasoned aficionado, the Brandy Sour is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in mixology.

The Storied History of the Brandy Sour

The Brandy Sour has roots that stretch back to the 19th century when the “sour” became a popular cocktail category. Originally, a sour was any spirit combined with lemon juice and sugar, a simple formula that allowed for endless variations. The Brandy Sour emerged as a standout among these, quickly gaining favor for its smooth and rich flavor profile.

As with many classic cocktails, the Brandy Sour has evolved over time. It has been adapted and refined, with bartenders adding their personal touches to the basic recipe. Despite these variations, the core elements of brandy, lemon juice, and sugar have remained unchanged, a testament to the enduring appeal of the original combination.

One of the most famous anecdotes about the Brandy Sour involves the island of Cyprus, where a variation known as the Cyprus Brandy Sour became a national drink. This particular version was reportedly created in the 1930s for King Farouk of Egypt, who desired a non-alcoholic-looking drink that could be enjoyed in public. The Cyprus Brandy Sour includes a splash of soda water and a hint of Angostura bitters, giving it a distinctive twist on the classic recipe.

Ingredients: Crafting the Perfect Brandy Sour

  • Brandy: 2 oz (60 ml) – The soul of the cocktail, providing a rich and mellow base.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: 3/4 oz (22 ml) – Adds a bright, tangy flavor that cuts through the sweetness.
  • Simple Syrup: 1/2 oz (15 ml) – Offers a touch of sweetness to balance the sour elements.
  • Aromatic Bitters: 1 dash – Introduces a complex, botanical note that enhances the overall taste.
  • Ice Cubes: Essential for chilling and diluting the drink to perfection.
  • Garnish: Lemon twist or cherry (optional) – Adds a decorative touch and a hint of additional flavor.

Did you know? The “sour” cocktail formula has been a foundation of mixology since the 1800s, with the Brandy Sour being one of its most beloved interpretations.

Brandy Sour Cocktail Glass

The Basic Method: Shaking Up Tradition

  1. Combine the brandy, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice, covering the liquid completely.
  3. Shake vigorously until the shaker feels cold to the touch.
  4. Strain the mixture into your chilled cocktail glass, ensuring a smooth pour.
  5. Add a garnish if desired, expressing the oils over the drink for an aromatic finish.

Serving Suggestion: Presentation Matters

For the Brandy Sour, a chilled cocktail glass is the vessel of choice. The elegance of the glass complements the cocktail’s refined nature, while its shape helps concentrate the aromatics, enhancing the drinking experience. When it comes to garnishing, a simple lemon twist or a cherry can add a touch of visual appeal and a subtle layer of flavor.

Remember, the beauty of a cocktail lies not only in its taste but also in its presentation. A well-garnished Brandy Sour is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the palate.

Elevating the Cocktail: Expert Tips

  • Use Premium Brandy: Opt for a high-quality brandy to ensure a smoother, more refined flavor.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: Always use fresh lemon juice for the brightest taste.
  • Adjust Sweetness: Tailor the amount of simple syrup to your preference, considering the sweetness of your brandy.

Finished Brandy Sour Cocktail

Substitutions and Alternatives: Mixing It Up

If you find yourself without a key ingredient, fear not. The Brandy Sour is forgiving. You can substitute the simple syrup with a sugar cube or honey for a different kind of sweetness. If brandy is not your spirit of choice, try a whiskey sour or an amaretto sour for a similar flavor profile with a twist.

Similar cocktails that share the sour family traits include the Sidecar, with its use of cognac and orange liqueur, and the Pisco Sour, which features the grape-based spirit pisco.

Add a Twist: Creative Variations

For a modern take on the Brandy Sour, consider infusing your simple syrup with herbs like rosemary or thyme. Another idea is to add a splash of egg white to the shaker before mixing, creating a delightful frothy texture that adds a luxurious feel to the cocktail.

Preferred Liquors: The Mixologist’s Choice

When it comes to selecting a brandy for your Brandy Sour, consider options like Cognac or Armagnac for their nuanced flavors. A well-aged brandy can elevate the cocktail from good to exceptional, offering notes of vanilla, oak, and spices that intertwine beautifully with the sour components.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I make a Brandy Sour without bitters? Yes, but bitters add depth to the flavor. If you don’t have them on hand, the cocktail will still be enjoyable.
  • What’s the best way to garnish a Brandy Sour? A lemon twist or a cherry is traditional, but feel free to get creative with your garnishes.
  • Is it necessary to use fresh lemon juice? While you can use bottled lemon juice, fresh juice will give your cocktail a brighter, more vibrant flavor.
  • Can I use a different type of syrup? Absolutely. Experiment with flavored syrups to find your perfect match.
  • What if I don’t have a cocktail shaker? You can stir the ingredients with ice in a glass, but shaking is preferred for the best texture and chill.
Brandy Sour_001

Brandy Sour

The Brandy Sour is a classic cocktail that offers a perfect balance of tart lemon juice, the rich warmth of brandy, and the sweetness of sugar. A dash of aromatic bitters rounds out the flavors, creating a timeless sour cocktail that's both refreshing and sophisticated.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Calories 180 kcal


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Strainer
  • chilled cocktail glass


  • 2 oz brandy
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon twist or cherry for garnish optional


  • In a shaker, combine the brandy, lemon juice, simple syrup, and a dash of bitters.
  • Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake well until the outside of the shaker feels cold.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • If desired, garnish with a lemon twist or cherry.


For a less sweet Brandy Sour, reduce the amount of simple syrup. Adjust the lemon juice and simple syrup to taste, depending on the brand of brandy used and personal preference.
Keyword bitters, brandy, Brandy Sour, classic, Cocktail, lemon juice, sour cocktail, sugar, traditional

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