Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Cognac & Other Brandy Cocktails

Brandy Crusta

orange-hued Brandy Crusta in a coupe glass with a sugared rim and lemon twist
Image: / Tim Nusog 

Despite being served at a handful of bars around the country, the Brandy Crusta was mostly forgotten by the masses until David Wondrich published his James Beard Award-winning book “Imbibe!” in 2007. The book established the drink as one of the oldest classic cocktails on record (and a direct forbear of the popular Sidecar), while simultaneously bringing it back into the mainstream.

The Brandy Crusta was invented in the 1850s by Joseph Santini, an Italian bartender plying his trade in New Orleans. Chris Hannah, formerly of Arnaud’s French 75 Bar and now at Jewel of the South, is thought to be the first bartender to bring the drink back to its home city. At the time, the drink was absent from local cocktail menus, but today, it’s nearly as prevalent as other New Orleans classics like the Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz.

When introducing the cocktail back to the city, Hannah adjusted the recipe for modern palates, as the original drink skewed tart. Today’s barkeeps have mostly followed suit, including veteran New Orleans bartender Daniel Victory, who provided this particular recipe.

The cocktail features brandy, dry curaçao, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and Angostura bitters with a sugar rim and lemon twist garnish. Don’t skip that rim—it not only tastes good, but is an important key to making a Crusta, well, a Crusta.


  • 2 ounces brandy

  • 1/4 ounce orange curaçao

  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur

  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

  • Garnish: lemon twist

  • Garnish: sugar rim


  1. Rim a coupe glass with sugar and set aside.

  2. Add the brandy, orange curaçao, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  3. Strain into the prepared glass.

  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.