The French Connection is a two-part drink that first appeared in the early 1970s and was titled for the 1971 Gene Hackman film of the same name. The cocktail’s creator is unknown, so it’s unclear who to thank for this tasty concoction.
The French Connection combines cognac and amaretto—a sweet Italian liqueur made from almonds and stone-fruit pits—in an ostensibly simple duo that tastes more complex than the recipe indicates. Cognac provides a bright and fruity base that harmonizes seamlessly with the amaretto liqueur’s trademark fruit and almond notes. There are no rules when choosing your cognac, and the drink can be made with a young VS, a slightly older VSOP or even an XO. Younger cognacs supply fresher and more fruit-forward flavors, while the older expressions bring oak barrel accents like vanilla and spice.
The French Connection is similar to the Godfather, another ’70s cocktail named for a famous film. The only difference is the base spirit. Instead of cognac, the Godfather enlists whiskey—usually scotch, but occasionally bourbon. Both cocktails became popular after-dinner drinks upon their debuts, offering the one-two punch of strong spirit with sweet liqueur that tastes particularly good after a meal.
This recipe pairs one and a half ounces of cognac with one ounce of amaretto, yielding a delicious albeit fairly sweet cocktail. Many bartenders and French Connection drinkers make a drier recipe in a two-to-one construction of cognac and amaretto. Feel free to experiment and see which ratio you like best. If you really want to embrace the spirit of the drink, mix one alongside Gene Hackman’s character, Popeye Doyle. (Yes, it’s probably best that our unknown creator chose to name the drink after the movie and not the protagonist.)
1 1/2 ounces cognac
1 ounce amaretto
Fill a rocks glass with ice.
Add the cognac and amaretto and stir briefly to combine.