Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Cognac & Other Brandy Cocktails


Intercontinental cocktail
Image: / Tim Nusog

If you want to feel worldly without leaving home, try mixing yourself an Intercontinental cocktail. The recipe is an original creation by Duggan McDonnell, a San Francisco bartender and the author of “Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter from San Francisco and Her Cocktails.”

The Intercontinental takes you around the world—well, specifically to Europe—with ingredients native to France, Italy and Croatia. Those include Armagnac (a distinctive brandy produced in southwest France), Averna (an herbal, bittersweet amaro from Sicily) and maraschino, a clear, bittersweet liqueur made from Marasca cherries that originated along the Dalmatian coast. Maraschino is a key component in cocktails like the Aviation and Hemingway Daiquiri, and because it’s made with both the flesh and pits of the cherries, it also features a mild nutty flavor that’s akin to almonds. That European trio conspires to create a drink rich with dry fruit flavors and a touch of gentle, herbal bitterness, while the simple lemon twist garnish provides a hint of fresh, zesty citrus.

When sourcing your ingredients, McDonnell recommends using Castarède Armagnac Sélection, a VS armagnac that has been aged for a minimum of three years in oak barrels. If you can’t find this particular brand, another Armagnac VS can do the job.


  • 1 ounce Armagnac

  • 1 ounce Averna amaro

  • 1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur

  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  3. Garnish with a lemon twist.