Spirits & Liqueurs Cognac & Other Brandy

The Best Cognac and Other Brandy at Any Price

Image: Laura Sant

You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.

Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.

  • Bertoux Brandy ($45)

    “Made in California, this brandy is new to the market. It’s great for classic cocktails but also smooth enough to drink by itself. Try a Manhattan with Bertoux—it’s great.”—Sondre Kasin, principal bartender at Undercote in New York City

  • Camus XO Borderies Cognac ($200)

    “The Camus family has been making cognacs for generations, blended perfectly with generations of knowledge being passed down. The Borderies is the smallest area of Cognac and thus the most difficult to find cognacs made from. Rare, old, robust, floral and happiness are how I describe this cognac.”—Zachary Helton, bartender at Cork & Cow in Franklin, Tenn.

  • Château Arton La Réserve Haut-Armagnac ($46)

    “The absolute best Old Fashioned I have made is with this Armagnac. Fruits, spices, coffee, richness—it’s outstanding.”—Mike Strohm, lead bartender at The W in Kansas City, Mo.

  • Château de Pellehaut L'Age de Glace Ténarèze Armagnac ($37)

    “Ugni blanc and folle blanche grapes provide an austere backbone but tempered by notes of pineapple and plantains. This is impressive for its young age.”—Karen Fu, bartender at Republique in Los Angeles

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • Clear Creek Pear Brandy ($74)

    “Probably my favorite thing to sip on preferably straight out of the freezer, it’s a perfect expression of pear.”—Natasha David, co-owner of Nitecap in New York City

  • Dudognon Sélection Grande Champagne Cognac ($39)

    “This cognac changed the way I drink a French 75 forever. Using the traditional New Orleans recipe (with cognac), Dudognon makes for a perfect velvety French 75.”—Marshall Vincent Minaya, beverage director and head bartender at Valerie in New York City

  • Edelbrand Vinars de Vin Brandy ($89)

    “Grape brandy that has been lightly infused with dill. It’s clean, balanced, refreshing and light.”—Strohm

  • Jacoulot L'Authentique Marc de Bourgogne Brandy ($55)

    “De-stemmed pinot noir pomace aged for a minimum of seven years in a mobile alembic still then left to rest in French oak barrels makes for a sublime unique spirit—yellow flowers, honey and chamomile, offset by earthy musk.”—Fu

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • Laird's 12 Year Old Rare Apple Brandy ($80)

    “With strong apple notes and aromatics, this is a fantastic substitute for whiskey in a Manhattan.”—Strohm

  • Lustau Solera Gran Reserva Brandy ($40)

    “Sherry is my (and so many other bartenders’) favorite thing in the world, so who knows more about how to make amazing distillate from grapes than the legendary region of Jerez? It’s amazing in cocktails and fantastic after dinner and as a substitute for other aged spirits in Manhattans or Old Fashioneds. The price point compared to the quality of this spirit should lend itself to backbars and cocktail menus everywhere.”—Nathaniel Smith, creative director of bar and drinks at Travail Kitchen and Amusements in Minneapolis

  • Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy ($13)

    “This is a great cocktail brandy. Making a Brandy Crusta with this will please any of your guests.”—Trevor Wheeler, bartender at The Meeting House in Rochester, Mich.

  • Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac ($45)

    “It’s my go-to for Sazeracs. The great blending ability and richness make this Nola cocktail shine.”—Wheeler

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  • Reisetbauer Carrot Eau-de-Vie ($80)

    “This is a real treat and super bright expression of carrot. It’s delicious on its own and also great as a little teaspoon addition in a Martini.”—David

  • Rhine Hall Mango Brandy ($60)

    “Musky and vibrant, this brandy takes you by surprise. If you ever thought brandy wasn’t refreshing, take a swig of this.”—David

  • Singani 63 Brandy ($35)

    “I tasted and loved this brandy way before I ever realized this is a passion project of director Steven Sodebergh, who tasted and loved this spirit and made it a point to make sure Americans eventually could taste and love this spirit too. Try it and you'll agree with the passion to make that kind of effort.”—Smith