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Throwback Thursday Drink: French Connection

Let me introduce you to another drink of the past, the French connections. This is one of the drinks that my parent drank when I was growing up, and it was a popular drink the older crowd would order when I was bartending at the club Network in Detroit. So let me give you a little history of this drink.

The French Connection is a two-part drink that first hit the market in the early 1970s and was named after Gene Hackman's 1971 film. The cocktail's creator is unknown, so who is to thank for this tasty mix?

The French Connection combines cognac and amaretto, a sweet Italian liqueur made from almonds and stone fruit pits, in a seemingly simple duo that tastes more complex than the recipe suggests. The cognac offers a light and fruity base that harmonizes perfectly with the amaretto liqueur's characteristic fruit and almond notes. There are no rules when choosing your cognac, and the drink can be made from a young VS, a slightly older VSOP, or even an XO. Younger cognacs offer fresher, fruitier flavors, while older expressions bring oak accents like vanilla and spice.

This cocktail is growing in popularity, and with good reason, as the beautiful combination makes for the perfect digestif, after-dinner drink, or nightcap. It's a slow-sip mixed drink made from cognac and amaretto. The cognac gives the cold drink warmth, and the taste harmonizes well with the nutty sweetness of the amaretto. Drinks as simple as this are based on high-quality spirits rather than a recipe with more mixers. Therefore, buy a quality cognac and amaretto. You don't have to spend a fortune on a bottle of cognac at French Connection. Of course, cognac is slightly more expensive than other brandies, and its terroir (origin) will increase the value of the spirit. However, some great cognacs won't break the bank.

While it's nice on the rocks, many connoisseurs agree this drink is better.

All about Cognac

Cognac is a type of French brandy, a liquor made from distilling wine. There are several grades of Cognac that shows how long it’s been aged:

  • VS or 3 stars (2 years)

  • VSOP (4 years)

  • Napoléon (6 years)

  • XO (10 years)

What is Amaretto?

Amaretto is an almond liqueur that originates from Italy. It has a distinctive almond flavor and tastes both sweet and bitter at once (amaretto means in Italian “little bitter”). You may know the flavor from the famous amaretto cookies, a popular Italian sweet.


1 1/2 ounces cognac

1 ounce amaretto


Fill a rocks glass with ice.

Add the cognac and amaretto and stir briefly to combine.

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