Call it the comeback spirit – Cognac is once again tantalizing and energizing the palates of New Yorkers, and rightly so. The genuine spirit of France, this grape-based beverage is just as easily sipped neat as it is slung back in a cocktail. Invoke your inner Francophile and check out these spots to enjoy cognac neat or in cocktails. – by Jonathan Pogash


Seduction is the name of the game on the cocktail menu at Brasserie Cognac. The “Rouge a Levre” (Lipstick) marries Hennessy Cognac, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, blackberry jam, cherry puree, and champagne.


Employees Only in the West Village, arguably one of the top spots in NYC to watch bartenders work their magic, knows what Cognac can add to a cocktail. They mix up their signature Mata Hari cocktail. The moustached bar men combine Louis Royer Force 53, chai-infused vermouth, and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice yielding a fruity and spicy wintry libation.

Credit: Maison Premiere

For a take on the classic French 75 cocktail, and a supportive nod to Arnaud’s restaurant in New Orleans, head on over to Maison Premiere in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. On the menu is “Arnaud’s French 75” (Bach Cognac, fresh lemon juice, sugar and champagne). As you sip and savor this cocktail, you’ll think yourself in the sun and exuberant streets of NOLA’s French Quarter. Pass the oysters, please.

credit: Surrey Hotel

Maison Surrenne, a small-batch family-owned cognac brand, shines through in one of Bar Pleiades’ takes on a classic Brandy Crusta. The Daniel Boulud-run cocktail lounge inside the Upper East Side’ Surry Hotel mixes the cognac with fresh lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and orange curacao. An elegant blend, indeed, and perfect with the charcuterie platter.

(file photo credit: Brian Ach/Getty Images)

At Bar Tabac in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, you can enjoy a dram of Pierre Ferrand Reserve cognac as an aperitif before plunging into their “Bistro Bites.” Take a close peek at the barrels sitting in the middle of the room, and settle into their comfy red bistro chairs to take a load off.

40/40 Club's Remy Lounge (credit: 40/40 Club)

If VIP rooms dedicated to cognac are more your style, check out the 40/40 Club when they reopen on Jan. 19th after an extensive technological renovation. With names like “Remy Lounge” and “Cognac Room”, you’ll quickly realize what Jay Z’s spirit of choice is. Lounge on the over-sized beds and wrap-around leather couches while you whet your whistle with bottles of Remy Martin cognac. Voila!

For the latest on bars and nightlife in New York City, follow us on Twitter!

Jonathan Pogash, aka The Cocktail Guru, is a beverage consultant, author, and educator.