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The French Connection cocktail has a fun name and is super easy to craft at home. However, don’t underestimate this two-ingredient cocktail that tastes greater than the sum of its two parts. It’s a cocktail keeper.

French Connection Cocktail with Black Background

The French Connection intrigued us before we took our first sips…

For starters, its name reminds us of France. After multiple visits to cities like Paris, Lyon, Dijon and Strasbourg as well as Marseille, we feel a connection to the hexagonal nation.

And, since we met at an Oscars party, we also have an affinity for movies that have won Academy awards. You guess it – this cocktail was named after The French Connection movie.

What Is a French Connection Cocktail?

French Connection Cocktail from Above Close Up
Who doesn’t love a two-ingredient cocktail?

A French Connect cocktail is a two-ingredient cocktail crafted with equal parts of Amaretto and Cognac.

It’s also a sweet, potent and easy drink to sip after dinner, preferably next to a fireplace and with a special someone.

History of the French Connection Cocktail

French Connection Cocktail on Ledge
The French Connection sports a cosmopolitan taste that fits its cosmopolitan name.

While somebody somewhere invented the French Connection cocktail, we don’t know who to thank or where that happened. But we do know a couple key things…

We know that the two-ingredient cocktail first showed up in bars in the ‘me decade’ of the 1970s. This is the same decade that The French Connection debuted in movie theaters.

We also know that The French Connection won five Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. The movie told the story of Popeye Doyle and Cloudy Russo, as portrayed by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, and included one of Hollywood’s greatest chase scenes ever.

And, although neither Hackman nor Scheider imbibed a French Connection cocktail in The French Connection movie, the drink and the film are forever entwined.

French Connection Cocktail Ingredients

French Connection Cocktail Liquor Bottles
Amaretto and cognac are the liquors that connect the French Connection’s dots.

Our French Connection cocktail only has the following ingredients:

  • Amaretto
  • Cognac
  • Large Ice Cube

Yes, the French connection is a 2-ingredient cocktail not counting the ice. There are no mixers. There are no garnishes. You just need two liquors and, if you’re like us, you already have them in your home bar.

Amaretto

Amaretto Bottle
Amaretto is one of Italy’s finest contributions to the cocktail world.

Based in Italy’s Lombardy region, Disarrono is the world’s most prolific amaretto producer. Its almond flavored liqueur has a 28% ABV but, ironically, doesn’t contain any almonds. Instead, Disarrono uses apricot kernels to achieve its nutty sweet flavor.

Cognac

bottle of Courvoisier Cognac
The same goes for cognac and France.

Distilled in Cognac, Courvoisier V.S. cognac has a 40% ABV. This twice-distilled, barrel-aged brandy is great for sipping by itself or on the rocks. It’s a relatively affordable cognac choice that helps fuel this and other cocktails.

Buy a bottles of amaretto and/or cognac from Drizly or Total Wine if you live in the US.

How to Craft a French Connection Cocktail

French Connection Cocktail Mise en Place
Assembling the ingredients and tools to craft a French Connection cocktail is ridiculously easy.

The number of bar tools required to craft a French Connection cocktail is as short as the number of liquors required to craft it. You probably already have both of the following basic bar tools:

Adding Ice to French Connection Cocktail
We like big ice cubes. We cannot lie.

The first step is to place a large ice ice cube into a lowball glass.

You can use small ice cubes; however, a large cube is the better way to go. Not only do large ice cubes displace more liquid which chills cocktails faster, they also melt more slowly. Additionally, large ice cubes are très soigné.

Buy a large silicone ice cube tray from Amazon if you don’t already have one.

Pouring Liquor into a French Connection Cocktail
The French Connection cocktail had us with amaretto and sealed the deal with cognac.

Next, measure the amaretto and cognac in a 1:1 ratio. Pour the two liquors directly into the lowball glass as you measure each. We use a Japanese jigger to get accurate measurements and easy pours for both of these liquids.

Purchase a Japanese Jigger if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Stirring French Connection Cocktail
A quick stir finished this cocktail. All that was left to do was sip and smile.

The final step is to gently stir the cocktail. That’s it. This cocktail doesn’t require any garnishes or hoopla.

You could hypothetically add orange peel or a maraschino cherry but don’t do it. We prefer the French Connection without any accoutrements. We suspect that you will too.

French Connection Cocktail Variations

French Connection Cocktail with Liquor Bottles
We like our French Connection recipe just the way it is. Will you feel the same?

Consider the following options if the French Connection inspires your creative juices:

  • Adjust the 1:1 ratio to include more amaretto to craft a sweeter French Connection cocktail.
  • Adjust the 1:1 ratio to include more cognac to craft a drier French Connection cocktail.
  • Skip the ice cube and serve the French connection cocktail straight.
  • Replace the cognac with brandy to craft a Godchild cocktail.
  • Replace the cognac with scotch to craft a Godfather cocktail.

French Connection Cocktail FAQs

What are the ingredients in a French Connection Cocktail?

Amaretto, Cognac and a Large Ice Cube

What’s the best cognac to use in a French Connection Cocktail?

You should use your favorite cognac in this cocktail recipe. We typically use Courvoisier VS Cognac but any cognac will work just fine.

Is the French Connection Cocktail shaken or stirred?

The French Connection Cocktail is stirred, not shaken.

What type of glass is best for the French Connection Cocktail?

We like to serve this cocktail in a lowball glass and you should do the same.

French Connection Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces cognac
  • 1 1/2 ounces amaretto
  • large ice cube

Instructions

    1. Place a large ice cube into a lowball glass.
    2. Pour cognac and amaretto into the glass.
    3. Gently stir.

Notes

  • You can use several small ice cubes if you don’t have a large ice cube tray.

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About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Original Publication Date: December 16, 2022