Researching Apricot Brandy cocktails

I tried out a range of apricot brandy drinks while selecting my entry for the recent Raiders of the Lost Cocktail. The following gives a summary of what I tried, ranked not very scientifically from best to worst.



6 parts Lillet

3 parts Cognac

1 part apricot brandy

1 dash Peychauld’s Bitters


Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.


This is excellent! It is a nice smooth drink that should show off a good apricot brandy very well. It is also a nice drink for showing off Lillet. As a fruity and summery aperitif wine Lillet makes a great partner to a flavor like apricot. Lillet being slightly bitter means you have to pick the apricot flavor out in this drink, but not every apricot brandy drink should taste assertively of apricots. The Cognac adds some backbone and richness, and the Peychaud’s Bitters give complexity without the heavy spicy notes of something like Angostura. Not being an especially strong drink it is also suitable for the oversized cocktail glasses that are favored these days. My only reservation is that since the formula of Lillet changed in the 1980s to become less bitter, this drink must taste a little different to how it was intended.


Culross Cocktail

1 ½ oz gold rum (I used Cruzan Estate)

½ oz Lillet

¼ oz lime juice

¼ oz apricot brandy


Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.


This drink has tons of potential. It was a tad light bodied and watery, but I colder ice and a different rum might improve that. Maybe the proportions should also be reworked a little. There are several versions of this drink. This drink deserves to be looked at further.




1 ½ oz gin

½ oz dry vermouth

½ oz apricot brandy


Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.


This is a simple but very tasty drink. There is a similar drink that uses Crème de Cassis in place of the apricot brandy. I think it is called a Parisien or something similar. Anyway, this one uses the same principle but with a different liqueur.


Maidens Prayer Variation

¾ oz gin

¾ oz Lillet

½ oz calvados

½ oz apricot brandy


Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.


The addition of calvados makes this one very interesting. However, as it stands I think it comes across as a little confused. Some tweaking around with the proportions might really improve it. It could deserve a second look some time.

Mayfair Cocktail

1 1/2 oz gin

1/2 oz orange juice

1/2 oz apricot brandy

1 dash of pimento dram

optional pinch of cloves (I didn’t bother – but in retrospect I should probably have added a dash of Angostura Bitters since that has a clove taste)

Shake with ice and strain into a glass.

I was excited about this one. It isn’t often I get a chance to break out my homemade pimento dram. Sadly it didn’t do much for me. The apricot brandy and orange juice combination is just not exciting. This might work better with a tarter citrus juice.



Charlie Lindbergh

1 ¼ oz gin

1 oz Lillet

¼ oz apricot brandy

1 dash orange bitters


Stir over ice and strain into a glass.


Tasty but average.




1 oz gin

1 oz Lillet

¼ oz orange juice

¼ oz apricot brandy


Shake over ice, garnish with a lemon twist, and strain into a cocktail glass.


Given the excellent name and the list of ingredients I had been expecting to enjoy this one. Unfortunately it was a bit of a let down. It looks good on paper but somehow the orange juice-apricot-Lillet combination does not work very well. Orange juice with Lillet tastes slightly insipid.


Barbara East Cocktail

1 oz bourbon

¾ oz grapefruit juice

½ oz apricot brandy

¼ tsp sugar (I left this out)


Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.


This was pleasant enough but not especially exciting.




1 ¼ oz bourbon

½ oz sweet vermouth

½ oz dry vermouth

¼ oz apricot brandy


Stir over ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange slice.


This is really just an apricot accented Manhattan. Neither unpleasant nor very exciting.

One Response to “Researching Apricot Brandy cocktails”

  1. Bunnyhugs » Blog Archive » Raiders of the Lost Cocktail (Apricot Brandy Edition): The Self Starter Says:

    [...] I will write a little about about how I found my entry first. Then I will write up my official entry. I introduce some of the other drinks I tried before settling on my entry in a separate post or two following this one (see here). [...]

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