French Connection Cocktail Recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on May 18, 2023

The French Connection is a simple two-component cocktail made with Cognac and Amaretto. Despite the limited ingredients, it is a complex and tasty drink.
French Connection cocktail with jigger

Made with fine Cognac and Amaretto, the French Connection is a delicious representative of classic brandy cocktails. The two ingredients go perfectly together and create a beautifully complex flavor profile. 

Quick Facts French Connection Cocktail

  • Method: stirred
  • Flavor profile: sweet, fruity, boozy
  • How to serve it: over ice
  • Glassware: rocks glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 34% ABV, 26 grams per serving

Cognac gives the drink a deep and fruity base that blends well with the sweet almond taste of Amaretto. It is this sweetness that makes the composition a perfect after-dinner cocktail.

French Connection cocktail with jigger

French Connection Recipe

A two-ingredient cocktail made of Cognac and Amaretto.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cognac
Servings: 1
Calories: 227kcal
Cost: $4.60


  • 1 Jigger
  • 1 Mixing glass
  • 1 Strainer


  • 2 oz Cognac
  • 1 oz Amaretto


  • Pour both ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled.
    2 oz Cognac, 1 oz Amaretto
  • Pour the drink into a chilled glass over ice.
  • Optionally garnish your cocktail with an orange peel.


Serving: 3.25ozCalories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 5.5gSugar: 5.5g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Ingredients with Recommendations

With only two ingredients, there's nowhere to hide. The quality of the cognac and the quality of the Amaretto will inevitably define if your French Connection cocktail is a winner:

  • Cognac: a type of Brandy from Cognac, a district in the French Charente region. The production is strictly regulated, making it a consistently high-quality spirit per definition. The grades range from young (VS) to slightly aged (VSOP), up to aged for a long time (XO). For the French Connection, you can use any of the above. A younger Cognac will create a more fruity and fresh drink, while an XO expression carries warm notes of vanilla and oak.
  • Amaretto: a sweet Italian liqueur made of pits from stone fruits. Together with MaraschinoCampari, and Cynar, it is one of the top Italian liqueurs for mixing cocktails. I recommend going with the leading brand, Disaronno, for the French Connection. If you don't know what to do with the rest of the bottle, check out these Disaronno-based cocktails.

The best way to make this drink

Consisting exclusively of alcoholic ingredients, you should stir this drink in a mixing glass with the help of a bar spoon. Ideally, you fill your mixing glass to the rim with ice cubes, then add both ingredients and use the bar spoon to stir the cocktail for about 20 seconds. That equals about 50 rounds.

That's the time the liquid needs to be chilled by the ice. Plus, you achieve just the perfect level of dilution from the melting ice. 

If you're unsure how to move your spoon in the ice-filled mixing glass while cooling the drink evenly, check out our post on the perfect stirring technique.

Once you are done stirring your French Connection, use a Hawthorne Strainer to pour your drink over a fresh, large, clear ice cube into a rocks glass.


The easiest way to create a variation for the French Connection is to adjust the ratios of the drink. If it's too sweet, reduce the Amaretto by 0.25 oz. If, in turn, you prefer your drinks a little sweeter, increase it to 1.25 oz.

Another after-dinner drink from the same era is the Godfather cocktail, which is not exactly a variation but has a very similar approach - two ingredients & named after a movie. The difference here is the base spirit - the Godfather is based on smoky Scotch, not cognac.

History of the French Connection

The French Connection got its name from a 70s movie with the same title. This crime thriller from 1971 starred Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Schneider, and more. 

As simple as the drink seems to today's standards, in the 70s, that kind of two-ingredient cocktail was quite unusual, classy, and sophisticated. In a time when colorful and overly sweet disco drinks were trending, cocktails like this or the Rusty Nail, indeed, seemed very cosmopolitan.

The Godfather cocktail has a similar background. It, too, was named after the corresponding movie, which was released only one year after French Connections. -Must have been a short lived trend of linking cocktails to Hollywood.

However, we do not know who actually invented the French Connection drink. There's hardly any information on by whom or how the cocktail got made for the first time. It appears as if it just appeared out of nowhere.

Now, for those thinking that the French Connection recipe is just a riff on the Godfather with a different base spirit: In fact, it is the other way around. The drink already existed when the legendary Godfather movie was released. 

However, more people are familiar with the whiskey-based Godfather, so the French Connection is often unjustly regarded as the copycat drink.

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