Boozy Brandy Crusta Cocktail with Sugar and Lemon
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Brandy Crusta Cocktail

You may have never heard of it, but the Brandy Crusta is a cocktail with a story to tell. Although the name might make it sound like it’s not the most delicious drink out there, the taste is impeccable and much sweeter than you might think. Keep reading to find out what you need to stir one up yourself. 

Brandy Crusta History

The exact origin of the Brandy Crusta is a subject that’s up for debate. What is known is that it was first mixed by an Italian native of Trieste, Joseph Santini, in 1850s New Orleans. From there, it isn’t known whether he made it in his bar, Jewel of the South, or the City Exchange in the French Quarter. However, does it really matter?

What does matter is that even if you haven’t heard of this cocktail, it is one of the granddaddy’s of all other cocktails. In fact, it was the fourth drink to grace the illustrated pages of the world’s first cocktail book, Bar-Tender’s Guide by Jerry Thomas, in 1862. 

The Brandy Crusta is considered to be one of the forerunners to the legendary Sidecar cocktail, and subsequently, the Margarita. Next time you’re sipping a Margarita on a tropical beach somewhere, thank Joseph Santini for inventing the Brandy Crusta first. 

What gives the Brandy Crusta its signature look and “crusted” name is the rim of sugar. Every time you take a sip, you’ll get a mouthful of sweetness mixing with the light effervescence of the brandy, curacao, and maraschino liqueur.

It is worth noting that this is a sweet drink, so you can subtract some of the simple syrup in the recipe if that isn’t your thing. 

Once you make the drink, you’ll realize how indicative its origin is of globalization. An Italian, using European spirits, Caribbean liqueurs, and American presentation? It doesn’t get any better than that. 

Brandy Crusta Ingredients

Although the cocktail isn’t the hardest to make, there are a lot of ingredients to consider. Most should be available in your local liquor store, but consider making your own demerara simple syrup before you get started. 

  • Brandy – 2 ounces (60ml)
  • Curacao – ¼ ounce (7.5ml)
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – ½ ounce (15ml)
  • Simple Syrup (demerara preferably) – ½ ounce (15ml)
  • Maraschino Liqueur – 1 teaspoon
  • Angostura Bitters – 1 dash
  • Lemon twist – Garnish
  • Sugar rim – Garnish

How to Make a Brandy Crusta 

Despite the number of ingredients, making the Brandy Crusta is very straightforward. Make sure you have a coupe glass on hand to give your cocktail that signature 19th-century look. 

  1. Fill a coupe glass with water and ice and set it aside. 
  2. Once chilled, dump the ice from your glass, use a lemon to line the rim, and then crust with sugar. 
  3. Add all of your ingredients (except for the garnishes) and shake vigorously until well-chilled. 
  4. Double strain into your coupe glass
  5. Express your lemon twist over the top and then garnish. 
  6. Enjoy!

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