20 best Apricot (brandy) cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Photography by Dan Malpass

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In cocktails, apricot brandy is one of the most used of the traditional "range liqueurs" and this fruit liqueur continues to thieve in contemporary recipes.

Not all apricot "brandy" liqueurs are created equals, and some/many are based on neutral spirit rather than brandy. Others are based on a blend of neutral spirit (distilled from sugar or grain) and brandy (distilled from fermented grape juice). Apricot brandy liqueurs should not be confused with apricot eau-de-vie, a spirit distilled from fermented apricot juice.

The term apricot brandy endures as the generic in much the same way that in our household we also call our Dyson vacuum cleaner a "Hoover" but depending on where you are in the world (labeling regulations vary), chances are this cocktail staple is actually simple labeled "apricot liqueur" with an alcohol strength between 24 and 30% alc./vol.. (I'd advise you avoid those brands with 20% or less, while over 30% is a tad punchy.)

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After Supper
With: Orange curaƧao, apricot brandy, and lemon juice.
We say: As the name suggests, best enjoyed after a hearty meal.

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Angel Face
With: Gin, calvados, and apricot brandy.
We say: Three equal parts ingredients from The Savoy Cocktail Book.

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Cannonball
With: Mezcal, apricot brandy, lime juice, pineapple juice, and aromatic bitters.
We say: Dry and mezcal-forward but apricot shines.

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Claridge Cocktail
With: Gin, dry vermouth, triple sec, and apricot liqueur.
We say: Gin for strength, vermouth for dryness and apricot brandy to sweeten.

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Colonel Ward
With: Overproof white rum, apricot brandy, orange juice, lemon juice, and fernet.
We say: Rum funk-laced orchard and citrus fruit.

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Dulchin
With: Pisco, cognac-orange liqueur, apricot brandy, lime cordial, and grenadine syrup.
We say: Named after the heir of a New York hardware company.

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Ernst Happel
With: Gin, Strega, apricot brandy, kirschwasser, lemon juice, and orange bitters.
We say: Gin-laced, tangy, herbal, fruity and citrusy.

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Fairbanks No.1
With: Gin, apricot brandy, dry martini, lemon juice, and grenadine syrup.
We say: Another from The Savoy Cocktail Book.

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Flor de Jerez
With: Amontillado sherry, Jamaican aged rum, apricot brandy, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and aromatic bitters.
We say: A rum-laced, sherry sour with a balancing splash of apricot liqueur.

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Goombay Smash
With: Jamaican aged rum, coconut rum, apricot brandy, pineapple juice, orange juice, lime juice, and aromatic bitters.
We say: The classic rum and pineapple combo with a touch of rum funk and subdued apricot.

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Haystack
With: Bourbon, gentian liqueur, apricot brandy, and lemon juice.
We say: "A yellow version of Sam Ross' Paper Plane."

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Hotel Nacional Special
With: Golden rum, apricot brandy, pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar syrup, and daiquiri bitters.
We say: A fruity but sophisticated riff on a classic Daiquiri.

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Holy Joe Cocktail
With: Irish whiskey, rosso vermouth, apricot brandy, and carciofo amari.
We say: An Irish whiskey-based, bittersweet aperitif cocktail.

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New York Stone Sour
With: Bourbon, apricot brandy, lemon juice, orange juice, sugar syrup, and red wine.
We say: Sip though red wine to reach the apricot whiskey sour beneath.

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Playmate Martini
With: Cognac, cognac orange liqueur, apricot brand, orange juice, egg white, and aromatic bitters.
We say: Cognac-laced apricot and orange.

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Praecocia Cocktail
With: Bourbon, full-bodied vermouth, apricot brandy, and aromatic bitters.
We say: Made to Jamie Boudreau's Mr Potato Head ratio.

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Ruby Manhattan
With: Rye whiskey, tawny port, apricot brandy, and creole bitters.
We say: A delicious nightcaps from the 2000s.

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The Slope
With: Rye whiskey, full-bodied vermouth, apricot brandy, and aromatic bitters.
We say: An apricot brandy influenced riff on a Manhattan.

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Sumo in a Sidecar
With: Apricot brandy, sake, and lemon juice.
We say: Hints of sake in a Sidecar style cocktail.

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Sunny Disposition
With: Blanco tequila, gentian liqueur, apricot brandy, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and Boker's bitters.
We say: Slightly on the bitter side of bittersweet with jammy apricot.

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