The great thing about a classic cognac like Hennessy is that you can taste its quality even in mixed drinks. Cognacs are distilled from wine, increasing the alcohol content while retaining the original wine’s range of subtle flavors. When you create a mixed drink that features a Hennessy cognac, you know that smoothness and flavor will shine through.

The Tale of Hennessy

Hennessy is centuries old, and it shows. The Irish founder, Richard Hennessy, opened the French cognac company in 1765. Since then, eight generations of Richard’s descendants and seven generations of the French Fillioux family have worked their socks off to make Hennessy a world-leading cognac in quality and taste.

The company uses grapes only from the finest growing areas of the Cognac region around the River Charante. All Hennessy cognacs are aged in French oak barrels, and then the liquors are carefully blended. The result of all this effort is a variety of cognacs for drinking neat, on the rocks and in mixed drinks. The drink’s flavors range from grape, citrus and toasted almonds to vanilla, fresh fruit and creme brulee.

Hennessy Drinks

The letters that appear after the name of a Hennessy cognac are a handy guide as to how you should drink the spirit. For mixed Hennessy drinks, choose a cognac that has the letters VS or VSOP after the name. The letters VS stand for “Very Special,” and VSOP is an abbreviation of “Very Special Old Pale.” These cognacs are young, aged between 2 to 8 years.

The flavors of young cognacs are strong, and they can handle mixing with other drinks. For a Hennessy to drink neat, on the rocks or with a little water, go for an XO. These initials mean “Extra Old,” and they refer to a cognac that’s been aged 10 years or longer. But there are no hard and fast rules, so feel free to experiment to find out what best suits your tastes.

What’s Good to Mix With Hennessy?

You may be tempted to be lazy with Hennessy. All you need to do for a delectable drink is to pour a couple of ounces of the cognac over rocks. Yet, with a little more effort, you can create something different and delicious.

Champagne, soda water, citrus juices, gin, rye whiskey, madeira, sweet and dry vermouth, strawberry syrup and Peychaud’s, orange and Angostura bitters all complement the flavors of Hennessy. Not all at once, though. Combine Hennessy with another liquor, a liqueur, add some juice or bitters, and, for a tall drink, top everything off with soda water or champagne.

Hennessy, gin, sweet vermouth, Peychaud’s bitters and club soda create a cocktail that delivers quite a punch. Add ice to make the mixed drink refreshing and thirst-quenching too. Top it off with a twist of lemon.

Tall Tale

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Hennessy
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • Lemon twist

Directions

  1. Pour the Hennessy, gin, sweet vermouth and Peychaud’s bitters into a highball glass.
  2. Fill the glass with ice cubes.
  3. Pour the club soda into the glass.
  4. Add a lemon twist as a garnish, and serve.

Hennessy Fizz

Although Hennessy is an Irish name, the drink is traditionally French. What could be a better companion to the cognac than champagne? Add orange juice and simple syrup for this quick, simple cocktail.

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/4 ounce Hennessy
  • Ice cubes
  • Champagne
  • Orange wheel

Directions

  1. Pour the simple syrup, orange juice and Hennessy into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice cubes, and shake it for 10 seconds.
  3. Strain the cocktail mixture into a champagne flute.
  4. Top up the drink with champagne.
  5. Cut a slit in the orange wheel from the center to the edge, and then slip the wheel over the rim of the glass as a garnish.

Tip

Put the champagne flute in your freezer for 15 minutes before making the drink to help keep the cocktail nice and chilly.

Fresh and Fruity Hennessy

Cognacs like Hennessy conjure images of evenings spent by a roaring fire, sipping the aromatic, flavorsome spirit while telling tall tales of bygone days. But this versatile drink is equally at home in sweet summer cocktails to enjoy on warm evenings by the pool. Mix Hennessy with sweet tea, lemonade or fruit juices to create a delicious mixed drink chilled with ice to take the edge off after a hard day’s work. For an extra kick, add a traditional summer liquor like white rum or sweet vermouth.

A Hennessy and sweet tea cocktail mixes the sultry with the innocent for hot summer nights. The citrus flavors, Hennessy and tea in this drink are made for each other. For a less sweet version, use unsweetened iced tea.

Hennessy and Lime Tea Time

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Hennessy
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 2 ounces sweetened iced tea
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime wedge

Directions

  1. Pour the Hennessy, Grand Marnier, iced tea and lime juice into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice, and shake it for about 10 seconds.
  3. Fill a rocks glass with ice.
  4. Strain the cocktail mixture into the glass.
  5. Add a lime wedge as a garnish.

A Place in the Sun

Strawberries and champagne are a time-honored combination. Add Hennessy and extra fruit flavors to the mix, and you have a luxurious mixed drink with layers of flavor. Lemon juice cuts a refreshing swath through the sweetness of the liquor and fruit.

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Hennessy
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce Grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce strawberry puree
  • 1/2 ounce pineapple juice
  • Ice cubes
  • 3 ounces champagne

Directions

  1. Pour the Hennessy, lemon juice, Grenadine, strawberry puree and pineapple juice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice, and shake it for 10 seconds.
  3. Fill a tall glass with ice, and strain the cocktail mixture into the glass.
  4. Add the champagne to the glass and stir the mixture gently before serving.

Knockout

Hennessy plus another strong liquor creates a powerful cocktail in the style of a martini or Manhattan. Sweet syrup softens the strength of the alcohol, which is balanced by lemon juice. Peychaud’s bitters and a slice of lemon add the finishing touches.

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 ounces Hennessy
  • 3/4 ounce gin
  • 3/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slice

Directions

  1. Pour the Hennessy, gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and Peychaud’s bitters into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice, and shake it for 10 seconds.
  3. Fill a rocks glass with ice, and strain the cocktail into the glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon slice, and serve.

Hennessy Winter Warmers

A shot of cognac does wonders for winter chills, but you can turn Hennessy into something even more special when dull skies and cold weather arrive again. The warming cognac makes delightful party cocktails and mixed drinks during holiday season. Here are a few ideas to give you inspiration.

Green Christmas

A bright green cocktail is an eye-catching drink guaranteed to provide a wow factor at holiday season cocktail parties. This drink combines golden yellow Hennessy with a blue liqueur to give a stunning lush green drink. Mix this drink in front of your guests and make a show of the magical transformation. Finally, add an exceptional garnish to blow their minds.

Total Time: 10 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • Cherries (6 pairs joined by their stalks)
  • Edible silver spray paint
  • Ice cubes
  • 12 ounces Hennessy
  • 12 ounces Hpnotiq
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Before your guests arrive, place the cherries on a sheet of newspaper and spray them with the edible silver spray paint.
  2. When the paint has dried, turn over the cherries and spray them on the other side.
  3. When the second coating of paint has dried, put the cherries in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
  4. During your cocktail party, place a medium bowl on the drinks table and fill it halfway with ice.
  5. Pour in the Hennessy, and then pour in the Hpnotiq.
  6. Add the lemon juice and stir the mixture.
  7. Serve the cocktail in chilled cocktail glasses garnished with the silver cherries.

Tip

Don't wait around too long enjoying your guests' oohs and aahs before serving the cocktail, or the ice will melt and dilute the taste.

Rock the Boat

An equally impressive cocktail is a mixture of Hennessy, Grand Marnier and lemon juice served in a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. The drink is all about combining two classic, smooth, many-flavored liquors and adding a sour note with citrus. The powdered sugar could dissolve into the lemon juice, so only lightly soak the rim of the glass.

Total Time: 5 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • Powdered sugar
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • 2 ounces Hennessy
  • ¾ ounce Grand Marnier
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Ice cubes

Directions

  1. Spread a layer of powdered sugar on the bottom of a shallow bowl.
  2. Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with the flesh side of a lemon wedge.
  3. Dip the rim of the glass in the powdered sugar, and place the glass to one side.
  4. Pour the Hennessy, Grand Marnier and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
  5. Fill the shaker with ice, and shake the contents for about 10 seconds.
  6. Strain the cocktail into the glass, taking care not to wet the sugar.
  7. Garnish the cocktail with the second lemon wedge.

Comfort Zone

A Hennessy and chocolate mixed drink is perfect for serving at the end of a dinner party and for late, cold evenings in front of a fire. The mellow tones of the cognac meld with the sweet richness of chocolate. Top off the drink with whipped cream for a touch of indulgent luxury.

Total Time: 10 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces Hennessy
  • 2 ounces chocolate liqueur
  • 1 ounce brandy
  • 2 ounces cream for whipping

Directions

  1. Pour the Hennessy, chocolate liqueur and brandy in a rocks glass.
  2. Stir to mix the ingredients.
  3. Whip the cream until it's light and fluffy.
  4. Spoon the cream on top of the drink and serve.

Tip

For a less potent drink, add 5 ounces of hot milk and stir it in before spooning the whipped cream on top. Serve the drink in a heatproof glass or decorative mug. You could also slip in a cinnamon stick for even more of a holiday feel.

About the Author

Jenny Green

Jenny Green has a Masters in English literature and has been a freelance writer since 2008.