Brandy Crusta

Here’s how to make the famous citrus-kissed cocktail from New Orleans.

  • Serves

    Makes 1 cocktail

  • Prep

    5 minutes


By Neal Bodenheimer

Updated on February 13, 2024

The Brandy Crusta is a local New Orleans cocktail invented by bartender Joseph Santini, who worked at the St. Louis Hotel in the 1840s. The drink became a cult favorite after Jerry Thomas, the first bartender to publish a cocktail book, put it in his seminal 1862 guide. “What is notable about this drink is the introduction of lemon juice,” writes Neal Bodenheimer, founder of New Orleans bar Cure and author of a book by the same name, Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’Em. “This was not common practice at the time, and it set the stage for other delicious, important drinks like the sidecar and the daisy (an inspiration for the margarita).”

For a horse’s neck lemon twist (named for its resemblance to the curves of a horse’s neck), Bodenheimer recommends using a Y peeler to cut away the entire peel of the citrus in one long spiral. Then, coil it along the interior of your serving glass, drape the top over the rim if desired, and voilà—a perfectly elegant garnish for your cocktail.

Adapted from Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ’Em by Neal Bodenheimer and Emily Timberlake, Published by Abrams. Photography © 2022 by Denny Culbert.


For the sugar rim:

  • Sugar
  • Lemon wedge

For the cocktail:

  • 1½ oz. brandy, preferably Ricou Spirits Brandy Sainte Louise
  • ¼ oz. Cointreau
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 barspoon maraschino liqueur, preferably Luxardo
  • 7 drops Angostura bitters
  • Horse’s neck lemon twist (see headnote), for garnish


Step 1

Prepare the sugar rim: On a small plate, spread the sugar. Carefully run the lemon wedge around the outside rim of a wine or coupe glass. Dip the rim in sugar to coat.

Step 2

Make the cocktail: To a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, add the brandy, Cointreau, simple syrup, lemon juice, maraschino liqueur, and bitters, and shake until chilled. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with the lemon twist.

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