“Brandy is usually sipped by the fireside, typically by people who have the money to spend on it,” says Chris Lowder, bar manager at the NoMad in New York City. He bucks convention, mixing the upscale spirit with Pabst Blue Ribbon and cilantro for a summery, high/low beer cocktail. Slideshow: Brandy Cocktail RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Cocktails 2015
Fennel Syrup: In a saucepan, boil 4 ounces of water. Remove from the heat, add 1/2 cup cubed fennel (1/2-inch pieces cut from 1/2 small bulb) and let steep for 6 minutes. Remove and discard the fennel. Add 1/2 cup sugar to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until dissolved. Remove from the heat, let cool and transfer the syrup to a jar. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 6 ounces.
Chile Cointreau: In a liquid measuring cup, combine 3 diced unseeded Thai bird chiles with 8 1/2 ounces Cointreau and let stand for 5 minutes. Taste the mixture; when sufficiently spicy, strain the infused Cointreau into a jar and refrigerate for up to 1 month. Makes about 8 ounces.