In Defense of the Brandy and Soda

Posted by: on Apr 22, 2011 | 8 Comments

I’m standing up in defense of the oft-forgotten Brandy and Soda.  A pressing issue of the day, I know.  You may all breathe easy now that this eminently sippable cocktail has a found its champion.

As for fizzy drinks, most people these days lean towards the classic G&T or the slightly more hairy-chested Scotch and Soda.  But there are some situations that beg for something in between the two.  Tonight for example.  It’s in the low 60s out, balmy, but not cold.  I don’t want the crisp, refreshing dryness of the G&T, and the heft of the Scotch and Soda would be just a little overbearing.  Enter the Brandy and Soda.  A little sweet, but balanced nicely by the bubbles, it goes down smoothly and neither sits heavy nor makes me shiver.

I recommend going a little heavier on the booze than you might with either of the other two.  A good 2 to 3 oz pour, over a few cubes of ice, and topped up with maybe 5 oz of soda will do nicely.  A bit strong, like Bertie Wooster liked his, but perfectly balanced.  Do you have a favorite summer sipper?


  1. Yankee-Whisky-Papa
    April 22, 2011

    I am a life-long fan of this drink. I was nearly ejected from a Boston restaurant for sending back the "Brandy and Soda" three times. It seems that someone had reversed the Sprite hose with the Club Soda hose on the beverage gun, and I was getting brandy and Sprite… a sickening mixture. On the third time, I insisted that they were doing it wrong, and suggested that the waiter AND barman try it themselves. The barman did and confirmed that the soda hoses had been switched. Vindicating my claim, he offered me another, but the waiter suggested a different drink instead: "Can I bring you something fresh? How about a bourbon and ginger [ale]?"

    "Thank you, but we'll take the check and our coats instead."

  2. Stephen Pulvirent
    April 23, 2011


    Wow, that sounds like quite the ordeal. I nearly came to fisticuffs with a bartender last week who gave me a hard time about my "wrong" martini order. When I said I simply like something more traditional, he asked if I wanted Sweet Vermouth too. Service industry? Serving whom?

    Thanks for the comment and I'm glad there are others who will be sipping on Brandy and Soda this spring.


  3. Canadian
    November 2, 2011

    Up until tonight I had never tried one. I got to thinking: I like scotch and soda, I even like vodka and soda–so why not try brandy?

    I can vouch for this drink. It’s very refreshing, more so than a scotch and soda, IMO.

  4. Rob
    March 5, 2012

    Bit of an old post I know; but nonetheless I’d like to come out in support of the old B&S too.

    My initiation came a couple of weeks ago, after becoming mildly addicted to Jeeves and Wooster stories on my Kindle.

    In my opinion it’s a great way of using up an inferior brandy that may have been given as a gift by a well-meaning, but sadly misguided, relative :o )

    • Stephen
      March 5, 2012

      Haha, spot on. Jeeves & Wooster is the perfect accompaniment to the B&S. Or any drink really.

  5. Sharron
    April 1, 2012

    I watched a very old English movie the other night and heard a man order “brandy and soda”. I love soda and happened to have ginger brandy in the liquor cabinet. I normally drink bourbon and soda with lemon. This is something different and I really like it. Also like the fact that it is obviously an old English traditional drink. Being from the American deep South, I’m a chronic Anglophile!

  6. parlementum
    June 20, 2012

    Perfect. Im having this tonight. Im also linking to it. Cheers!

  7. M. Castillo
    January 9, 2013

    Hear, hear!

    I discovered this combination a few years ago, either by accident or through Jeeves and Wooster (I can’t remember if Bertie ever drank B&S in the show), and have loved it ever since.

    There is, of course, the smug satisfaction of drinking something so archaic, but that aside, it is delicious and one of very few cocktails I truly love.

    B&S? Right ho, I say.


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