There was plenty of useful info in the resulting thread but not much in the way of answering Janet's question. Brandy and cognac were mentioned only in passing by some posters and no one recommended a brandy or cognac specifically for use in a Sidecar. So, how about it? Also, is Cointreau a must?
It occurs to me that the one thing I haven't been keeping in stock for a while is brandy. I had a sidecar the other day and remembered how much I like them, so maybe it's time to pick that up. Any recommendations?
I mixed up a Sidecar with El Presidente brandy, Hiram Walker orange curacao and lemon juice a week or so ago and enjoyed it. The amounts of each that I used needs some tweaking but it wasn't bad for a first try. I imagine Cointreau and a better brandy or cognac could only improve the drink. However, I wonder if there's an unwritten rule as to just how fine a brandy or cognac should be used in a Sidecar or other cocktails or mixed drinks calling for them. I'll admit that I'm a little bit of a snob when it comes to using finer (and pricier) hooch in mixed drinks (usually) or cocktails (depends) but mostly I'm just cheap. My scotch & coke-drinking friends get MacCallans while my scotch-drinking friends get Knockando, for example.
As I know next to nothing about cognac and brandy I have no standard of reference. Is there a brandy equivalent of Bacardi or Beefeaters? The El Presidente seemed nice enough. Is there a cognac that's good on it's own but not "too good" to be put in a cocktail?