The English-speaking world has preferred whisky over brandy in its cocktails for more than a century, and can probably be counted on to continue that preference for a century more. But give a brandy cocktail like the sidecar a chance for just one night, savvy cocktail drinkers know, and you could be hooked for an eternity.
While brandy cocktails are relatively rare in our time and country, they are a treat. So treat yourself to the ones below. They’re especially enjoyable when we employ the eponymous, famous, luxurious brandies of a little place known as Cognac.
Which cognac should you use in cocktails? The old-guard brandy houses are getting in on the cocktail craze by creating some relatively new brands such as Hennessy Black and Courvoisier Exclusif that are relatively affordable, approachably sweet and designed to work well when mixed. They do. Meanwhile, if you’re willing to spend around $125 a bottle, the soft, juicy and brand new Rémy Martin Coeur de Cognac is a delicious choice.
Some recipes use more brandy and/or employ Grand Marnier in place of Cointreau, but the original, classic 1920s Parisian recipe carries itself with superior grace and balance, allowing the citrus to hold its own against the woody flavours of the cognac.
– 1 oz Cognac
– 1 oz Cointreau
– 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Method Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Optional flourishes: 1. Use a fine strainer to remove pulp from lemon juice; 2. Rim glass with powdered sugar.
This is my own adaptation of a drink invented by Sean Muldoon of The Merchant Hotel of Belfast. It marries whiskey, familiar to English Canadians, with Cognac, which is somewhat more familiar to francophones. In this case, the union is always happy.
– 1 oz Irish whiskey (ideally Writers Tears, Redbreast or Green Spot)
– 1 oz cognac
– ½ oz blackberry liqueur if you can find it; crème de cassis if not
– ¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
– ¼ oz simple syrup
– ¼ tsp absinthe, or pastis
Method Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and pour into a rocks glass with ice.
In its most basic form, it’s a Cognac Manhattan. Some people add other twists, including a splash of carbonation.
– 2 oz. Cognac
– 1 oz. sweet vermouth
– 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
– optional: splash of soda water to top up
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.
Source: National Post