Looking to add the Sidecar, the Vieux Carre, and a few others to my rotation, and so it's time to make a cognac purchase. I don't quite know how. Any recommendations in the $30-40 range? Poking around the internet I've found that those who review this stuff can't imagine mixing it with anything, except for coke, which is unfortunate, as I'm interested know what works well in actual cocktails. Not much of a sipper.
I agree with Mr. Yarm. I really like the Ferrand and Landy, but a disclaimer, I know the folks there.
By the way, the Vieux Carre may just be one of the best cocktails ever created. The secret is not to go to heavy on the Benedictine, but use a decent amount of both the bitters. Two full solid dashes of each.
Also, according to Alain Royer at a Cognac blending seminar I attended, most VS and VSOP in France is drank with Coca Cola. And rap stars and other celebrities with a bit of coin have even influenced people into mixing better Cognacs with Coke as well.
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Another thing is that Spanish Fundador brandies are great for a lot of drinks (many recipes call for brandy and not specifically Cognacs). These brandies are rather flavorful and well made (not as dry and stark as Cognacs) and run about $17-20. The one we have at home is the Pedro Domecq Fundador Solera Reserva and works great for mixing.
I was out of Hennessy, so I recently made a brace of French 75s with gin (both are perfectly acceptable) and it was outstanding. I'm really looking forward to making them with brandy or cognac once I replenish...