For me, the quintessential brandy cocktail is the Sidecar. Dating back to the 1920s, there are two schools of thought about the correct proportions for the cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. The original drink was made with equal parts of each ingredient (1:1:1), in what is known as the "French School" style. I prefer the "English School" variation, which appears in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930). This version uses a 2:1:1 ratio -- two parts cognac and 1 part each of the Cointreau and lemon juice. Some recipes call for sugar along the rim of the glass. Please don't do that.
As modified in the Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930
- 1.5 oz. Cognac (Pierre Ferrand or Léopold Gourmel work well)
- .75 oz. Cointreau*
- .75 oz. lemon juice
Pour all three ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe. No garnish.
*For a drier cocktail, use Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao