The first time I tried cognac the bottom of my mouth went completely numb.
It was late in the evening. I was working [drinking] with a batch of nearly newly minted consultants from around the world at our company's training camp [not a joke]. One of these people was from France. He loved cognac and wanted me to love it too.
I did not.
Until that point I had been cognac free and after that point, I decided, I would remain cognac free.
But then a few years passed.
And the other, more terrible tasting spirits I'd experimented with [grappa] burned off enough taste buds that by the time I accidentally tried cognac again I liked it. A lot.
Not as much as a spring-breaker loves tequila and "gettin' lit" [is that what the young kids call it?], but it was far better than I remembered.
Imagine bourbon didn't taste like licking a charred oak barrel [a fantasy of mine], add the subtlety of good wine, and you'll have cognac.
Add Cointreau and fresh lemon juice, and you’ll have a Sidecar.
2 oz good cognac
Don't waste XO in a cocktail, but use decent cognac. Anything mentioned in a rap song is fine.
3/4 oz Cointreau
Some people prefer Grand Marnier.
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Do NOT buy the pre squeezed stuff
Extra Credit: Fill your cocktail glass with ice and then fill with water. Alternatively, chill the cocktail glass in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
More Extra Credit: Your cocktail glassware should hold 4-6oz and no more. Any bigger and you look like you're serving drinks at Applebee's [not a dig; I love me some Applebee’s]. Your drinks should also be 3-4oz including dilution. Any bigger and they'll get too warm before you finish.
Add all ingredients to a mixing tin or pintglass full of ice. Any container will do. Get something clean that'll hold liquid and put all the ingredients in there. This isn't rocket science.
Stir for at least 30-60 seconds. Use this time to chat up your dinner guest(s).
Yes, you can shake the drink, and some idiots will tell you that you HAVE to because it has citrus [you don't, that's why they're idiots], but shaking drinks can make them cloudy, and cloudy drinks are unsexy.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass [remember the extra credit from above?].