I like to keep a fairly inexpensive bottle of a drinkable cognac or cognac style brandy just for cooking; but I use it frequently so it's worthwhile for me to save money on the cooking cognac -- especially if the alcohol is flamed or boiled off.
Raynal (French,available at Trader Joe's), E&J XO (Californian, widely available) and Paul Masson XO (also Californian and widely available) are each less than $15 a bottle and cook extremely well.
Hope this helps,
We use Paul Masson XO at the club for anything calling for cognac or brandy. Since your recipe is an au poivre style I suggest using it because the result is pretty great. We make an au poivre strip with it and it always comes out nice. Hope this helps and congrats on graduating from culinary school!
It is the same as for cooking with wine - the better and higher quality alcohol you have, the better that food will be. Drinking principle - never drink shitty stuff, as well as never cook with it.
But when we are talking about COGNAC, it never can be shit, because COGNAC is the best brandy in the world! It is brandy made only in Cognac Area in France...so probably you want to talk about brandy....and in this case my first sentnence takes effect..:)