The Sidecar was reportedly created in Paris during WWI (more on the history below the recipe) and was generally made with Cognac or Armagnac. Lately though, it is more commonly made with bourbon (Bourbon Sidecar) as opposed to brandy.
Do be careful when varying ratios with this recipe, as it's important to find the balance of sweet and sour. If you would like to make this a touch sweeter, try substituting the Spanish brandy de Jerez for the Cognac.
A classic addition to the Sidecar, which was mentioned in recipes from the early 1930's, was to rim the glass with sugar. This is a nice contrast to the sour drink.
View Video: The Better Sidecar
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 Cocktail
- 1 1/2 ounces Cognac or Armagnac, or bourbon
- 1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec orange liqueur
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- Lemon twist for garnish
- Sugar for rimming (optional)
- If desired, rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar.
- Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
- Shake well.
- Strain into the prepared cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a lemon twist.
The History of the Sidecar:
As most origins of cocktails go, there are a few versions of how the Sidecar came into being. One story, as told by David Embury in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948), says that it was developed in a Parisian bistro during World War I by a friend who rode to the favorite bar in the sidecar of a motorcycle. Which bar this was is left to speculation, but it is popularly thought to be Harry's New York Bar.
Another claim to the Sidecar invention attributes Frank Meier who worked at the Paris Ritz. As Gaz Regan pointed out in The Joy of Mixology, this was later disputed by a man named Bertin who worked at the Ritz after Meier.
The next story moves to Buck's Club in London. In his 1922 book, Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails, Harry MacElhone credits the drink to Pat MacGarry, one of the great bartenders of the day. This was also backed up in Robert Vermeire's 1922 Cocktails and How to Mix Them.
Whichever theory is correct will remain a matter of debate and opinion. One thing that is agreed upon is that the Sidecar is a classic sour drink. Sours were quite popular during the golden age of cocktails in the early 1900's and were a simple mix of base spirit, sour (primarily lemon), and a touch of sweetness. Other great sour drinks came about at the same time, i.e. Brandy Daisy, Whiskey Sour, Margarita. Beyond that, the Sidecar has influenced many other cocktails which include Boston Sidecar, Pisco Sidecar, Rum Sidecar, Chelsea Sidecar (Delilah or White Lady), and Balalaika (vodka in place of brandy).