Mixology 101: Sidecar

sidecar

The Sidecar is a classic cocktail traditionally made with Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. It is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s classic (The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks). The exact origin of the Sidecar is unclear, but it was created around the end of World War I in either London or Paris. It is a variation on the older Brandy Daisy (brandy, yellow Chartreuse, and lemon juice). The first recipes for the Sidecar appear in 1922, in both Harry MacElhone’s Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails and Robert Vermeire’s Cocktails and How to Mix Them. In early editions of MacElhone’s book, he cites the inventor as Pat MacGarry, “the Popular bar-tender at Buck’s Club, London”, but in later editions he cites himself. Vermiere states, “This cocktail is very popular in France. It was first introduced in London by MacGarry, the celebrated bar-tender of Buck’s Club.” David A. Embury (The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, 1948) credits the invention of the drink to an American Army captain in Paris during World War I “and named after the motorcycle sidecar in which the good captain was driven to and from the little bistro where the drink was born and christened”.

Both MacElhone and Vermiere state the recipe as equal parts Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice, now known as “the French school”. Later, an “English school” of Sidecars emerged, as found in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which call for two Cognac and one each Cointreau and lemon juice . According to Embury, the original Sidecar had several more ingredients, which were “refined away”. Embury also states the drink is simply a Daiquiri with brandy as its base rather than rum, and with Cointreau as the sweetening agent rather than sugar syrup. He recommends the same proportions (8:2:1) for both, making a much less-sweet Sidecar. Recently, however, the trend is to use a higher dose of sweetener of about 3:1:1. Although the Cointreau is overpowering the taste of the Congac.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Congac
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon or Lime Juice

Add to the shaker the ice and the ingredients. Since you are using the lime juice the final cocktail will be cloudy so shaking vigorously will not hurt the final product. So shake it!!!  This is not a very know cocktail so only a few variations are made and all include basically different Congacs and different sweeteners such is the Triple Sec. Exception is the Boston Sidecar. Which uses some rum in addition to the Congac.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Light Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Brandy
  • 1/2 oz. Triple sec
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon or Lime Juice

Photograph  from http://www.peasprout.com/

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Last modified: July 2, 2013 by Georgios Pyrgiotakis