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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sidecar: the perfect cocktail to end a bumpy day

I was flipping through the Savoy Cocktail Book the other day when I noticed another well known cocktail that I had never tried: the Sidecar. The Sidecar is another venerable World War I era cocktail that sounds like something your dad would order. Everyone has heard of it, but few have tried it. Its popularity has declined enough that it’s no longer on the IBA short-list of cocktails. Its name seems to imply a good, stiff drink… exactly what you would need after bouncing down an unpaved road in France in a rickety motorcycle sidecar. No one knows precisely where or when it was invented; it is first mentioned in print in 1922.

The Sidecar owes its longevity to simplicity and great taste. Its winning combination of cognac (or brandy), orange liqueur, and lemon could be just what you are looking for in a cocktail. Of course, if your taste runs to American whiskeys, you can substitute your favorite Bourbon for the brandy. Play around with the proportions until you get the right balance of sweet and sour for your palate. If your first one’s too sour, add a little simple syrup.


1 ½ oz Cognac or quality brandy (some prefer Bourbon)

¾ oz Grand Marnier®

¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a shaker ¾ full of ice. Shake as you imagine dodging the shells falling all around you. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a wedge of orange or a twist of lemon, and savor your first sip.

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