Sidecar Cocktail


Sidecar Cocktail
1/4 Lemon Juice. (1/2 oz Lemon Juice)
1/4 Cointreau. (1/2 oz Cointreau)
1/2 Brandy. (1 oz Germain-Robin Fine Alambic Brandy)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

In his book, “Cocktails: How to Mix Them,” Robert Vermeire notes, “This cocktail is very popular in France. It was first introduced in London by MacGarry, the celebrated bar-tender of Buck’s Club.”

There are numerous stories about who created the Sidecar, as far as I know none have been truly substantiated. It is also a cocktail which has evolved significantly over the years.

The earliest versions of the recipe are equal parts cocktails, that is 1/3 Cognac, 1/3 Lemon, 1/3 Cointreau. In the Savoy Cocktail Book, we see that evolve to two parts Cognac to 1 part each of Lemon and Cointreau. In the 1940s, David Embury would further dry it out, proposing a ratio of 8 parts booze, 2 parts lemon, and 1 part Cointreau. Modern drink mixers often go with something like 4 parts booze, 1 part Lemon, and 1 part Cointreau.

Personally, I like the Savoy version, it’s nicely light and tart. Though I tend to like just a touch more Cointreau than lemon.

The Sidecar is a great gateway cocktail and a good test of a bar or bartender. Do they use fresh juice or sour mix? Is the cocktail balanced? Too sweet? Too sour?

Hint: If you’re using Sour Mix, for some inexplicable reason, reduce or eliminate the Cointreau.

The Sidecar Cocktail often sports a sugar rim. I’m kind of unclear why or whom started that treatment, as none of the earliest sources for the recipe are frosted with sugar. I don’t really see the need, as the cocktail should be well balanced without it. Maybe, if you are making a particularly dry and Embury-esque version of the drink, I could see it. Otherwise, skip the sticky sugar rim.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.