Classic Cocktails: The Sidecar – Cognac

Bearing the endearing IBA description “an all day cocktail” the sidecar is indeed named after the motorcycle sidecar, a familiar sight during World Wars I and II. The drink was supposedly invented at the Ritz Hotel in Paris and was made with equal parts Cointreau, cognac and lemon juice. The Savoy Cocktail Book specifies an English version, made with two parts cognac and one part each of Triple Sec and lemon juice. That’s the version espoused by the IBA, but as usual with the French and English, the argument continues.

5 cL cognac

2 cL Triple Sec

2 cL fresh lemon juice.

Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

Amy Eldredge, Under Current

“If I were waterboarded, I would have to say my favorite cocktail is the classic sidecar:

.5 oz. lemon juice

1 oz. Cointreau

1.5 oz. Cognac

(The Cosmo and the Margarita are “sidecars” in terms of measurement, swapping out the base spirit for vodka and tequila, lime for lemon, and in the Cosmo adding a splash of cranberry; for a margarita, a splash of agave.) 

“So, the ratio is 1/2 oz. citrus, 1 oz. modifier, and 1.5 oz. spirit (one of the only classic cocktail-true recipes allowed in Utah in terms of spirit allotment.) That’s what I like to play with. I mix it up with all kinds of modifiers in place of Cointreau, different base spirits, etc. St. Germaine Margarita, Batavia Arrack in place of Cointreau in a classic sidecar, Mezcal/Blanco Tequila Margaritas with Dry Curacao.” 

See the other Classic Cocktails:

The Rob Roy – ScotchThe Daiquiri – RumThe Bloody Mary – VodkaThe Old Fashioned – BourbonThe Margarita – TequilaThe Martini – Gin

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Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf
Mary Brown Malouf is the late Executive Editor of Salt Lake magazine and Utah's expert on local food and dining. She still does not, however, know how to make a decent cup of coffee.

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