Sidecar

sidecar cocktail

The Sidecar is a timeless cocktail blending cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, striking a balance between sweet and sour notes. Believed to have evolved from the Brandy Crusta, the drink’s origins are debated, with claims of invention in Paris and even London in the aftermath of World War I.

The Sidecar, a classic concoction of cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice, strikes a balance between sour and sweet flavours. Its origin remains a subject of debate, with claims suggesting it was crafted in either Paris or London. The ongoing dispute also extends to the question of whether a sugared rim enhances the drink or constitutes sacrilege, with passionate advocates on both sides.

Debates over the optimal ratio of one or two parts cognac only make the discussion around the Sidecar spicier. However, cocktail historians find common ground, pointing to the post-World War I era as the birthplace of the first Sidecar. In essence, enthusiasts have been savouring the timeless Sidecar for a considerable period of time.

sidecar cocktail

The drink probably transitioned from a closely related and equally delightful cocktail known as the Brandy Crusta. The maestro behind this concoction, Joseph Santini, crafted it at his esteemed New Orleans establishment, the Jewel of the South, during the mid-1800s.

Comprising brandy, maraschino liqueur, fresh lemon juice, curaçao, and bitters, the Brandy Crusta features a rim generously coated with sugar, a practice adopted by some Sidecar enthusiasts. The exact trajectory of the recipe's journey across the Atlantic remains a mystery. It was potentially introduced by American bartenders seeking refuge from Prohibition in the United States.

In 1922, Harry McElhone, the innovative bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, is credited with crafting the original Sidecar, according to some accounts. McElhone claimed this achievement in his 1922 bartending guide, Harry’s ABCs of Mixing Cocktails. Alternatively, there are reports that Frank Meier of the Ritz Paris's renowned Hemingway Bar shook up the inaugural Sidecar in 1923. Adding a layer of complexity, an earlier edition of McElhone's book from 1919 attributes the invention of the drink to Pat MacGarry, the bartender at Buck's Club in London.

All three individuals were known for crafting a notable version of the drink, but a key distinction exists: McElhone and MacGarry's rendition involves equal parts cognac, lemon, and orange liqueur, whereas in Meier's version, the ratio of lemon, orange liqueur, and cognac is 1:1:2. Initially, these early recipes did not include a sugared rim, but the sweet addition became a standard feature in Sidecar preparations during the 1930s.

sidecar cocktail

David A. Embury’s entry in his 1948 book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, gives a somewhat clear picture of the history behind the drink’s nomenclature. Embury wrote that the drink’s unique name was “invented by a friend of mine at a bar in Paris during World War I and was named after the motorcycle sidecar in which the good captain customarily was driven to and from the little bistro where the drink was born and christened.” The “little bistro” mentioned in the excerpt is widely considered to be Harry’s New York Bar.

Ingredients

  • Cognac - 45 ml
  • ingredients-0
  • Orange liqueur - 10 ml
  • ingredients-1
  • Lemon juice - 10ml
     
  • ingredients-2

Method

Coat the rim of a coupe glass with sugar, if desired, and set aside.

Add the cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into the prepared glass.

Garnish with an orange twist.

Sidecar

Mixologist: Ashifa Bano

Ingredients

Method

Coat the rim of a coupe glass with sugar, if desired, and set aside.

Add the cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into the prepared glass.

Garnish with an orange twist.

COPYRIGHT © 2023 DIAGEOPlease do not share with anyone under the legal purchase age for alcohol. Drink Responsibly.
Sidecar