All About Sidecar

Everything you need to know about the refreshing Sidecar cocktail
April 18, 2022
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sidecar
Sidecar is one of the most famous classic cocktails worldwide | © Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Nothing screams élan like a bright, boozy, and refreshing glass of Sidecar cocktail. It is one of the most famous cognac-based classic cocktails, and it comes with a fabulous history package.

Despite its widespread popularity, Sidecar’s origins are unknown. However, it seemed to have originated in Paris. The alcoholic brew has been in circulation for a century, making it a quintessential brandy cocktail and part of the 1920s Parisian culture. 

This classic 3-ingredient concoction, featuring triple sec orange liqueur and lemon juice, paints the picture of the to-go template for craft bars that have creative twists at their core.

History

The cocktail was most likely created around the time of World War I. But when it comes to the Sidecar’s roots, the doubt arises. 

Sidecar is thought to have been invented in the 1920s. French and English pubs both claim to have designed the drink for a customer who arrived on the sidecar of a motorcycle. Now the name is kind of self-explanatory, isn’t it? 

According to Dale DeGroff, an American cocktail expert, the Sidecar cocktail is a newer version of an old drink known as the Brandy Crusta.

sidecar cocktail
© @croccasspirits / Instagram

Hall of Fame

In 1922, the cocktail was featured on the pages of two books: Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails by Harry MacElhone and Robert Vermeire’s Cocktails and How to Mix Them.

Sidecar was the star of the film Bonfire of the Vanities. In the movie, Alan King’s character, Arthur Ruskin, is not allowed to touch alcohol. Not because of some chronic disease, but because his wife forbids him from doing so. 

But nobody can resist the temptation of a Sidecar – therefore, Arthur breaks the rules and orders the boozy brew in her absence.

The Bonfire of the Vanities Arthur Ruskin Death Scene HD | © Shermer High School / YouTube

What’s in it

Making a classic Sidecar takes less time than you might think. Only a few ingredients are required to create this enchanting and tasty beauty. 

The only essential thing to keep in mind is the quality of the cognac, as the overall taste is mainly influenced by the eaux de vie element. 

The main components are:

2 ounces Cognac (VS or VSOP) 
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce lemon juice
A twist of lemon or orange peel for the garnish

The average Sidecar has approximately 26% ABV, which is comparable to the Martini and Manhattan classics.

How it’s served

If you like your cocktail to slither down without the ice-y obstacles, then Sidecar should be your go-to pick. This alcoholic beverage can be relished for its pure essence, without the clinking ice cubes.

A Sidecar is usually served in a coupe, cocktail, or martini glass. Don’t forget that the lemon garnish is anything but negotiable.

But the most important distinguishing factor is the glittering crown of sugar crust that rims the glass, which adds a dash of sweetness to the drink.

sidecar recipe
© @thedrunkenculinarian / Instagram

Variants

No matter what your alcoholic preferences are, you can quench your thirst with a Sidecar variation suiting your taste. This cocktail is ripe and ready for reinterpretation.

Whisky lovers can relish in the Bourbon Sidecar, featuring a blend of bourbon, triple sec, and fresh lemon juice. This combination gives the drink some whisky notes instead of the original Sidecar’s floral cognac flavour.

Another variation is the Rum Sidecar. A mixture of lemon juice and orange liqueur with a base of aged rum Agricole sounds dandy and tastes delish. This cocktail offers rum fans what they are looking for.

sidecar cocktail Variants
© @sasquathbar / Instagram

Do it yourself

Enjoying a refreshing Sidebar from the comfort of your home is easier than you think.

To fully appreciate the cocktail’s tangy appeal, all you have to do is run a lemon around the edge of a glass, and then rim it into a plate of superfine sugar. This is essential to balance the cocktail’s sourness.

Then add all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Finally, pour the drink into the glass. Once done, garnish the cocktail with a lemon or orange twist. Voilà!

Sidecar Cocktail Recipe | © Steve the Bartender / YouTube

Featuring an unique, sour taste that puts its aged-spirit cognac into the spotlight, the Sidecar never fails to put you in a better mood. As a perennial classic, you will never go wrong with it on any occasion.

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