This Classic Sidecar Cocktail is perfect for any occasion. This easy-to-follow recipe will show you how to make one at home in just a few simple steps. So, gather your ingredients and get ready to mix up a delicious drink!
Can you believe that this classic cognac drink is over a century old? Yet, after all these years, it remains a favorite!
This brandy sour is a dry cocktail. It contains cognac, fresh lemon juice, and orange liqueur and features a sugared rim. The sugared rim is optional; however, this cocktail is sour and not particularly sweet, so the sugared rim is a nice touch.
History of the Sidecar
To help you celebrate in Gatsby's style just like they did in the 1920s, I present the Sidecar, an iconic drink of the era that had its debut during the Prohibition period.
There are many exciting stories about how the drink came about and how it got its name. As I researched the background of the original Sidecar in the early days, I enjoyed learning more about the 1920s and the popular libations. This drink likely originated around World War I.
The origin of the Sidecar drink appears to be from Pat McGarry, a bartender at London's Buck Club, in the 1922 edition of Harry McElhone's book Harry's ABC of Mixing Cocktails. This cocktail recipe is also found in "Cocktails and How to Mix Them" by Robert Vermeire.
Both books show the Sidecar with equal parts cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. Later versions changed the ratios to two parts cognac, one part Cointreau, and one part lemon.
An English and French bar both claim to have created the cocktail for a customer who arrived in the sidecar of a motorcycle. However, some say that the Sidecar referred to the mixture left in the shaker after straining and served on the side in a shot glass.
Use quality ingredients for the best results. Otherwise, this traditional recipe will have a harsh flavor.
- Brandy or cognac, which is a type of French brandy - I used VSOP cognac; you can also try a good Armagnac or other types of brandy.
- Triple sec or your favorite orange liqueur - I used Cointreau in this recipe for its combination of dryness and sweetness.
- Citrus juice such as fresh lemon juice.
- Sugar, such as finely ground organic cane sugar for the rim of the glass (optional) or superfine sugar, optional but recommended to balance the sourness.
- Orange twist or lemon twist, optional for garnish
How to make the best classic Sidecar cocktail
Many recipes have different ratios of cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. The recipe I'm sharing is a twist on the French original, which has one ounce of each for one drink.
The sugar lining on the edge of the coupe started appearing in recipes in 1934. The Sidecar is usually served with a sugar rim and is shaken, not stirred.
Here's how to make it:
- Chill your coupe glasses in the fridge after rolling the edges of the glasses in fine sugar if desired
- Prepare your garnish if using a lemon or orange twist
- Add cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
- Shake vigorously for 20 seconds, pour, and enjoy!
You don't have to be an expert in the fine art of mixing drinks to make this classic Sidecar cocktail! Here's what you need:
VSOP means Very Superior Old Pale. VSOP cognacs are made from eaux-de-vie that have been aged for at least four years. The VSOP category has designations such as Old or Reserve. XO means extra old; XO cognacs are made from eaux-de-vie that are at least six years old.
Yes, it is a notable brandy produced in the Armagnac region in Gascony, which is in southwest France.
Triple sec is a liqueur made from the skins of oranges and ranges in alcohol content from 15% to 30%. Cointreau is a proprietary orange liqueur made from sweet and bitter orange skins and has an alcohol content of 40%.
More cocktail recipes
The Best Classic Sidecar Cocktail Recipe with Cognac
- Rub the edge of each coupe glass with lemon before gently rolling the edge in sugar, if desired.½ cup organic cane sugar, Lemon, halved
- Chill the glasses in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- While the glasses are chilling, place a cup of ice in a cocktail shaker.1 cup ice
- Add cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice.3 oz cognac, 2 oz triple sec, 1 oz lemon juice
- Shake vigorously for 10 to 20 seconds and pour it in the chilled coupes or martini glasses. Garnish with a lemon or orange twist if desired.Lemon twist or orange twist
- If you like the contrast of sweetness, add a sugar rim to your coupe glass. If you don't have fine sugar, simply blend the sugar in a food processor.
- Be careful not to get sugar inside the glass, keep it on the outside only. Use a damp cloth to remove any sugar that falls in the glass, and to level the edge of the sugar on the glass to approximately ¼-inch to ½-inch.
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.