How To Make A Sidecar

Learn how to make a sidecar and add a little Hemingway mystique to your next soirée. While the exact origins of this Prohibition favorite are unknown, legend has it that it was created in Paris in 1920, and the original recipe first appeared in 1922 in Robert Vermeire’s “Cocktails: How To Mix Them.” Hemingway helped to make the sidecar famous when he chose it as his signature drink, and today, Bar Hemingway at the Ritz Paris Hotel pays tribute with the Ritz sidecar, thought to be the world’s most expensive cocktail at 700 Euros. In recent years, the sidecar has been rediscovered, landing on Entertainment Weekly’s “IT” list in 2002 and turning up as the Epicurious Cocktail of the Month in 2005.  As easy to mix as it is to drink, the sidecar will make a sophisticated addition to your repertoire.

To make a sidecar, you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 1/2 ounces Cognac or brandy
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup ice
  • A cocktail shaker
  • A strainer
  • A small plate
  • A martini or coupe glass (chilled)
  1. Assemble the ingredients to make your sidecar. When choosing cognac, keep in mind that it’s essentially the same liqueur as brandy, but it’s made in the Cognac region of France. Either will work equally well to make a sidecar as long as you buy a moderately priced brand. While there are several popular orange liqueurs on the market, you’ll taste the difference, and Cointreau is generally preferred by bartenders making a sidecar. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Bottled juice or sour mix will have a negative effect on the taste of your sidecar. 
  2. Before you make a sidecar, prepare the glass. On small plate, dump 2 Tablespoons of superfine sugar and spread it out. Take a chilled martini glass or a coupe glass and rub a lemon wedge around the rim. In a “straight down” motion, dip the glass into the sugar, leaving a light coat on the outside rim. Set it aside.
  3. Combine the ingredients to make your sidecar. In a cocktail shaker, add 1 ½ ounces of Cognac, 1 ounce of orange liqueur, ½ ounce of lemon juice, and 1 cup of ice. Place the lid on the shaker and vigorously shake the sidecar mixture for about 30 seconds, until it is well chilled. Strain the drink into your prepared glass and serve your sidecar cold.
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