Classic Sidecar

classic sidecar cocktail served in a martini glass
The Sidecar is one of our favorite classic cocktails. Reportedly invented in 1920’s Paris, it’s one of the most enticing cocktails that comes to mind as summer turns to fall. It has the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and the cognac on which it’s based seems quite appropriate as the weather cools off.

The classic Sidecar recipe is simply equal parts brandy or cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice. People have experimented with different proportions over time, but in our opinion, the best way to make it is to find a favorite cognac and orange liqueur and stick with the traditional recipe.

We’ve been making ours with Germain-Robin, a small-batch brandy from California. It’s made in an antique cognac still and aged in oak in Ukiah, CA. Dudognon Reserve Cognac also works beautifully. For orange liqueur, we recommend sticking with Cointreau. Grand Marnier is fine, but it has cognac in it, meaning you’ll be doubling down on the cognac flavor if you opt for it.

juicing lemons for a classic sidecar recipe by The Taste SF
We only use fresh lemon juice. We use one of these to juice limes and lemons, and strain it for a more refined presentation. If you choose to sugar the rim, use a squeezed lemon to wet the rim and let the sugar harden for 10-15 minutes before serving. If you don’t sugar the rim, try garnishing with an orange or lemon zest!

serving sidecars cocktails from a tray with a twist of lemon
We like to serve ours in these William Yeoward glasses. We also would suggest using glasses like these, these, or these.


Classic Sidecar
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Ingredients
  • 2 oz brandy or cognac
  • 2 oz orange liqueur
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained
  • sugar
Instructions
  1. Add the cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice to a shaker.
  2. Top with crushed ice and shake vigorously until it's extremely cold.
  3. Strain into cocktail glasses and serve.
  4. Optional: sugar the rim of two cocktail glasses by rubbing around the rim with a squeezed lemon and dipping the rim in sugar. Let sit (ideally in freezer) for 10-15 minutes.

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