The Sidecar

The Sidecar is one of the most classic of classic cocktails, perhaps second only to the Martini. While there are a number of conflicting origin stories for the drink (as is the case with many drinks, especially the older ones) general consensus places its invention around the year 1920. Like many cocktails that have stood the test of time, the recipe is simple consisting of brandy, triple sec, and lemon juice.

Some recipes call specifically for Cointreau, a top-shelf brand of triple sec that is less sweet and more complex than other brands, and Cognac. Cognac is brandy that (similar to Champagne) comes from the Cognac region of France and meets certain criteria imposed by the French government. For boozehounds that aren’t in a position to pay $30 per bottle of spirits though, regular brandy and triple sec will do just fine. As with any other cocktail though, fresh squeezed lemon juice is always preferable to bottled. Some bars will, for simplicity’s sake, use a pre-prepared sours mix in the place of lemon juice, but this will result in a sweeter drink and should be avoided whenever possible.

There are two widely accepted ratios for mixing a Sidecar. The first yields a stronger cocktail and is particularly desirable when using a higher-quality brandy.

2 1/2 oz Brandy

1 oz Triple Sec

1 oz Lemon Juice

The second is sometimes referred to as preparing a Sidecar in “the French school,” though we have affectionately dubbed it the Murphy Sidecar.

1 oz Brandy

1 oz Triple Sec

1 oz Lemon Juice

For either ratio, pour all ingredients into a shaker half full with ice and shake. A Sidecar can be served “up” in a cocktail glass, or on the rocks.

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