The Sidecar Cocktail Recipe

Posted in Bourbon on March 7, 2014

Sidecar Cocktail

The Sidecar is a classic cocktail that you should try at least once. It belongs to the Sour cocktails family and it used to be very popular. However, its exact history is a matter of debate in the world of mixology. David Embury, who wrote “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks”, claims that the drink was invented by a friend of his in London during the First World War. It got the name because the inventor has actually reached the bar in the sidecar of a motorcycle. However, the Ritz Hotel in Paris also claims the invention of this cocktail and attributes it to Frank Meyer. To make things even more complicated, Henry MacElhone, the author of “Henry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails”, states that the cocktail was invented by Pat MacGarry, a famous bartender of those days.

It is basically impossible to shed some light over the history of the Sidecar. You are free to believe any version. What’s more important than the history of the cocktail is the fact that it is nowadays recognized as a sour classic drink.

This cocktail was originally made with cognac, but nowadays it is also common to use bourbon. Another modern addition to the drink is the sugar rimmed glass. This looks very elegant and also balances the sourness of the cocktail. It is very important for all the ingredients in the Sidecar to be balanced in order for the drink to be sweet and sour. If you play with the proportions, you might obtain a too sweet or too sour drink. Otherwise said, when it comes to this cocktail, it is best to stick to the recipe.

How to Prepare the Sidecar

You need the following ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. of bourbon.
  • 1 oz. of triple sec.
  • ½ oz. of lemon juice.
  • A lemon twist for garnish.
  • Sugar for rimming the glass.

You don’t necessarily have to rim the glass with sugar, but it is nice to do so. Just rub the rim with a lemon slice and dip it into sugar. Then put the cognac, the triple sec and the lemon juice in a shaker with ice and shake them well. Strain the drink in the cocktail glass and garnish with the lemon twist.

You can also prepare the recipe with cognac instead of bourbon if you want to be historically accurate.

This cocktail served as inspiration for numerous other cocktails over the time: the Boston Sidecar which is made with rum and brandy, the Rum Sidecar, the Balalaika which is made with vodka instead of cognac or the Chelsea Sidecar which is made with gin.



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