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Sidecar Cocktail

The Sidecar Cocktail is a classic concoction that harkens back to the Roaring Twenties, embodying the spirit and zest of the Jazz Age. Known for its smooth, citrus-kissed flavor profile, this cocktail blends the warmth of cognac with the tang of lemon juice and the sweet complexity of Cointreau or triple sec.

Close view of a coup glass filled with the sidecar cocktail with another glass in back. Both have lemon twists
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Served in a coupe glass, it adds a touch of sophistication. The Sidecar is both a nod to tradition and a timeless choice for connoisseurs seeking a balanced and refined drink. Whether shaken for a solo evening treat or stirred for a gathering of friends, the Sidecar never goes out of style.

What is the Sidecar Cocktail?

The Sidecar Cocktail is a traditional blend, often associated with elegance and sophistication. This classic concoction primarily comprises cognac, lemon juice, and Cointreau. 

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Cognac, the primary spirit in this cocktail, is a type of French brandy hailing from the Cognac region of France, renowned for its deep flavor profile and rich aroma. Famous brands include Rémy Martin. Including Cointreau, a type of orange liqueur, adds an exquisite citrus twist to the drink. It also hails from France and is acclaimed for its perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness. 

The Sidecar cocktail’s origins are steeped in mystery, and the cocktail’s creator remains unknown. However, two popular tales prevail. The first attributes its creation to an unknown bartender at The Ritz hotel in Paris during World War I. 

The second story claims that the Sidecar was created by a bartender named Pat MacGarry at Buck’s Club in London, also around World War I. Despite these conflicting tales, one thing is sure: the Sidecar cocktail has stood the test of time, continuing to delight cocktail fans with its exquisite flavors.

Why the right glass makes a difference

I love having various types of glassware in my collection for cocktails because the glassware sets the mood for the drink. Think about it. Would you feel differently about a martini if it was served in a rock glass? I know I would!

I always try to match the drink with the stemware. And it’s fun to own different glasses! At least, it is for me.

Here are the coupe glasses I use. If you don’t have a coupe, go with the classic martini glass.

Recipe Tips

  • Shaking Duration: The duration of shaking the cocktail is crucial. Over-shaking can dilute the cocktail, while under-shaking can leave the ingredients poorly mixed. Aim for a good 15 seconds to get the perfect blend.
  • Ice Cubes: Use regular-sized ice cubes to avoid excess dilution. Smaller ones melt faster and could make your drink watery.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice. The difference in taste between fresh and bottled juice is noticeable and significantly impacts the cocktail’s quality.
  • Chilled Glasses: Consider pre-chilling your glasses in the freezer for a few minutes before pouring the cocktail. This helps keep your drink cool for a longer duration.

Tips on cutting citrus twists

  • There are a few different ways of cutting twists out of citrus. The most popular way, especially around bartenders and chefs is a channeling knife. It takes a little practice to get the proper pressure to cut uniform strips, but once you get it, you can recreate this citrus twist consistently.
  • If you don’t have a channeling knife, another great way to get an excellent citrus twist is to cut a thin wheel from the fruit. Then, you cut out the flesh and also cut a slice to break the circle.
  • Or you can use a knife to cut/shave into the skin. I don’t like cutting a twist this way because it is hard to control the width, but it will do in a pinch.
  • The easiest way to twist the citrus is to wrap the strip around a thin object like a chop stick. If you don’t have chop sticks in your house, then you can use something else that is thin or even your pinky finger.

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Some people add a sugared rim to their glass, but I urge you to try it without the sugar. I find that most cocktails aren’t enhanced by added sugar. I think it ruins our palate.

a coupe glass filled with an orange cocktail with a lemon twist in as garnish
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make the sidecar cocktail

Pre-step

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and gather the glasses. Cut two lemon twists for the garnish and set aside.

After measuring out each ingredient, pour it into the shaker.

Step one

Gather the ingredients: Cognac, Cointreau, or another orange liqueur like triple sec, and lemon. (A)

Step two

Measure 4 ounces of the cognac. (B)

Left: Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon on a table with glasses. Right: cognac measured out
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step three

Measure 2 ounces of Cointreau. (C)

Step four

Measure 2 ounces fresh lemon juice. Notice the lemon twists in the background. (D)

Cointreau and lemon measured out with the shaker in the back and lemon
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Step five

Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain and divide the sidecar cocktail between the two glasses. Add one lemon twist to each glass.

Two coupe glasses filled with the amber cocktail on a black table
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Let’s look at the vertical view.

vertical view of the glasses with the amber liquid with lemon twists
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

Isn’t that pretty?

It’s time to grab my Ginger Rogers dress, bob my hair, and sip this classic cocktail.

I hope you enjoyed the sidecar cocktail recipe.

Other classic cocktails

And as always, may all your dishes/drinks be delish!

If you’ve tried this recipe, I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

A coupe glass filled with the sidecar cocktail in front of a taller martini glass - square

Sidecar Cocktail

This classic sultry sidecar cocktail will catapult you back in time! It is deliciously balanced and fun and classic drink!
5 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: Cocktails
Keyword: cognac cocktail, sidecar, sidecar cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cocktails
Calories: 224kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cognac
  • 2 ounce Cointreau
  • 2 ounce lemon juice freshly squeezed

Garnish

  • lemon rind twist for garnish

Instructions

  • Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice
  • Add cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice
    4 ounces cognac, 2 ounce Cointreau, 2 ounce lemon juice
  • Cap shaker, shake for 15 seconds
  • Strain liquid in coupe glass (or martini glass)
  • Twist lemon rind and place in drink
    lemon rind twist for garnish
  • Sip
  • Smile
  • Enjoy
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Notes

Tips on cutting citrus twists
  • There are a few different ways of cutting twists out of citrus. The way that is most popular, especially around bartenders and chefs is a channeling knife. It takes a little practice to get the right pressure so you can cut uniform strips, but once you get it, you can recreate this citrus twist consistently.
  • If you don’t have a channeling knife, another great way to get a great citrus twist is to cut a thin wheel from the fruit. Then you cut out the flesh and also cut a slice to break the circle.
  • Or you can use a knife to cut/shave into the skin. I don’t like cutting a twist this way because it is hard to control the width, but it will do in a pinch.
  • The easiest way to twist the citrus is to wrap the strip around a thin object like a chop stick. If you don’t have chop sticks in your house, then you can use something else that is thin or even your pinky finger.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktail | Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Sodium: 3mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin C: 11mg
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Originally posted March of 2016.

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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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18 Comments

  1. I love a good coupe too! I snagged some vintage ones last year and I love them. Glad to have another recipe to put into them. Thanks!

    1. They are such great looking glasses. Hope you blog about it. I’d love to see what you usually make in a coupe!

      Elaine πŸ™‚

  2. I also love my glassware collection and the glass does make the drink. These sultry sidecar cocktails look delicious and very refreshing.

  3. This sidecar cocktail looks like one tasty drink. The lemon is a perfect compliment to the cognac.

  4. Such a refreshing and delicious sidecar cocktail ???? and how much I love that glassware ☺️

  5. What a delicious cocktail, isn’t side car a funny name, I wonder where it comes from… Great tips about twisting the lemon rind, it makes the cocktail so pretty!

    1. Thank you Patty! I know, it is a funny name. I don’t know the history though. I’ll have to look it up.

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