Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cocktail Wednesdays: Sidecar


We've been hearing the name "Sidecar" for a while as a drink that is constantly listed as being popular during Prohibition, but it apparently came out of World War I, in either London or Paris, depending on whose story you believe.

Once again, we had a guest join us, but this guest is a friend who normally drinks Irish whiskey on the rocks, so no need to search for fruity drinks. We decided to try the Sidecar. However, we found that the Sidecar was surprisingly fruity. More fruity, I think, than the last one, even though it contained no fruit juice.

Shake well with cracked ice:
1 1/2 oz cognac
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz lemon juice

Strain into chilled cocktail glass that has had its outside rim rubbed with lemon juice and dipped in sugar.

You may note that we used Grand Marnier, not Cointreau, but they are basically the same -- except that Cointreau uses a sugar beet alcohol where Grand Marnier uses brandy -- and Scott prefers Grand Marnier, so that is what we have at our house. These are both technically types of triple sec, but the stuff at the liquor store labeled "triple sec" typically has a lower ABV. We also used a brandy that is not from the cognac region, so it can't be called "cognac". Similar to champagne, scotch, or bourbon, cognac must be made in a certain region, and it has other limitations regarding how it is distilled and aged. Otherwise, it is a member of the brandy family, so we didn't feel that this cocktail would suffer too much from the switch.

You may also note that the drink pictured is not in a cocktail (Martini) glass. That is because I broke all three of our cocktail glasses while chilling them. You see, I sugared the rims, then put them in the freezer to chill. In order to fit them in the freezer without disrupting the rims, I had to stand them up in the door. I thought that if I was extra careful, they would be ok. Of course, when I went to put something else in the freezer, I totally forgot about the glasses, casually opened the door, and out they tumbled. Crash! Smash! Shatter!

So, wine glassed it is. This time, I put them on their sides on the shelf to chill, and Scott sugared the rims afterward, just before serving.

The verdict: our guest thought it was surprisingly similar to a margarita. It did have an unexpected fruity tropical flair, and a margarita does have triple sec. Scott and I thought it was more of a twist on the Grand Marnier; a bit more sour. Surprisingly perhaps, since there are two parts brandy, it didn't speak up as much. Personally, I felt that I could sip on this longer than on a Grand Marnier because the sour edge and the brandy make it less cloying.


  1. Oh no! I have started picking up martini glasses anytime I find them on sale, because so many of ours have been broken. I blame it on the shape. :)

  2. Our glasses all come from sales or garage sales, too. It's just annoying... and embarrassing.