Cocktails and Dreams: The Sidecar


Last fall I found myself in the bar on the first floor of a hotel in lower Manhattan.  It was like stepping into a time machine.  Uniformed doormen, an elevator operator, and a plush, poorly lit lounge.  It was mid-afternoon and warm outside, and I decided to deviate from my typical whiskey based cocktail order.  I desired something simple, yet significant.  I noticed The Sidecar on the menu; a classic cocktail I had never had the pleasure of enjoying.  The Sidecar is a smooth, clean and refreshing cocktail that I could have sat in that old bar and nursed for the rest of the day. Other adventures awaited, but the memory of The Sidecar remained.

Like most cocktails, the origin story is disputed.  There are a variety of fantastic takes, including one that claims The Sidecar was invented in post-World War 1 Paris, where an American who enjoyed riding in motorcycle sidecars concocted the drink at his favorite haunt.

The apparently true origin story is less interesting.  The Sidecar is said to be invented in New Orleans in the 19th century (as “Sidecar” is a term for leftover liquor poured in shot glasses).  Regardless, The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims to have created the drink and Paris is where The Sidecar grew in popularity in the 1920s.  Given the amount of American ex-patriots in Paris in the 1920s, it would not be a surprise if Louisiana natives brought The Sidecar to their new home.

1 1/2 oz cognac
1 oz Cointreau® orange liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice

Take a lemon wedge, notch a slice into the middle and use it to moisten the rim of a chilled cocktail glass. Frost the moistened outer rim of the glass with superfine sugar. Shake ingredients together with cracked ice and strain into prepared cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist, and serve.

Joseph SotkiewiczFTD, NTD, LifeComment