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A sidebar, on The Sidecar

Jun 26th 2013



As most origins of cocktails go, there are a few versions of how the Sidecar came into being. One story, as told by David Embury in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948), says that it was developed in a Parisian bistro during World War I by a friend who rode to the favorite bar in the sidecar of a motorcycle. Which bar this was is left to speculation, but is popularly thought to be Harry's New York Bar. Another claim to the Sidecar invention attributes Frank Meier who worked at the Paris Ritz. As Gaz Regan pointed out in The Joy of Mixology, this was later disputed by a man named Bertin who worked at the Ritz after Meier.

Whichever theory is correct will remain a matter of debate and opinion. One thing that is agreed upon is that the Sidecar is a classic sour drink. Sours were quite popular during the golden age of cocktails in the early 1900's and were a simple mix of base spirit, sour (primarily lemon), and a touch of sweetness. Other great sour drinks came about at the same time, i.e. Brandy Daisy, Whiskey Sour, Margarita. Beyond that, the Sidecar has influenced many other cocktails which include Boston Sidecar, Pisco Sidecar, Rum Sidecar, Chelsea Sidecar (Delilah or White Lady), and Balalaika (vodka in place of brandy). A classic addition to the Sidecar, which was mentioned in recipes from the early 1930's, was to rim the glass with sugar. This is a nice contrast to the sour drink.

• 1 1/2 oz Cognac or Armagnac, or bourbon
• 1 oz Cointreau or triple sec orange liqueur
• 1/2 oz lemon juice
• Lemon twist for garnish
• Sugar for rimming (optional)

1. If desired, rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar.
2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
3. Shake well.
4. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass.
5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

While we don't see these as often in today's cocktail lists it was a classic cocktail during the 60's and I am sure the rat pack crowd were fans. Enjoy!~