Classic Sidecar

The Sidecar is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time, beloved for its perfect balance of sour and sweet flavors. It is a simple yet elegant drink, traditionally made with cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. Here’s a detailed description of how to craft this timeless cocktail:


  • 2 oz (60 ml) Cognac
  • 1 oz (30 ml) Orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or triple sec)
  • 3/4 oz (22 ml) Fresh lemon juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: Orange twist or a sugar rim (optional)


  1. Prepare the Glass: If you’re adding a sugar rim, start by moistening the rim of a cocktail glass with a lemon wedge. Dip the rim into sugar, rotating it until evenly coated. Set aside.
  2. Mix the Drink: In a shaker, combine the cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with ice, ensuring there’s enough ice to chill the mixture thoroughly.
  3. Shake: Secure the lid on the shaker and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. The goal is to chill the mixture quickly while slightly diluting it with the melting ice, which rounds out the flavors.
  4. Strain and Serve: Strain the cocktail into the prepared glass. The fine strain is optional but recommended if you prefer to remove any small ice shards or pulp from the lemon juice.
  5. Garnish: Add a twist of orange peel over the drink to express its oils, then drop it into the drink or perch it on the rim of the glass as a garnish. Alternatively, if you’ve chosen a sugar rim, the garnish adds a decorative touch and a hint of aroma.

The Sidecar is a drink that embodies the sophistication of early 20th-century cocktail culture. Its origin is often disputed between Paris and London, but its popularity soared in the post-World War I era. The cocktail’s name is rumored to have come from a frequent patron who arrived at a Parisian bistro in a motorcycle sidecar, though this charming tale is part of cocktail folklore.

What sets the Sidecar apart is its ability to showcase the cognac’s warmth and depth, balanced by the citrus tang of the lemon and the subtle sweetness of the orange liqueur. It’s a cocktail that offers a harmonious blend of flavors, making it a perennial favorite among connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike. Whether served with a sugared rim for an added layer of sweetness or presented in its simplest form, the Sidecar remains a distinguished choice for a refined drinking experience.

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