While the exact origins of the Sidecar are unclear, we have it on good authority that it was invented in either London or Paris right around the end of World War I—which doesn't narrow things down all that much.
There is also a less solidly supported (but great-sounding) story that the drink was named for an American Army captain who enjoyed rattling around in a motorcycle sidecar, presumably while wearing aviator goggles and muttering terse, Hemingway-esque quips.
No matter when or who created the Sidecar, it generally contains cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice.
But over the last century, this simple formula has been tailored to fit the tastes of bartenders around the globe. Here are five ways to make the Sidecar. Enjoy!
Before we start talking about Sidecar variations, we need a sturdy foundation. So, our basic recipe, which we got from master mixologist and Liquor.com advisory board member Dale DeGroff, is one-and-a-half ounces cognac (no need to go expensive; a VS or VSOP is just fine), three-quarters of an ounce orange liqueur and three-quarters of an ounce fresh lemon juice. One of the keys to making this drink is the fresh lemon juice; you'll taste a big difference.View recipe: Sidecar
Purists may scoff at people who add additional ingredients to classics, but do you really want to be a purist anyway? This isn't about adhering to decades-old convention; it's about sipping a tasty cocktail. What we're saying here is don’t be afraid to add a splash of pomegranate liqueur to the traditional mix.View recipe: Side by Sidecar
It requires a special sort of chutzpah to take a classic cocktail and subtract its base spirit, but we're all about chutzpah around here. This is a Sidecar without the brandy, which means it consists simply of one part Grand Marnier, one part fresh lemon juice and a dash or two of simple syrup. It’s a concoction for true citrus fanatics only.View recipe: Grand Sidecar
Warning: Appearances can be deceiving. While this Asian-inspired take on the Sidecar is the same burnt-orange hue as the original, it's made with Japanese whisky instead of the classic cognac. And forget the lemon; this drink features the far more exotic yuzu (use a combo of lemon and lime if you can't find it). Kanpai!View recipe: Tokyo Sidecar
This drink, from top New York bartender and Liquor.com advisory board member Dushan Zaric, is a mix of aged French brandy, orange liqueur and lemon juice. So what’s the big deal? That brandy is calvados, which is made from apples in Normandy. Its autumnal flavor is perfectly suited to September, and the addition of cinnamon to the sugared rim makes it taste even more like fall.View recipe: Calvados Sidecar
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