A Golden Era Cocktail: The Sidecar

Discussion in 'The Connoisseur' started by MK, May 28, 2005.

  1. MK

    MK Founder Staff Member Bartender

    I moved this because I didn't want to hijack Renderking's thread.

    Recently I was introduced to a "sidecar", another golden era favorite. They are quite nice when mixed by a professional who knows what their doing.
  2. MK

    MK Founder Staff Member Bartender

    A little background:


    2 ounces Brandy (cognac)
    1 ounce Cointreau
    1/2 ounce lemon juice
    Shake with ice. Strain into cocktail glass.

    From Drinkboy.com:

    Recently, while talking with Colin Fields, the head bartender at the Bar Hemmingway at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, another very important aspect of the Quality cocktail was brought to my attention by way of the Sidecar. He commented on the importance of the history of a cocktail in order to understand how it was originally intended to be served. While the true origins of many cocktails are lost to the raveges of time, and others suffer from too many contradictory origins, anything that can help you put more behind a cocktail then just its list of ingredients, can help you to add a sense of character to your drinks.

    Colin recites that the Sidecar was developed during WWI, when a certain regular cusomer arrived at the Ritz on his motorcycle (replete with sidecar), and asked the bartender for a cocktail that would help take off the chill. The bartender was caught in a delema, a drink to remove a chill would appropriatly be brandy, but brandy was traditionally an after dinner drink, and his patron was wanting something before dinner. So he combined cognac, cointreau, and lemon juice to mix a cocktail whos focus was on the warming qualities of both the brandy, and the cointreau, while the lemon juice added enough of a tartness to make it appropriate as a pre-dinner cocktail. So a properly made sidecar should betray its roots as a drink that warms your palate if not your bones.
    To help illustrate some of the variations on this classic drink, here are some of the recipes that I found in the books from my cocktail collection:

    Old Mr. Boston DeLuxe Official Bartender's Guide
    November, 1946
    Sidecar Cocktail
    Juice 1/4 Lemon
    1/2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Triple Sec
    1 oz. Old Mr. Boston California Brandy
    Shake will [sic.] with cracked Ice and strain into 3 oz. Cocktail glass.

    Esquire Drink Book
    SIDECAR (1)
    2/3 Brandy
    1/3 Cointreau
    Dash of lime juice
    Shake with very fine ice; strain into frosty cocktail glass

    SIDECAR (2)
    (50 Million Frenchmen...)
    1/3 lemon juice
    1/3 Cointreau
    1/3 cognac
    Shake with cracked ice; strain

    The Perfect Cocktail
    by Greg Dempsey
    1 shot brandy
    1/2 shot triple sec
    Splash of sour mix

    The Official Harvard Student Agencies Bartending Course
    1 oz. five-star brandy
    1 oz. triple sec
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    Shake and strain into a cocktail glass

    American Bar
    Charles Schumann
    3/4 oz lemon juice
    1/4 - 3/4 oz triple sec
    1 1/2 oz brandy
    Shake well over ice cubes in a shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail glass

    Angostura Professional Mixing Guide
    1 oz Brandy
    1 oz. Triple Sec or Cointreau
    1 oz. Lemon Juice
    Shake ingredients with cracked ice. Strain into cocktil glass

    Bartending for Dummies
    Ray Foley
    1/2 oz. Cointreau
    1/2 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
    1 oz. Brandy
    3-4 Ice Cubes
    Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.

  3. IndianaGuybrush

    IndianaGuybrush One of the Regulars

    I first had a sidecar in Scotland and since then I've been turning my friends in the states on to it. One of my friends threw a cocktail party that was BYO drinks. Well I brought enough to make a whole batch of sidecars and when I left that night they were all gone. I'm also partial to grey goose martinis and bourbon (hopefully maker's) on the rocks. However, as nice as cocktails are, there is nothing like a cold beer on a warm summer evening.
  4. Johnnysan

    Johnnysan One Too Many

    Central Illinois

    ...well, MK, I made it through the first five just fine, but the last three will have to wait until tomorrow. Thanks for the very informative (and tasty) post.

    ...has anyone seen my legs? They seem to have abandoned me. :cheers1:
  5. MK

    MK Founder Staff Member Bartender

    This is the best sounding one yet:

    30 ml HINE - VSOP Rare
    30 ml COINTREAU
    25 ml Fresh lemon juice
    Flamed orange peel

    Prepare a cocktail glass by frosting the outside of the rim with granulated sugar. Frost the glass well in advance to allow the sugar to dry. Assemble all the ingredients in a cocktail shkaer and shake well with ice. Strain into the prepared glass and garnish with the flamed orange peel.

    Glass Type: Martini / Cocktail
    Garnish: ; Orange and lemon slice and cocktail cherry

    Ingredients made a big difference with this drink. I have had some lame and amazing sidecars.
  6. I had the last one after the Vintage Expo in the Laurel Court of the St. Francis. They make them fairly well. Goes down easy. :p
    I kind of mess around with the ingredients a bit when I make them though. I use MK's first recipe but I am not all that hot on lemon juice. I use lime and add and ounce of light rum. I also throw in a cherry instead of the twist of lemon. I suppose it tastes a bit different. ;)
    Always use the best ingredients you can get. Your liver will thank you. :p

    Regards to all,


    P.S. Wingnut will say I had three or four but don't listen to him. :p
  7. MK

    MK Founder Staff Member Bartender


    This has me wondering about other drinks from back in day. I think I am going to have to hunt down some bartender books from the golden era. :cool:
  8. Let us know what you find. They might be a good item for the FL merchandise mart. Their copyright has expired years ago. ;)

    Regards to all,

  9. Mycroft

    Mycroft One Too Many

    Florida, U.S.A. for now
    Hey MK, I would look for Mr. Boston ones since they have been around forever. Also, maybe republised ones. :beer:
  10. MK

    MK Founder Staff Member Bartender

    I found a few books

    I have one of the best used bookstores in the world in the area. I can usually find very old books on a subject....but not this one. I was told they, go pretty quick. I figured people would only be interested in the latest. I underestimated the professional bartender.

    Original copies of The Stork Club Bar Book go for $250. The same goes for the first printing of the book by the bartender from The Waldorf Astoria.

    I am on the fast track to obtaining re-prints of these famous books.....and some original lesser known ones too.

    I did 4 or 5 books at the store, including an exceptional book by the bartender from The Ritz in Paris. He explaines the difficulty in tracing the history of many cocktails. I particularly enjoyed his story about a bartender who created a drink for Ernest Hemmingway whose wife forbid him to drink. He needed a drink that wouldn't give him breath that would reveal his indulging. He named it after his wife: Bloody Mary.

    More to come.
  11. ITG

    ITG Call Me a Cab

    Dallas/Fort Worth (TEXAS)
  12. MK

    MK Founder Staff Member Bartender


    I just picked up a 1948 printing of "Trader Vic's Bartender Guide" in excellent shape for $7.50. One sold on e-bay today for ten times that amount with no dust jacket.

    Also I discovered that the bartender who makes the wonderful sidecar that I am enchanted with....is a "Tuaca Sidecar". Tuaca, a vanilla liqueur is used in place of brandy and a splash of orange juice is added. It is very tasty!
  13. Sounds pretty good.
    I had the occasion over the weekend to invent myself a new drink. It may not be everybody's favorite but it sort of worked for the room. We have not named it yet. I was trying to figure out something to make with apple brandy. So I tried this in a cocktail shaker:

    4 ounces Apple brandy
    1 1/2-2 ounces 7 Up
    1/2 ounce Pucker
    1/2 ounce Triple Sec (they didn't have Blue Curacoa)

    First crush or muddle two maraschino cherries in the bottom of the shaker. add the liquor and then the ice. Shake vigorously for about a minute and you have a slightly fizzy fruity cocktail. You can also add a cherry to the glass for a garnish.
    Don't hold me to the measurements. For some reason I can't be certain of the measurements. I just poured them in by estimation. This makes three or four highball glasses worth. :p
    I hope someone else didn't invent this one first. ;)

    Regards to all,

  14. rikrdo

    rikrdo A-List Customer

    Yucaipa CA
    my classic substitution for Cointreau is Orange Curacao

    I use it in Margaritas and Ive used it in a Sidecar or 3.
    I hate mixing really good booze with anything more than ice.
  15. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Small Town Ohio, USA
    My gosh, I forgot to have a sidecar this summer!
  16. Lady Day

    Lady Day I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Crummy town, USA
    Summer's not over, my friend.....

  17. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    Do I understand that somewhat breezy Drinkboy blerb to mean that the original WW1 sidecar was served room temperature? I had one made that way in a New York Irish bar once.* Damn near unpalatable when you're used to the chilled article.

    *Don't order anything in such a place that no self-respecting Irishman would drink. I don't care how many bottles they have behind the bar.
  18. Dayonfire

    Dayonfire New in Town

    I used to Sling Charlie Chaplins Around the Room

    I used to work for a trendy bar in Minneapolis called The Speakeasy. All the signature drinks in this word-of-mouth only (legal) bar were Prohibition Era drinks like the Sidecar, Charlie Chaplin, Horse's Neck, and some concoctions of my own creation. Never once (ahem) did I bring my own bottle of absinthe in and serve it to my friends who would show up and wink.

    The Savoy Hotel Cocktail Guide was the Bible there. Heartily recommend it.

    Satan's Whiskers....a great drink.
  19. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Hardlucksville, NY
    You had better get to drinking.

    Senator Jack turned me on to this drink. I admit to craving it in the winter months.
  20. Panache

    Panache A-List Customer

    California Bay Area
    I am very fond of this cocktail, but I don't think of it as a summer drink. Perfect for Autumn with its amber hue and the warm flavor of brandy.

    Early on MK mentioned the Trader Vic Bartender's Guide. I have the 1947 edition as well as the Trader Vic Book of Food and Drink from 1946. Both have some great cocktails. What makes them more fun is that they were both owned by my Great Grandmother who scribbled little notes in the margins like "no good", "use half the sugar", and such. Whenever I peruse it and read them it's like I am reaching back half a century to brush my fingertips to hers.



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