Retro Cocktail for March: Sidecar

As with so many classic cocktails that predate Prohibition, the exact origin of this month’s RETRO COCKTAIL, the "Sidecar”, is unclear. The Ritz Bar in Paris, as well as Buck’s Club in London, both lay claim, as do several famous bartenders. The story I like best is that it was inspired by an American Army Captain during The Great War (later WWI). Legend holds that he sped up to his favorite bar in Paris on his motorcycle, and the drink was named for its sidecar.

 There are many variations of this famous cocktail, such as the choice of cognac or brandy, as well as the ratios of the three ingredients: Brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice. “The French School” holds with equal parts to all three, 1:1:1, while “The English School” prefers 2:1:1. (Haha! Those Brits love to drink!) Personally, I think one part lemon juice is a lot of lemon juice (which necessitates the optional sugared rim of the glass), so the ratio I prefer is 2:1:½. If you want a bit of sweetness, you can squeeze a few drops from a fresh orange wedge into the shaker.

Regarding the first ingredient, I love Hennessy cognac, but every time I’ve ordered a “Sidecar” at a bar, they’ve always used a lower-end brandy and it tasted just fine. With that said, I’ve used E&J Brandy in today’s drink, which is not bad at all. And E&J is, to say the least, affordable.
 And check out the unabashed elan in the pic to the left!

SIDECAR 2 parts E&J Brandy
 1 part Cointreau 
½ part fresh-squeezed Lemon juice Shake over ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
 Garnish with an orange twist and panache!


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