The origins of this classic cocktail are, as per usual, obscure but it’s definitely been around for most of the last 100 years, with most people labelling it a post WWI invention. Packing a punch — like most of the cocktails we’ve tried  — this one is pretty easy drinking but still with enough zing to keep you sipping rather than treating it like some sort of grown-up soda pop.

They recommend a good brandy (cognac preferred) but I cheated by blending my good 30-year-old Spanish with some Courvoisier VS. The lemon mellows the brandy without stealing from it and, for those that like it on the sweeter side, a sugared rim transforms the sidecar from a sour to something with a bit less pucker. We split 50-50 on whether that was a good thing.



  • sidecar-12 ounces VSOP Cognac or good brandy
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, (adjust to taste)
  • sugar for for rim (optional)

Combine brandy, Cointreau and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well until chilled. Strain into prepared glass; garnish with a twist of lemon. If you are looking for a sweeter tone, moisten the rim with a bit of lemon and dip in sugar beforehand.

The verdict: A winner with 4 thumbs up. Even for those who just don’t like it when the booze gets in their mouths, the balance of sour and sweet and the complex blend of tastes had everyone smiling as we slowly drained our glasses to the last drop. This one is definitely going on my list to try again.


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