Christus resurrexit! Alleluia!
Today, we profile the Sidecar, a drink which adds a Continental touch to the family of classic American cocktails. The sweet cognac-based drink likely originated sometime around World War I, in Europe. American Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933, and during that time American cocktails thrived in Europe.
In addition to being a classic brandy cocktail, the Sidecar is part of the ‘crusta’ class of cocktails (other classes include fizzes, juleps, collins, etc.), meaning it is served with a sugared-rim glass. The drink’s ancestors include the Brandy Crusta, made with cognac, curaçao, lemon, and bitters. The Sidecar presents a simpler combination of flavors, but retains its sweet, festive nature.
Eric Felten at The Wall Street Journal, tells a few of the stories of the cocktail’s invention:
The standard creation myth for the Sidecar is that it was first concocted in World War I for an officer just arrived in Paris from the front, having ridden all the way in a motorcycle sidecar. The location of this conception is alternately given as the bar at the Paris Ritz or that other Parisian institution, Harry’s New York Bar. A competing tale came from travel and society writer Basil Woon, who claimed to be present when the first Sidecar was born. John, the bartender at a bistro called Henri’s, staggered into work late and bleeding after a motorcycle accident. Woon ordered cognac, his friend ordered Cointreau, and the woozy barman accidentally mixed them. The creation was named after the sidecar in which the bartender had been addled.
The essential ingredients of the Sidecar are:
- Cognac (1 part)
- Cointreau (1 part)
- Lemon juice (1 part)
The proportions can be adjusted to taste. The Sidecar is shaken with ice and strained into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass, garnished with a lemon twist. It is a perfect drink with which to celebrate this Easter.