The Sidecar

by Will on September 23, 2010

This is a cocktail that nearly everybody likes. It is one of the more gender-neutral cocktails I’ve come across: it does not come across as particularly masculine or feminine. It seems to have been invented around the time of World War I, so it’s proven itself. This is how I like to make it:

1 1/2 oz. brandy (the real stuff, not that sweetened crap the Hiram Walker sells; I use Korbel)

1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1/2 oz. Cointreau or Grand Marnier

Stir or shake with ice, serve straight up in a cocktail glass with a lemon slice as garnish

The big question, of course, is which of the grand old liqueurs to use. Both are much better than a generic triple sec. Cointreau makes more of a crisp, sweet sidecar, while Grand Marnier makes it less sweet and a bit more complex. Last night I tried making it with equal parts of the two, and I have to say I think I like that best.

I’ve heard the claim that this should be made with cognac rather than brandy. If you have more money than you know how to spend, then sure, I’ve no doubt that’s a little better. But it seems like a waste of money to me.

Incidentally, I used to live a few miles from the place where Cointreau is made. It was one of the city of Angers’s few claims to fame, along with the fact that the kings of England used to reside there back in the Plantegenet era. But there’s so much history every place in Europe that they dwell on it less than I do.

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