The Sidecar Cocktail

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The Sidecar cocktail is one of the most famous prepared drinks, perhaps thanks to its popularity in the 20th century and its attractive look. The women especially like this drink not only because it has a sweet undertone, but also because it is orange and served in a classy cocktail glass. In order to prepare it, one must use brandy or cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice.

Most accounts state that the Sidecar cocktail was first invented after World War I in Paris or London, though it is the Ritz Hotel in Paris that claims to have begot this special drink. Nevertheless, recipes of the cocktail can be found as early as 1922, and several books of major impact in the world of cocktail mixing mention it. Thus, in David A. Embury’s fundamental book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks that was first published in 1948, the Sidecar is considered one of the six basic drinks one must know how to prepare. As with most famous cocktails like this, many jumped to say they invented it and created the original, but since there is no way of proving them right or wrong, the world divided into two schools.

There was the “London school”, which claimed that the Sidecar is made using two parts cognac, one part Cointreau and lemon juice. The “French school” prepared the Sidecar using equal parts of cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice. This of course led to even more variations, and each person thought they found the true Sidecar cocktail whenever they found a proportions ratio that best suited their tastes. Thus, one can prepare sweeter or drier Sidecars, depending on how they like it.

If you want to know how the most common version of the Sidecar cocktail is prepared, you will need a cocktail glass and a shaker, which must be half filled with ice. You pour four parts cognac or brandy, two parts orange liqueur – like Cointreau or Grand Marnier –, and one part lemon juice in it. The ingredients are shaken, then strained and poured into the glass. Some bartenders add sugar on the rims of the glass, but this is optional if you want a sweeter drink. The glass can also be garnished with a lemon or orange rind or slice, so you can basically decorate it as you like. All in all, the Sidecar is one of the most enduring cocktails of the 20th century, being served to happy customers to this day.

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