Smooth Operator

The Sidecar cocktail is a sophisticated, classy concoction, so why is it so often overlooked?

Ritz Paris bartender Frank Meier may have invented the Sidecar in 1923. Ritz Paris photo.

The Sidecar is one of the great Prohibition-era classics, a boozy-but-vibrant three-ingredient cocktail that fulfills our desire for both the depth of brown spirits and the bright acidity of citrus. It should be a rock star among cocktails, yet where Old Fashioneds, tiki drinks and even the horrible Gimlet have made their comebacks, the Sidecar has somehow eluded its just recognition amid the modern cocktail revival.

It’s time for that to change.

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The Sidecar

The Sidecar. Dan Toulgoet photo.

The original recipe called for equal amounts of Cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice, but whether it’s the ingredients that have changed or modern tastes, today we prefer a version that’s heavier on the Cognac. If you can’t afford the real thing, use as good a quality brandy as you can.

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Blood Orange Sidecar

Serve your cocktails in old-fashioned coupe glasses. iStock photo

Blood oranges are in stores right now, but not for long. They are delicious in any of the traditional sours, especially in this juicy variation on a classic Sidecar.

INGREDIENTS: 
1.5 oz (45 mL) Cognac or brandy
1 oz (30 mL) Cointreau
0.5 oz (15 mL) lemon juice
1.5 oz (45 mL) blood orange juice

METHOD:
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Serves 1.

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