Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Sometimes life hands you lemons. Sometimes your wife makes a cocktail with half a lemon, and hands you the other half. So I decided to make a Sidecar. According to Wikipedia, the Sidecar was invented by an American Army captain during World War I, and named after the little motorcycle sidecar he took back and forth from the bar. It's probably the best known brandy cocktail out there.

There appears to be some disagreement on the best way to make a Sidecar, mostly centering around how dry or sweet to make the cocktail.
Both MacElhone and Vermiere state the recipe as equal parts cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice, now known as "the French school". Later, an "English school" of Sidecars emerged, as found in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which call for two parts cognac and one part each of Cointreau and lemon juice.
According to Embury, the original Sidecar had several more ingredients, which were "refined away." Embury also states the drink is simply a Daiquiri with brandy as its base rather than rum, and with Cointreau as the sweetening agent rather than sugar syrup. He recommends the same proportions (8:2:1) for both, making a much less sweet Sidecar. However, Simon Difford, in his book "Encyclopedia of Cocktails," notes Harry Craddock's ratio of 2:1:1 in "The Savory Cocktail Book," and then suggests a middle ground of 3:2:2, calling Embury's Daiquiri formula "overly dry" for a sidecar
Since I tend not to like my drinks overly sweet, I thought I'd do the drier proportions of 8:2:1. I decided to use Gran Gala, a liqueur similar to Grand Marnier, instead of the more typical Cointreau. It made the drink a bit creamier, though I'm not sure better. I definitely like the ratio I used. It's pretty sweet, even with that ratio; I'm not sure increasing the amount of Cointreau would improve it.

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