The story of the sidecar cocktail
One night many moons ago, a few girlfriends and I decided to go on a pub crawl. I don’t recall the inspiration for the evening, but I do remember that I went on a mission to find the perfect cocktail.
You see, like many others, my experience with alcoholic beverages started with wine coolers, transitioned to beer in college, and then moved to wine. The challenge, particularly as a then-single person, was what to order in a bar, where glasses of wine are not reliably delicious.
Up until that night, I had enjoyed an occasional Screwdriver, White Russian, or rum and diet coke. But I had no go-to that said “adult.” My mission was to find my signature drink.
The perfect cocktail had to be served in a martini glass. Martini glasses are sophisticated, right? It had to be a bit sweet but not a cosmo. Sex in the City was so over. Most importantly, it had to be a drink that was unusual but common enough that any bartender could make it.
I don’t remember the names of all of the drinks I had that night. I think there might have been a sour among them. What stuck was the sidecar.
Over the next few years, I made bartenders happy by asking them to make me a drink they hadn’t made since bartender school. I now favor a gin martini as my go-to drink, but it’s good to have options. It’s always 5pm somewhere.
- 1.5 oz brandy
- 1.5 oz cointreau or other orange liqueur
- 1 oz lemon juice
- superfine sugar, as needed
- Rub edge of cut lemon on rim of martini glass.
- Put a small amount of sugar onto a clean paper towel and carefully roll the rim in the sugar to coat.
- Combine brandy, cointreau, lemon juice, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 20 seconds, then strain into the martini glass.