Sidecar Cocktail

Base Spirit: Brandy / Cognac

Type: Classics

Served: Neat/Up

Preparation: Shaken

Strength: Strong

Difficulty: Medium

Flavor Profile: Sour, Sweet

About the Sidecar Cocktail

This is one ride you’ll gladly give up the wheel for. The classic Sidecar is one of the few great things to come out of the unfortunate era of Prohibition. It’s part of the famous group of cocktails known as sours, but it’s sweet enough that you’ll have no trouble guzzling down a handful of them in no time at all.

Ingredients in the Sidecar Cocktail

  • Sugar
  • 1.5 oz VS or VSOP Cognac
  • .75 oz Cointreau
  • .75 oz Fresh lemon juice

Garnish: Orange peel

Glass: Cocktail

How to make the Sidecar Cocktail

Coat the rim of a cocktail glass with sugar and set aside. (Do this a few minutes ahead of time so the sugar can dry and adhere well to the glass.) Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a piece of orange peel.

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  1. TotheMoonAlice says

    I would love a good recommendation for brandy or Cognac for the Sidecar. I don’t have a grand liquor budget and don’t keep Cognac on hand, but I might if I knew what was a good value — or even a solid brandy.

    I was surprised to hear that a local restaurant that takes pride in it’s cocktails used Christian Brothers brandy for their sidecar. Still, when I make it at home it doesn’t taste as good — I do use fresh lemon juice and Cointreau.

    Of course, the ratios I’ve been using seem too “simple” to have been well-honed (two parts brandy/Cognac to one part each fresh lemon juice and Cointreau)…

    So if anyone has more finely-tune ratios, I’d love to hear them!


  2. I use 2.5oz. Brandy, 1oz triple sec or cointreu, and lemon juice from a bottle. I use Christian Bros brandy. but I shake it over ice and pour entire contents into a low ball.

  3. I bought a bottle of Cointreau a while ago for some recipe or another that my wife was making and they a small orange plastic shaker attached to the top. The shaker had markings for the correct proportions for a Sidecar, a margarita, etc. Just fill to the proper level for each ingredient. Simple and convenient.

    I had never had a Sidecar before and now I must say it is becoming one of my favorite cocktails. The proportions are the same as in the above recipe.

  4. San Francisco says

    I have had trouble with the Sidecar too. It is a bar favorite for me, but to get the best drink at home, I find I need add to the traditional recipe: 1.5 oz. Remy Martin VSOP cognac, 1 oz lemon juice, .75 oz Cointreau and .25 oz. simple syrup in a sugar-frosted cocktail glass. This one, like most cocktails needs a real good stir to get enough water into the mix. J.


  1. CiderPlex says:

    […] A normal sidecar contains cognac, but I’d always preferred the bourbon variety.  I can’t believe I’d never thought to substitute applejack but it works perfectly. I get most of my cocktail info from the king, Dale Degroff. Degroff always makes a point to say that Cointreu is the best triple sec. I don’t think they actually used that for this cocktail, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. Try a sidecar when you get a chance, bourbon, cognac or applejack, your choice (or try all three, just not together). […]

  2. […] a simple tequila-and-soda to classic drinks like the Sidecar and Old Fashioned, we found seven cocktails that have the celeb stamp of approval. We even found a […]

  3. […] was a Sidecar at the Ritz in Paris. Made with Remy Martin XO, Vintage Cointreau and fresh lemon juice from a […]

  4. […] like the one it it had back in the years before Prohibition. Back then, cocktails like the Sidecar and the original Sazerac held drinkers’ hearts firmly in their […]

  5. […] the name of this cocktail, one could surmise, this White Lady is a little bitter. Like the classic Sidecar cocktail , the measurements can vary. A “sour” is one of the easiest cocktails in the lexicon. […]

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