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Classic Sidecar has many variations, but the classic recipe is equal parts  cognac or brandy, Cointreau, and lemon juice.Formulas for the classic Sidecar vary by measurement and base spirit. Pick your poison depending upon sweetness level and fruited flavor. Make it with flavored brandy such as apricot (which is delicious) or bring in nut and spice notes with fine Calvados or Armagnac. Classic versions of this recipe usually call for equal parts cognac/brandy, Cointreau and lemon juice with lemon twist (1:1:1). This ratio should be tweaked according to your taste preference and the quality of spirit on hand.

Though this variation seems a bit ‘upside down’ with regard to usual sour formulations of sweet to sour, it works. There is beautiful nut skin dryness on the back end with sweet to sour balance throughout.


1-3/4 ounces Cognac

3/4 ounce Cointreau

1/2 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice

Orange Twist Garnish

Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

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Cheri Loughlin is the Omaha writer and photographer behind www.intoxicologist.net and author of Cocktails with a Tryst: An Affair with Mixology and Seduction. You can email Cheri with comments and questions at str8upcocktails@gmail.com.

Sidecar Classic
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2 thoughts on “Sidecar Classic

  • March 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Sounds delicious. I have never tweaked with the proportions before. This one seems like it would call for a sugared rim. Yum!

  • March 25, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Chad ~ For those who prefer a bit of sweetness, a sugared rim in traditional Sidecar style would indeed come into play. Tweak to your desire. ~ The Intoxicologist

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