Quest for the perfect sidecar cocktail / by Lisa Guillot

crafting-the-perfect-sidecard-cocktail For our Autumn 2014 salon we based our guest list, food spread and cocktail on a theme, because why not go all the way right? Our event's concept was Passion Projects. Not only did our guest have to be women entrepreneurs, they also had to have a passion project on the side. "A little something on the side" we called it.

I was tasked to create the speciality cocktail to pair with Prosecco which we have at each salon, it's easy, bubbly and everyone seems to like it. Autumn cocktail? You guessed it, a Sidecar. I began my quest to first learn the history of the Sidecar cocktail, then how to make it. You may say it became a passion of mine. My other, other passion project.



The Sidecar cocktail's history varies, but it is said to have been invented towards the end of WW1 in London or Paris, or was created at the end of Prohibition. It's name is obvious- named after the motorcycle attachment. The earliest mention of a Sidecar cocktail recipe is in 1922, and is one of the six based drinks highlighted in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks in 1948.

The traditional way of mixing it is rather easy- equal parts Brandy, Cointreau and Lemon Juice. I tried this mix many times with different types of dark liquor, Brandy, Cognac and Bourbon. I was drunk after 1 drink. No can do. It was too strong to serve at a cocktail party where we were expected to have at least decently intelligent conversation with strangers.



I realized that Cointreau has double the alcohol content then Triple Sec, which could be substituted for sweetness. That, and a dash of club soda, and it really helped tone down the drink.

My recipe for the perfect Sidecar Cocktail:

  • 2 parts Bourbon
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • 1 Part Lemon Juice
  • A dash of tonic water

Pour all contents into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well until the outside of the shaker is frosted and you can't possibly hold it anymore. Strain into a cocktail glass with a rim rubbed with lemon juice and dipped in sugar. We added a sugared lemon to the rim of some of our cocktail goblets and a twist, with a side of rosemary, to the crystal glasses.

Sugared lemon slices

lemon twist with rosemary decor


What is your drink of passion?