Shift Drink Saturday: The Sidecar

Shift Drink Saturday: The Sidecar

August 01, 2020


Sweet and sour Cognac concoction is one way to describe this cocktail, another is to think of it as a French version of a margarita. Instead of Tequila and lime juice, replace it with Cognac and Lemon. A lot of people get cautious around ingredients they are not aware of and therefore become hesitant to order this beautiful drink.

Throwback to Paris a Century Ago

The argument for who originally created it is still politely disputed, however, the time period and the city are no doubt. The city is Paris and the birthdate goes back to the 1920’s. No surprise here as Cognac is as common in France as Whiskey is in America. Citrus and sugar were used commonly even before that time period to help balance the strong alcohol content of spirits and as well as give good use to perishable fruits.  The two bars however are The Ritz’s Little Bar and Harry’s New York Bar (yes the latter is actually a bar in Paris and not New York). One could argue over the semantics but l like to refer to a quote from Picasso : “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” I am just happy one of these places served this drink and brought it to popularity.

The Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Cognac
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau or Combier
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • Shakey shakey shakey, pour in coupe.

We know the ingredients of the cocktail and a bit of its origin, but how it’s made is very important. As I mentioned before about how it’s ingredients are the “French Margarita,” this also applies its portions. Start with the same portions as a Margarita and then alter as you feel. A good Sidecar should have the right balance between booze, citrus and sweet. To know when you achieve that balance with this cocktail is when all the components come together and have a savory and almost umami taste. Adjust your portions as you find preferable but please refer to the portions in the recipe card for my preferred outcome.

The Sidecar is quite strong and should be drank before or after dinner unless you are consuming very salty foods that are light, i.e. Ramen or other meals that are mostly broth. Otherwise it is a great dessert cocktail and a great buzz.


Sammy G

@myshiftdrink for more fun content and recipes on IG for apparel to support your local bartender.

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