Sidecar Cocktail History
The true origin of the sidecar is not clear. Most agree that the drink was created near the end of World War I in London or Paris. The drink is directly named after the motorcycle attachment, which was very commonly used back then.
The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims to be the inventor of the drink. The Sidecar's first recipes appeared in Harry MacElhone’s Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails (1922) and Robert Vermeire’s Cocktails and How to Mix Them (1922). It is also one of six drinks that David A. Embury lists in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948).
In the first edition of MacElhone's book, he cites the inventor of the drink as Pat MacGarry a popular bartender at Buck's Club, London, but in later editions, he quotes himself. Vermiere says that the drink was popular in France.
MacGarry, the famous bartender at Buck's Club was the one introducing it to London for the first time.
MacElhone and Vermiere state the recipe as equal parts cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice, now known as "the French school."
Later, an English school of sidecars was established. This is as per the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), where two parts cognac are used and one each of Cointreau and lemon juice.
Embury claims that the original sidecar contained several ingredients which were "refined away." Embury states that the drink is a daiquiri, with brandy instead of rum, and Cointreau is used as the sweetening agent. The same ratio (8:2:1) is recommended for both, which makes it a less sweet sidecar. Simon Difford in Encyclopedia of Cocktails notes Harry Craddock’s 2:1:1 ratio in The Savoy Cocktail Book. He then suggests a middle ground due to Embury's daiquiri recipe being "overly dry" as a sidecar.
The first mention of sugaring the rim of a sidecar glass was in 1934. It was found in three books: Burke's Complete Cocktail & Drinking Recipes and Gordon's Cocktail & Food Recipes. Drinks As They are Mixed is a revised reprint from Paul E. Lowe's 1904 edition.
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Recommended Bar Equipment
- 40 ml Cognac
- 20 ml Orange Liqueur
- 20 ml Lemon Juice
- Add cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice to a shaker.
- Add a big ice cube and shake cold.
- Take a cocktail glass and rim it with lemon juice, then roll the edge in sugar.
- Double strain the drink into the cocktail glass.