As with any cocktail worth drinking, the origin of the Sidecar is highly ambiguous. Stories spanning the length and breadth of Europe purport to tell of the first time cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice were mixed – but our particular favourite falls in France.
The year is 1922. World War I has recently ended and, in the bar of the Ritz Hotel in Paris, an American army captain is celebrating victory. He orders the as-yet unnamed cocktail and, upon enjoying it thoroughly, decides to name it for the sidecar on his army-issue motorbike.
It’s a simple tipple every gent should have in his mixing repertoire, so let’s whip up some decadent post-war fever and pour a couple of Sidecars.
Begin with a cocktail glass – chilled, if possible. Pour two measures of a finely aged cognac into a shaker filled with ice, followed by one measure of orange liqueur – such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier or another triple sec – and the same amount of lemon juice. Shake thoroughly and strain into the glass.
Garnish with a long slice of orange peel, twisted to release the oils. Some later recipes call for the rim of the glass to be sugared. Don’t do this – it’s not a Margarita and can you really imagine that American army captain, toasting his triumph, to be toting a sugar-rimmed glass? We can’t.