I am one of those people who doesn’t have a usual tipple. I am often dumbstruck when asked ‘What’s yours?’ when out at a bar, cocktail lounge or pub. More often then not, I’ll come up with something obscure and have to give instruction, eg Hot Buttered Rum, Dark and Stormy, Lovage & Brandy. I often default to a glass of red wine.
Well, somehow I got a hankering for a sidecar t’other day, so we bought some French brandy and lemons, and Steve got the old cocktail shaker off the shelf and mixed up a couple.
A sidecar is made from brandy, Curaçao triple sec and lemon juice. The result is a perfectly sweetened cocktail. There is the usual squabbling about where (London or Paris) and when (sometime around WW1) and by whom (Pat MacGarry, the celebrated bar-tender of Buck’s Club, London or Harry MacElhone: Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails) this cocktail was invented, but it was made made famous at Harry’s Bar in Paris.
Last night’s recipe was:
- 1 1/2 oz French brandy
- 1 oz Cointreau or triple sec orange liqueur
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- sugar for rimming
It was very good, a nice balance of sweet and sour with the smooth undertone of mellow brandy. The sugared rim was a nice touch of both eye and tongue candy. The drink brought to mind a margarita, without the harshness of salt and tequilla.
It is important to note that while unanimity prevails as to what goes into a Sidecar, there’s considerable dissension about the proportions. Guess we’ll have to try all of the different versions out!