Mixology Basics: The Sidecar

Mixology Basics: The Sidecar

The sidecar was probably invented in either Paris or London during World War I. The name of the drink alludes to the motorcycle sidecar which was in common use at that time. Imagine sipping a Sidecar from the sidecar. How romantic.

Ask ten bartenders the recipe and you'll get ten different answers. The ingredients are pretty much the same but the proportions vary wildly. I find the classic recipe a little too tart for my taste so I add a half teaspoon of Demerara syrup for balance. See what you think.

The Sidecar

  • 1 1/2 oz. (45 ml) Cognac
  • 1 oz. (30 ml) Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz. (22 ml) Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 t. Demerara Syrup

Put all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist or with a dried orange round (as shown).


There is a lot to know about syrups but let's get started with the basics.

  • Simple Syrup: Put a one-to-one ratio of sugar and water in a saucepan on low heat until dissolved. I like to use Ultrafine baking sugar because it dissolves more quickly avoiding excess evaporation. Store it in a clean jar in the refrigerator for up to six months.
  • Rich Simple Syrup: The same as Simple Syrup but double the sugar.
  • Demerara Syrup: The same as Simple Syrup but using demerara sugar. It adds a rich, caramel flavor I really like.

Syrups can easily be made at home but you can also simply purchase them. I use syrups from Raft, Portland Syrup Co., and Liber & Co. Over time you may want other syrups as your repertoire grows. I always have grenadine syrup because I'm a big fan of the Ward 8 Cocktail which I will cover in the Beyond the Basics series coming up next.



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