Sidecar Cocktails

sidecar sidecar

For someone who doesn’t drink that much, I sure have a lot of liquor on my liquor shelf. I guess I should rephrase that. For someone who drinks an a lot of wine, but not a lot of liquor, I sure have a lot of liquor on my liquor shelf.

liquors

The French don’t have anything on us Americans when it comes to drinking cocktails, although that seems to be changing a bit. Fruity, sweet drinks won’t likely catch on around here, which I’m happy about, but minty Mojitos are popular, fueled on by their love of a fascination with anything Cuban. And one of my commenters got a big laugh out of me when I was explaining in another post the lack of ice cubes in Paris, and she said, “The only time you get a lot of ice in Paris is when you order a cocktail.”

happy hours

They may not do ice, but the French do have us beat in the grammar department, though, because Happy Hour is actually Happy Hours. I mean, has there ever really been a one-hour happy hour? If so, it doesn’t sound like enough time to really get happy. But cafés with signs offering cocktails get hung in the windows, Parisians are all-too happy to partake.

(Although last night I stopped in a café up in Ménilmontant and they had a sign up for a TGV, which wasn’t an ad for France’s high-speed train; it was a cocktail with just tequila, gin, and vodka. It gave me a laugh, but still, the combination didn’t make me want to order one.)

sugared rim

I used to love martinis (made with gin, thank you, which everyone knows are the only kind…), but since moving to France, I’ve mostly given up cocktails in my declining years. However when I was in San Francisco, one of my other commenters (thanks Dawn) told me to make sure to have a Sidecar. And when I was at Nopa, they had an armagnac Sidecar on the menu. Since I’d just returned from Cognac, I was interested in this giving one a go, Cognac or not.

(I did write to spirits expert Jason White about the San Francisco and Sidecar connection, and he was pretty baffled, as I was. I’m not sure what the connection is, but it didn’t stop me from trying one. Matt had a rum one, but wouldn’t give me a taste. So I assume that was pretty good, too.)

lemons & limes

And yet another commenter pointed out, in one of my San Francisco posts, how un-proficient some of us in the food business are when it comes to mixing cocktails. Fair enough, since my only experience mixing drinks semi-professionally was when I was the pastry chef in a restaurant and the bartender’s girlfriend was in a car accident and I hopped behind the bar to pitch in. Seriously, I didn’t know what half of the cocktails I was mixing up were. But figured if I just made them incredibly strong, no one would complain. Which, by the way, worked very well.

A few times I’ve made Cosmopolitans at home for friends, and after a certain someone’s 67-kilo partner had half of one, he was soon was lying on the floor. So either I’m doing something right. Or something kinda wrong.

squeezinglemon sugaring rim

I was cleaning my liquor shelf the other day, which gave me a change to revisit some of the oddities hidden up there, like the blue Curaçao that I bought for recipe testing last year. I scoured Paris for the clear stuff, but by 7:58 pm, standing exasperated in the géant gourmet food hall of the Galleries Lafayette, I realized I just wasn’t going to find the real thing and gave in and bought went for the blue.

I used about a shot of it for the recipe I was testing and reluctantly, hoped to finish off the rest of it to plump raisins for Persimmon Bread, thinking the color would be hidden by the dark dried fruits. No such luck, as it turned out. When I began slicing the bread, I saw that the raisins had turned a iridescent, eerie neon-green. It was nothing that a smear of Madame Loïk couldn’t have hid. But I didn’t have any and had some convincing to do to get anyone to eat it. Understandably.

frosty rim

Then there’s the tall bottle of Amaro that I bought in Florence, thinking how nice it might be to sip bitter digestive after dinner—which I haven’t done in the four-plus years since I bought it. There’s the bottle of armagnac someone gave me as a gift that was so expensive, it’s in danger of becoming too good to use. And there’s a bottle of marsala from Italy, which is practically walking distance from here, that cost me more than three-times what it costs five thousand miles away, in California. That I’m saving as a souvenir of one of my first wtf moments.

For someone who writes and follows recipes for a living, I rarely think about following a recipe for cocktails. It just seems like drinks should be intuitive. Nevertheless, after whipping up a couple of shakers of Sidecars, I thought I’d share the recipe, since they might help you use up some of that liquor that’s sitting there, waiting to be used around your place.

So if anyone has ideas for using that nearly-full bottle of blue Curaçao, I’m all ears. (Note: I don’t drink blue cocktails. Even I have my limits.) I guess I could hope that my house cleaner might mistakenly use it for cleaning the windows. Since she’s got that impressive right hook, I’m wary of telling her what to do. So if anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears.

Sidecars

Makes 2 generous cocktails

Reading a bit about the drink, some folks think the original Sidecar, with equal proportions of lemon juice, orange-flavored liqueur, and Cognac, is on the sweet side. With all that lemon juice, to me, the drink is rather puckery and I tried a sip without the sugared rim and decided it’s de rigeur.

There is a Sidecar from the “English School”, which uses twice as much Cognac as the other ingredients. (The version here is sometimes referred to a “French” Sidecar, which is why I feel it’s okay to include this cocktail on my blog.) So feel free to add more Cognac to taste, if you find it sweet.

Or rim half of the glass with superfine sugar, so folks can decide if they want the sugar or not. If you don’t have superfine sugar, whiz a bit of granulated in the blender or food processor a few seconds until it’s finely-ground.

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Cognac (or brandy)
  • superfine (castor) sugar, for the rim
  • 2 strips of lemon zest, for garnish

1. Dip the rims of two chilled glasses partly in superfine sugar.

2. Fill a cocktail shaker half-full with ice.

3. Add the lemon juice, Grand Marnier, and Cognac to the shaker, and shake vigorously for about ten seconds.

4. Divide the Sidecar mixture between the two glasses. Add a strip of lemon zest to each.

Related Links & Posts

Experimental Cocktail Club in Paris (Facebook Group)

Kirsch

Cognac Enters the Mix (Jason Wilson, Washington Post)

Sidecars (Wikipedia)

Cognac Enters the Mix (Jason Wilson)

The Coopers of Cognac

52 Martinis (Paris Cocktail Blog)

Pear Sidecar (Married With Dinner)

Columbus Isle

A Lebovitz Isle (Matt Bites)

59 comments

  • It sure pays to have a lot of liquor in your house…. I paid 42 Euros last night for one Caipirinha and one Quiet Storm, whatever that is…. It tasted like cough syrup.

  • This does look delicious. I am more of a wine drinker than a cocktail-gal, but interestingly enough I also prefer Cuban Mint Juleps and other tart drinks when I do imbibe.
    My more important point though is that your photograph, the fifth one down – is a gorgeous abstraction. For some reason the salt turns into sand for me and the blue is a tropical oasis.
    Maybe I need a South Pacific vacation and a few cocktails?
    ;)Michaela

  • hmm… Blue sirup on white beignets ? Blue curaçao ice cream ?

    blue Curaçao granité with orange biscuits for the complementary color ?

    jello-shots for someone’s party ?

    I’m discovering this persimmon bread, it seems gorgeous and easy. Thanks for le déterrage de lien :)

  • Ha ha ha! Your neon green raisins have me cracking up! And anyone who weighs 67 kilos should not be drinking anything you make LOL

    The drink looks great. I don’t have any suggestions for the remaining liquor though. :-p Come back to the states and go camping with us, we’ll help you finish it off LMAO!

  • When I was younger we used to mix Blue Curacao with Orange juice, so how about that? The drink was called “Green meadows” and is fairly popular in this part of Germany :)

  • I was glad to read your endorsement of gin martinis over vodka. The word martini is getting over-used as the world has decided strong drink served in a funny glass is an Appletini or Chocotini or some-other-tini. It has diminished the unique status of a good gin cocktail. The word “chef” is also getting real close to being on the “over-used” list. So I hoist my glass of Boodles/rocks to the cook. Hopefully he gets a raise in salary instead of a “title bump”. As for blue liquids, they are a lot like blue foods. There are so few representatives of REAL BLUE things that are good to eat that the human eye does not register it on the brain as TASTY.

  • Krysalia: I actually wrote the recipe in French: Gâteaux aux kakis, when I had the crazy idea to start a separate blog, en VF.

    Craig: And actually, the true (gin) martini has a drop or two of orange bitters added, which makes a superb cocktail. (There’s a thread about that over on Chowhound.) Jason White did suggest in his e-mail that folks try A Sidecar with Calvados. I just finished the last of mine, but it sounds like something worth giving a shot at. Or a shake.

    And yes, the term ‘chef’ has gotten overused. A chef is someone who has run a kitchen or a department in a kitchen (such as garde manger or pastry), not anyone who works in a restaurant.

  • I will definitely try this recipe! It’s too funny about the ice-cubes. Each summer, when I visit my friends in California, I receive many quizzical looks when I say “no ice, please” to a waiter (which my friends find hilarious) or when they see me only putting a couple of ice-cubes in my glass (and it has to be at least 100°F outside for that to happen).

    I don’t mind blue cocktails. As a matter of fact, I have very fond memories of some Blue Hawaiian ones…

    When I read about making something blue though, my first thought was for the blue milk found in Star Wars (that Luke drinks in episode IV and that Padmé carries on a tray in episode III). Wouldn’t it be fun to invent a Star Wars “blue milk” cocktail? What about coconut milk and curaçao as a base to work with? Just an idea! :-)

    Incidentally, I loved it when in “Heir to the Empire”, Timothy Zahn made hot chocolate Luke’s favorite drink. A perfect jedi drink IMO! ;-)

  • Some thoughts on the Sidecar:
    1. Amazing with Calvados and Patron Citronage,
    2. More than fine very cold with affordable brandy and orange liqueur,
    3. Becomes a Margarita when made with lime juice and tequila,
    4. Best (to me) with 1 part juice, 1 part orange liqueur and 2 parts Cognac.

  • These are my new fav cocktail! I discovered them in New Orleans this summer. Love the sugar rim. Alas, I’m low-carbing, so none for me–think it would work with a Splenda rim? ;)

  • I have been to a Hannukah party where all that is served is latkes, chicken legs, and sidecars and it is the best party to go to. I love sidecars, order them in restaurants and are usually disappointed, so the Mister makes them for me on Sunday cocktail hour,and I love it!!! Thanks,

  • “I have been to a Hannukah party where all that is served is latkes, chicken legs, and sidecars”

    Hey Nancy, give me a call. I think I’d like to go to that Hannukah party this year. Seriously.

  • Well…some of my friends are quite fond of a drink called a “Pornstar”; it’s raspberry Sourpuss and Blue Curaçao. It tastes how it sounds…I just thought you’d enjoy the name.

    I can’t really abide the stuff, but I’n sure someone will come up with a useful suggestion!

  • daveed> Oh, j’adore your way to write in french :D. it’s really good !

    It would be really cool if you do this again sometimes. I’d love to read other of your recipes in french like this :) . It is a good exercise to maintain the written language skills, as well as something very pleasant to read for your french readers, I can confirm that, among others, now that i’ve read it and the comments. (the automatic translation was also very funny !)

  • hmmm….it is before 8am and now I’m craving a cocktail before I even finish my morning coffee. You are a wonderfully evil man.
    Unfortunately we have picked the meyer lemon tree bare (probably better for the kids that I don’t start quite yet).
    So on the list to try in a few weeks when I have ripe lemons: meyer lemon, Patron Citronage and armagnac.

  • Well, aside from window-washing, I can’t think of many uses for blue liquor. Maybe mouthwash – I’ve read about people using vodka for mouthwash before. Or just an all-purpose antiseptic. Next time you have a cut, throw some of that on there instead of rubbing alcohol. I’m afraid I couldn’t come up with any culinary uses, unless you use it in something that is already blue, and there’s not a lot of blue dishes floating around. The only blue food I can think of is blueberries.

  • I ended up with a gigantic bottle of blue Curaçao when making blue martini ice pops.

    They may be silly, but they’re tasty!

  • One of my favorite cocktails of all time is a Blood Orange Sidecar by a nice little tapas bar called Solea in Waltham MA… Courvosier, Grand Marnier, fresh blood orange juice, fresh lime. Ooooh my, one of these is all you need in the world to make everything shiny!

  • Sidecars were popular years ago in Palm Beach. You could get them in the stiff and stodgy clubs. Good, though.
    I’m interested in uses for the blue stuff. I, too, have a big bottle. Weird that anyone ever came up with blue color for something that tastes orange.

  • Huzzah!

    The sidecar is my all time favorite cocktail. In my former lush life, I favored one every afternoon at about 5pm.

    Mine were usually about the same proportions – freshly squeezed lemon juice, hennessey (I had a vintage case from my grandparent’s basement) and triple sec from the most wonderful New Hampshire state liquor stores (alas, grand marnier would have made it slightly cost prohibitive).

  • Concerning the TGV cocktail–it would be the fastest mode of transportation from sober to blotto, with a connection to sick.

  • The first time I read about Sidecars, it was when The Princess Diaries book first came out and I was a teenager. The crazy Queen/grandma of the main character only drank Sidecars. From that point on, I always associated the drink with old ladies….but it sounds good and I’m gonna try it. Does that mean I’m an old lady now? hahaha

  • Well I, for one, am relieved that you don’t drink blue cocktails. I can’t abide any blue food or drink (shudder)!

  • I use a dash of the blue stuff to enhance the color of my Aviation cocktails (gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice). It actually balances the drink nicely, as well as making it prettier, blue sky and all that. Traditionally, it was supposed to be creme de violette which was very hard to find until recently. But I have a BIG bottle of the blue, so I have a whole lot of Aviations to go through.

    Also, the maraschino is not the neon red glop that the bottled cherries come in, but is a very nice beverage in its own right. Google Luxardo to find.

  • I’m not a big liquor drinker, and I have an over-flowing liquor cabinet, too! I’m beginning to think that it’s a consequence of being a desserts person. The first thing I do whenever I see a new liquor is ask: “Can I bake with it?” (or whip it into a cream, really.)

  • Never had one but oh! does that sound heavenly! And I have all the ingredients just sitting here. waiting.
    Merci David!

  • I’ve got once stucked with a bottle of blue Curacao – a gift from some good soul. After two years I realized nobody will ever touch it ( I’m a Gin and Tonic/Vodka person myself, no sweet drinks, thank you- but also someone who can’t throw away something edible/drinkable).So I began using it in truffles or chocolate cakes instead on cognac. It worked fine, everybody was happy , and so I got rid of my blue sweet liqueur.

    No more war, no more blue liqueurs!

  • Hi David,

    I’m honoured to be (partly) responsible for provoking such a great post! Kudos on the bit about Martinis (I wonder how many of the guys slapping “vodka Martinis” together have ever heard of a Kangaroo Cocktail… my guess is not many (: ). Given your affinity with brandy, you should try a Japanese cocktail: http://drinkboy.com/Cocktails/Recipe.aspx?itemid=87

    Cheers,
    Leo N.

  • Great post! My favorite spot for cocktails in Paris is le Fumoir… at “happy hours” of course.

  • I’ve never had an actual Sidecar, but I have had the Jack Rose cocktail, which is the one made with Calvados. It’s really really good (as I recall). I don’t drink much of anything these days..except maybe Sangria when I eat Mexican food at a Mex restaurant. Yes, I’m one of those, those tutti-fruity drink people!

  • Try a “something blue” drink. A little bit of blue Curaçao in champagne or sparkling wine. It is fabulous served in a sugar rimmed martini glass. Enjoy! Mom & I sure do :)

  • I think your liquor shelf is a thing of beauty. Makes me wish mine wasn’t behind a closed cabinet door, but alas, that’s how it has to be if it’s to remain in close reach. & I LOVE sidecars (almost as much as a good Manhattan). My liquor cabinet is calling to me ………

  • Nice.
    The Citadel gin & Plantation rum on the shelf have me salivating too.

  • I am going to second the “tiny bit of blue curacao in a lesser champagne” suggestion. I mixed that once for a blue party and it turned out incredibly delicious, a big hit! All the curacao was gone in a night.

    The key is to have a party theme that allows the trashiness of the blue. (-:

  • “A Kick in the Crotch”

    A shot to try after dealing with your cable provider perhaps?

    1.5 oz. cranberry juice (nectar not cocktail blend preferred)
    1.5 oz. of any decent vodka
    1 oz. blue curacao

    As a junior high exchange student living in Strasbourg I learned a lot of great new French words, mostly naughty ones :-) But what impressed my Alsatian (sp?) pen pals/home hosts most was my excellent pronunciation of SCHTROUMPF. I was told that meant Smurf, the small annoying blue cartoon characters. Without the internet existing back then I had to take their word for that.

    Which was difficult because the “schtroumpf conversation” came right after one that took nearly 20 minutes for me to understand. The whole family was adamant to explain what a “hat for sex” was in our rudimentary translations and occasional hand gestures. Turns out the father of the house was offering me some condoms for the next night’s party, I was barely 13. I have never turned that shade of red again since that night. He insisted I needed a hat for the sex at any party. He was right in theory of course, but I was not planning on going further than some kissing so I passed on his generous “hat” offer. I also didn’t tell my teacher or write home with this bit of news. I wasn’t going to tell them about the wine and triple creme cheese so the condoms were definitely not making the list of things to share from my French adventure.

    If I recall correctly he called them preservatifs or capotes? Once I finally understood what he meant I offered up “rubbers” as the American term for the day. Rrrrubbberrrzz was a big hit. It sounded really cute with their accents. I think American families could more easily discuss sex at the dinner table if wine were served for all :-) Vive la France!

    Anyway, I think the truth was given to me way back then, because at some stupid frat party I was offered a blue drink called a Schtroumpf. And it looked just like those silly Smurfs.

    “Schtroumpf”

    1 1/3 oz. Pastis
    1 oz. Blue Curacao
    water and crushed ice in a highball glass

    Gross right? But funny too, and for about 500 recipes for Blue Curacao cocktails alone get the “Mixologist” app from itunes. You can use it online and maybe someday transfer it to an iPhone if the country ever lets you buy one.

    Have Many Happy Hours David

  • Re step 1: you have to wet the rim of the glass or the sugar won’t stick. Run a bit of lemon or orange around the rim before dipping it in the sugar.

  • Randy: If the glasses are chilled, the condensation when you take them out of the freezer or refrigerator should be enough to make the sugar stick. Mine were pretty frosty when I dipped them in that blue-rimmed bowl.

    simona: That’s a good idea, mixing it with chocolate. Although the problem is it’s kind of sweet, although perhaps a splash in a bittersweet cup of hot chocolate might be the ticket.

    Shane: Those just arrived! I don’t know much about them, but heard good things about them. Can’t wait to crack ‘em open.

    Laurence: Agreed. Real Maraschino is quite wonderful, almost Kirsch-like. (And no relation to those bright-red cherries.) It’s a little harder to find the real deal, but the brand you mentioned is my favorite, too.

    Thanks to the rest for your cocktail suggestions. Many sound really good and it’s interesting that these proportions, or those similar, are the bases for many other drinks. I was surprised at how good this simple combination of these 3 ingredients are.

  • LMAO ~ your cocktail-mixing strategy for success sounds eerily similar to my sister’s… she once mixed me a “spiked eggnog” that was nearly see-through. ^_^

    as far as the blue curacao… wow. that’s a stumper. maybe some adults-only shaved ice? jell-o shots? basically, i got nothing.

  • David! I think I was behind the bar with you that night at Monsoon when you were slaying all the dinner guests! Dawn Hawk here. I’ve been lurking out here, absolutely thrilled with reading about your sweet life in Paris! Following you on FB. I’ve bought 4 copies of your book, it is a fabulous gift. Keep mixing it up, David. Peace, Dawn

  • Hmm, if you’re really that unhappy with the extent of you liquor-board, I wouldn’t mind helping you out. I’ve recently discovered, that having only rum and cognac for baking or cooking is a little too little liquor for calling it my liquor-shelf…
    Uses for blue curacao? Mix it into very dark food or drinks: use it with blueberries or blackberries in drinks and fruit purrées, mix it with dark chocolate when baking or go very American and use it in swiss meringue cream or butter cream for frosting colourful cupcakes. Or you could always drizzle it into some sugar méringue mass to decorate the christmas tree…

  • Hello David,
    Although I’m not a hard liquor drinker I checked out this post. I eagerly look forward to a little piece of Paris here as often as you post. Thanks! I do have one question about your liquor shelf. I looked at your apartment as photographed on Apartment Life (I think) and I never saw that shelf. Where is it found in your place? In case you wonder why I’m asking, I am moving to SF into a tiny kitchen and I’m looking for any ideas to survive the changeover. So tell me, where did you put that shelf?
    Thanks,
    Renée

  • When a friend & I went to Paris in May, we discothequed and she ordered a Obamatini. Or maybe that wasn’t the name. Maybe just The Obama? Darn it, darn it, details. Cocktails are ridiculously expensive over there. Later on that week, I ordered a mango mojito at a bistro. Meh.

  • Equal parts? noooooooooooo! 2:1:1!

  • I think you are way too classy for this, Mr. Lebovitz, but I will tell you anyways in case you want to make it in secret!

    In Prague, I had a cocktail called Electric Lemonade. It was the blue curaçao with sprite and lemons. It was beautiful and delicious!! hahah.

    Good luck!

  • ben: I don’t know. As mentioned, I read that there’s 2 different “styles” of Sidecars. I only tried this one, which seemed plenty strong to me. But next time, will try out 2 parts Cognac. I might imagine it also depends on the brandy we’re using; I tried it with Courvoisier Exclusif, which they say is specially-made for making cocktails, but will certainly give this a go again soon and vary the ingredients…

    EdibleMarie: The French aren’t a cocktail culture, although that’s changing and you can find good drinks if you know where to go. (I gave a few places in the links.) One thing on the price: if you order, say, a gin and tonic in Paris, you’ll be charged for a shot of gin and a small bottle of tonic water.

    Renée: It’s next to my front door—which makes it easy to grab a bottle when I walk in from the outside : )

    Generally-speaking, I do steer guests away from ordering cocktails here (except Mojitos) since the price is high and unless you’re in a cocktail lounge, the drink likely won’t be made to your satisfaction. Wine and beer are good bets, and more reasonable.

    Dawn: Omg! Nice to hear from you. You were in my first book, Room for Dessert (do you remember?) as the waitress who told me my chocolate-coconut sorbet reminded you of a Mounds bar (which to me, was a compliment, since I love Mounds bars.) I remember your eyes lit up when you tasted it.

    Hope all is well xx dl

  • Dang! These things should come with a warning label!

    I read your blog post right before heading out to meet some friends at a bar in the East Village on Saturday night. Wowsers…I can normally hold my liquor, a sidecar is strong, if very tasty ;-)

  • We’ve been having a lot of debate about sidecars here recently. My favorite bartender serves his sidecars in a martini glass, English (or French, whatever you like) style. He was told he had to start serving them the way recommended by Mr. Boston, with the original recipe, and a brandy snifter. Who on earth would want to drink a cold beverage in a brandy snifter? People say it’s “traditional” but there are lots of traditions and some are better than others.

  • I know you say you’re not one for blue cocktails but you might want to make an exception. I would replace this cocktail for the Marsala for WTF moments. It’s definitely drinkable but it’s more about what it does to you. You’ll forget your WTF moment before you even realize it.

    Adios Muthaf**ka (it’s a real drink…promise)
    2 Parts Gin
    2 Parts Vodka
    1 Part Blue Curacao
    1 Part Pineapple Juice
    Club Soda

  • you can/should save your fruit poaching liquid to use in cocktails. one easy ratio for a good cocktail is equal parts lemon (or lime) and simple syrup, or the equivalent. (for example two parts grapefruit juice to one part syrup, or one part lemon to 1/2 part maple syrup. you can also make syrup by shaking sugar and fruit juice in a jar until dissolved.)

    combine one part of this mix to one to two parts base spirit, depending on taste and spirit. (generally speaking use less of the mix for darker spirits)

    since you just poached some pears, you could try:

    2 oz gin
    1 oz lime
    1 oz pear syrup

    shake with ice and serve in a chilled glass, same as the sidecar.

  • tkw: Thanks for the recipe! I’m going to try that out.

    Chacha: Yikes…. : 0

    Shannon: I don’t know if it’s traditional but I was recently at a cocktail party and the (very) icy drinks were served in round, orb-like glasses, which quickly became uncomfortable to hold. I don’t know if it was intended to get us to drink quickly, or what, but I prefer the stemmed glasses.

  • Since it was in your very early days that I learned about Cosmos from you ( and not Sex and the City, although it seems that they became very popular shortly after), I will now have to try these…..could be quite interesting and having the ingredients so handily in the house with the exception of the superfine sugar for the rim, it should be very easy…..now, the question is—-who do I invite to have the other sidecar with me???? And they should be very tasty while prepping for Thanksgiving soon!!

  • Oh c’mon, David…I always make a blue cocktail for our annual Hanukkah open house! It’s delightfully tacky and festive!

  • My first sidecar was in Egypt. On a Nile cruise, the very young bartender who did not drink himself had a book of cocktail recipes and each night there was a special on offer. It felt rude to not to try his efforts, but some of the combinations were not at all appealing. The Sidecar, however, was a hit – and definitely lubricated the crowd for dancing under the stars to the local musicians brought on board for the night. I occassionally order a Sidecar, and it always reminds me of sultry Nile nights. Some of the suggestions above may inspre me to get out the shaker and whip up some Sidecars for the holidays.

  • It is awesomely warm and summer is truly on the way in Melbourne, Australia so I couldn’t resist purchasing campari and vermouth to make negronis. We are about to sit out under the huge tree in the park next door and watch the sun set over the city, drinking gigantic icey glasses topped with juicy orange slices to suck at the end.

    Might have to have more than one!

  • Like tkw, I also happened upon the idea of using the pear poaching liquid in my sidecar. I had just made one (delicious, btw–where has this been all my life?) as I was finishing up a batch of poached pears with a vanilla bean and a few strips of orange peel. Once I reduced the liquid to a nice syrup, I added a spoonful or two to the sidecar, and it’s given the sidecar a lovely, subtly fragrant note. Highly recommended.

  • Ok, so many months later and I am still addicted to side cars and variants there of.

    It was a long day, after leading a class where we made multiple types of tortelli stuffed with freshly made ricotta and chevre.

    So instead of tucking into a large bowl of left over ricotta and honey I gave in to requests to make cocktails.

    Here in the SF Bay area our blood orange tree doesn’t get quite enough heat so it produces fruit a bit more tart that those I buy at the store. We just finished our second round of what I call “bloody sidecars” with blood orange juice in place of the lemon.

    As you did, I have emptied multiple partial bottles of cognac, armagnac, and brandy. Our favorite, which alas didn’t last to the second round was a bottle from the now defunct Carneros Alambic distillery in Napa. It added a wonderfuil vanilla note (maybe this is what the pear poaching liquid is bringing?).

    The blood orange tree is now picked bare. Next round will be meyer lemon with the possible addition of some of the canning liquid from the pears I put up last fall.

    Thank you for your ongoing inspiration.

  • I had the same problem with Blue Curacao: what to do with it?This was one of my own WTF moments also. I solved it by watering my winter flowering bulbs- paperwhites and amaryllis, with a mix of Blue Curacao and water. Ethyl alcohol will make the flowers have shorter stems, which is a good thing. Sometimes the stems are so long on houseplants that the flowers break off or just flop over.
    A popular mix is 7 parts water to one of vodka, but I had lots of Blue Curacao and so I used that. My results were good, except the white paperwhites had a blue cast to them. You can Google alcohol and amaryllis and see for yourself what reasearch says.

  • My understanding of the provenance of the Sidecar is as follows: a gentleman who frequented the famed Harry’s Bar either drove a motorcycle with a sidecar or was the occupant of a sidecar on a motorcycle driven by someone else. After requesting a cocktail of the bartender, the wise fellow came up with this concoction. As a lover of the drink, I find a nice variation on the traditional recipe to be a decent cognac (Hennessey is fine) with fresh lime juice and the remainder of the recipe.

  • My new favorite drink is very similar to this, but uses bourbon instead of cognac/brandy. Here’s my recipe:

    1 oz bourbon
    1/2 oz (or more to taste) Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
    1 oz fresh lemon juice

    Shaken or on the rocks, it’s up to you. I like mine with an orange twist, but a lemon twist would do just fine. It’s good with or without a sugar rim, but I prefer it without.