Lesson Two: Recipes

Chapter Nine: Sour But Suave, aka The Sidecar

Supporting Cast:
Margarita

Sidecar

Like just about every single one of the acknowledged classics, the Sidecar does not know who its parents were. Invented sometime around the end of World War I, in Paris (probably) or London (possibly) or somewhere in the north of France or south of Belgium (unlikely), the Sidecar is essentially a streamlined compromise between the old Brandy Daisy, which married brandy, lemon juice, and liqueur with a splash of fizz water, and the Brandy Crusta, a similar New Orleans drink from which the Sidecar inherits its sugar-rimmed glass.

It caught on quickly and soon became one of the defining fashion accessories of its time. During Prohibition, this was the chic drink in America, a testament to the sophistication of your bootlegger. Cognac and Cointreau took some procuring, or at least careful counterfeiting. It was equally popular on the other side of the Atlantic, being one of the chief lubricants of the London-Paris social axis. By World War II, it was somewhat in decline, what with the unfortunate shortage of French ingredients. By the 1970s, it had ceased to be one of the standard bar drinks, and it still isn’t. This is a shame, for there are few drinks as perfect in their composition: the Sidecar is an essay in simplicity and balance. To sip one properly made is to know the meaning of the good life.

1 lemon wedge
Superfine sugar
2 ounces VSOP cognac
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce lemon juice

Before chilling your cocktail glass, moisten its outside rim to a depth of 1/2 inch with the lemon wedge and then roll the rim in superfine sugar. Shake the cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice and strain into the chilled glass.

Margarita

At some point in the late 1930s, somebody got the bright idea of making a tequila Sidecar, with lime juice instead of the lemon and a glass rimmed with salt instead of sugar (tequila popularly being administered with a lick of salt and a slice of lime). The first notice of this practice comes in 1937, from London of all places, where the bartenders at the Café Royal somehow got their hands on a bottle of tequila and did some experimenting. But they called their version the Picador, not the Margarita, and didn’t use the salt rim. It’s entirely possible that the Margarita was born—in Texas, California, or Mexico—without prior knowledge of the Picador.

1 lemon wedge
Coarse salt
2 ounces reposado or blanco (silver) tequila made from 100 percent agave
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce lime juice

Before chilling your cocktail or Margarita glass, moisten its outside rim to a depth of 1/2 inch with the lemon wedge and then roll the rim in salt. Shake the tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice and strain into the chilled glass.

Margarita

Ryan Demonstrates How To Make a Margarita.

Margarita
Using a fresh lime, coat the rim of the glass
Lightly rim the glass with salt then set aside
In mixing glass add;
1.5 oz Silver Tequilla
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Coinrtreau
1/4 oz Agave Nectar
Add ice and shake
Strain into cocktail glass
Garnish with lime wheel

Sidecar

Ryan Demonstrates How To Make a Sidecar.

Sidecar
Run a lemon wedge along half of the outside of the cockail glass
Carefully rim the outside of the glass with sugar then set aside
In mixing glass add;
1.5 oz of VS Cognac
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Cointreau
Add ice and shake
Strain into cocktail glass

Reproduced from “Killer Cocktails” by David Wondrich.

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