Puttin' on the Ritz
Hello friends! We were just chatting with Henry, and he hopes that you enjoyed learning about the
cat-egories of brandy last week. This week, he wanted to share his favorite brandy cocktail with you: the Sidecar.
The Sidecar was created around World War I at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Or maybe it was developed at Harry's New York bar in Paris. Or maybe it was invented in London. Or maybe not. You know that alcohol history is always a bit hazy. Regardless, this lovely cocktail has been sparkling on palates for at least a century.
The beauty of the Sidecar is that it can actually serve as a template for
your own cocktail creations. The essence of this drink is a spirit,
plus a hefty amount of a liqueur, plus an acidic citrus juice. In its traditional recipe, this translates to Cognac, plus Cointreau (an orange-flavored liqueur), plus lemon juice. You can also see this template in action in a margarita, which is tequila, plus Cointreau, plus lime juice. Both of these drinks are derived from the sour template, proving that once you know your basic cocktail formulas, the sky's the limit on what you can create!
The reason why the Sidecar works as a cocktail template is the three ingredients bring balance to each other: the main spirit is sweetened by the liqueur and countered by the sourness of the citrus, resulting in a beautiful synergy of flavors where the flavors meld together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
So, keep an eye out for this template on cocktail menus and see if you can spot variations in the wild. When you're experimenting in your home bar, play with your favorite flavor combinations. Swap out the base spirit, the liqueur, and/or the acid/citrus. Remember, you're trying to achieve balance between the spirit, the sweetener, and the sour components, so you might need to adjust the proportions according to the properties of each ingredient. It's fun and a great way to develop your palate! Let us know what you create!
1 1/2 oz. Cognac
1 oz. Cointreau
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Sip & enjoy!
Optional: the Sidecar is traditionally served with a sugar rim. This is a nice addition if the cocktail is a bit dry on your palate -- the little boost of sugar can add a tiny bit of sweetness and balance with each sip. If you want to add a sugar rim, take a lemon wedge and run it around the outside rim of the glass (before filling it with your cocktail!). Roll the rim in a small plate of sugar. It also looks really pretty!