Old, but gold! The Sidecar, mixed from brandy, triple sec and lemon juice, is definitely worth a try.

Old, but gold! The Sidecar, mixed from brandy, triple sec and lemon juice, is definitely worth a try.
© Shutterstock

A fast thing: the history of the sidecar

Summer Cocktail

When you think of cocktails with cognac, it's hard to ignore the Sidecar. Falstaff reveals whether it was actually first mixed in a sidecar and what makes it so special.

Admittedly, drinks with brandy are not at the top of many connoisseurs' lists. But the classic mix of brandy, triple sec and lemon juice is definitely worth a try, as it is not only damn tasty, but also versatile. However, the origins of the Sidecar are shrouded in the mists of history and so the basic ingredient – brandy or cognac – is ultimately unclear.

In the years after the First World War, the most common legend takes us either to the Café de Paris in Paris or the famous Harry's New York Bar in London. In one of them, an American officer who wanted to warm up after a ride in the sidecar of a motorcycle is said to have provided the inspiration for this drink. Another version of the story suggests that the cocktail was first mixed in London's Buck's Club. Regardless of its exact place of origin, the Sidecar quickly gained popularity and found its place in the best bars in the world.

The classic Sidecar consists of three main ingredients: Cognac, triple sec (like Cointreau) and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The ratio of these ingredients varies slightly depending on the recipe, but a balance of equal parts ensures the perfect balance between the sweetness of the triple sec, the acidity of the lemon juice and the deep, rich flavours of the cognac or brandy. If you like it drier, you can also use David A. Embury's recipe from 1949, which combines 6 cl brandy, 1.5 cl lemon juice and 0.8 cl Cointreau. Typically, the Sidecar is shaken with ice in a cocktail shaker and then served in a pre-chilled cocktail glass. A sugar rim on the glass is optional, but many connoisseurs swear by this sweet addition, which harmoniously rounds off the drink.

In recent years, the Sidecar has experienced a gentle renaissance, particularly in the wake of growing interest in classic cocktails, the craft cocktail movement and the efforts of various cognac and liqueur houses to establish it as a signature drink. Modern interpretations of the Sidecar experiment with different types of brandy and add alternative ingredients to create new flavour experiences. Thanks to these innovations, the Sidecar remains a symbol of the elegance and style of the golden era of cocktails, as well as a representative of exciting modern classics.


Sidecar twist: the Ghevar

© Shutterstock


  • 6 cl cognac
  • 1.5 cl orange liqueur
  • 1 cl Pedro Ximenez sherry
  • 0.5 cl honey syrup
  • 1.5 cl lemon juice

Shake all the ingredients in a shaker over ice and strain into a coupe.

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Alexander Thürer
Alexander Thürer
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