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The Sidecar


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100 replies to this topic

#31 Liz Johnson

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 12:24 PM

Isn't the cherry smash a sidecar version too? I think it had cognac and lemon, anyway. I had that when I went last weekend.

edit to say yes, indeed: from www.flatironlounge.com:

CHERRY SMASH
Brandied cherries smashed with Kirsch Cherry Liqueur and mixed with Cognac and fresh lemon


Edited by Liz Johnson, 24 February 2005 - 12:54 PM.

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#32 slkinsey

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 01:22 PM

Yea... at some point we get into the whole question of how much does the cocktail have to change before it's no longer a Sidecar. Using GranGala instead of Cointreau is close enough, I think. But the Cherry Smash strikes me as more Sidecar-inspired rather than a Sidecar variation. On the other hand, it's probably no more a deviation than Audrey's Tantris Sidecar -- perhaps less. Here is a link to a recipe for the drink, which seems to contain Courvoisier VS cognac, orange curaçao, Schladerer Edel Kirsch, lemon juice and muddled brandied cherries.

The thing that's so great about a classic formula like the Sidecar is that it can be the basis for so many diversions. It's just brandy, triple sec and lemon juice. Substitute maraschino for the triple sec? You've got a totally different drink. In fact, it's almost impossible to go wrong with some variation of the classic combination of base liquor, orange liqueur and citrus. That's how I came up with the "Eighteenth Century Cocktail" which, while nowhere near as complex or inventive as the sorts of things a real pro like Julie or Audrey can come up with, still turns out to be the most popular drink I've ever thought up.
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#33 eje

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 03:17 PM

In that spirit, what are the preferred cognacs for a Sidecar? I'm not happy with Croizet VSOP (too dry?) and can't remember what my previous bottle was that I did like. In general, I prefer the smaller labels over the big corporate distilleries (for just about everything alcoholic, not just cognac!).

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I haven't tried it in a Sidecar, yet; but, picked up some Germain-Robin Fine Alambic brandy to make an attempt at the original brandy Sazerac, and am really pleased with it for mixing and drinking. Very smooth stuff.

It is also great mixed 2 to 1 with benedictine and a couple shakes of Peychaux (Good Fellow variation).

Erik
(Sorry to repeat myself to the readers of the "Hennesey" thread.)
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#34 slkinsey

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 05:52 PM

Since Liz put Sidecars in my mind, but finding myself without brandy, I made a variation tonight: an Applejack Sidecar. 2 ounces Laird's blended applejack, 1 ounce GranGala and just unded 1 ounce fresh lemon juice. I'd love to try this with Laird's bonded applejack. Since the blended applejack is a little rough around the edges, I used GranGala instead of Cointreau to give it a bit more roundness. Very nice!
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#35 Liz Johnson

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 06:19 PM

Why oh why did I forget to pick up pineapple juice on the way home? Now I'm snowed in without a Tantris. Regular it will have to be. Cheers. Keep warm!
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#36 ThinkingBartender

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 05:32 AM

I recently "found" an Old Newspaper article, which refers to the Monkey Gland, but more importantly to the Side-car. The interesting point about this article is that it shows a different recipe to the one listed by Robert Vermiere in his 1922 book "Cocktails: How to Mix Them", and it is only a year after


18 May 1923, COSHOCTON TRIBUNE (Coshocton, Ohio), pg. 1, col. 6:

"MONKEY GLAND" IS POPULAR IN PARIS
New Cocktail Is So-Called Because It Has "Wallop;" "Side-car" is Another

PARIS, May 18.--"A monkey gland in a hurry!"

That's the latest order in Paris bars, not in the hospitals.
A "monkey gland" is a new cocktail which has what veteran bar hounds call an "awful wallop." It was invented by a famous Paris bartender particularly
to attract the attention of newly arrived American tourists.
The ingredients consist of one-half gin, one-half orange juice, a dash of
absinthe and a dash of grenadine, all well shaken together with plenty of ice.
Another new cocktail, second only in popularity to the monkey gland, has been named a "side-car," because it takes the imbiber for a ride.
Two-thirds brandy, one-sixth Cintreau (sic) and one-sixth lemon juice make
up this concoction.



Cheers!

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#37 Graphix

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 09:34 PM

heh, a friend at souther wines and spirits made me a sidecar with martell XO, and grand ma. 150, what a treat :-)

#38 TallDrinkOfWater

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 11:17 AM

In Seattle, it seems to be a common trend to make Sidecars using Metaxa brandy -- I've seen them or had them them that way at 10 Mercer, Shea's Lounge, Palace Kitchen, Mona's and others. I make them that way at home now too. Something about the Metaxa gives an added depth to the drink.
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#39 Dan Ryan

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 11:50 AM

I believe Metaxa is blended with wine (muscat) and infused with botanicals. It's an interesting substitute for brandy in cocktails, although sometimes it lacks a little bite. Shouldn't be too hard to adjust the balance in a sidecar.

#40 Troy Sidle

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 11:47 AM

Reviving a topic from a few years ago, I'm wondering if my question is answered in another thread. However, I'll ask anyway.

What is the history of the sidecar?

In this thread Splif notes that there are a couple of versions going around since the 1920s but I'm wondering two things: 1) where does it first show up in print and 2) is there any validity to the connection of an imbibing military officer and his mode of transportation?

#41 slkinsey

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 11:59 AM

I think the first recipe (for a drink in equal parts) appeared in Robert Vermiere's "Cocktails: How to Mix Them" around 1922, where it is credited to one MacGarry of Buck's Club in London.

The "motorcycle sidecar myth" strikes me as just that: a myth. Or at least something that can't be substantiated. As far as I can tell, this myth originated with Embury. Others may have better information. Me? I like Embury for the technique abnd approach, but take much of what he says (including the ratios) with a grain of salt.

Seems like a fairly straightforward descendant of the Brandy Crusta.

Edited by slkinsey, 11 March 2009 - 12:02 PM.

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#42 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 12:13 PM

Seems like a fairly straightforward descendant of the Brandy Crusta.

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I think the whole Crusta connection to the Sidecar and similar drinks is a red herring--evidence points to the Crusta as an evolutionary dead end, a fancy cocktail with a citrus accent that we may never have even noticed much if it hadn't cought Jerry Thomas' fancy. I'd be very curious how popular these drinks actually were in their heyday.

As far as the actual parentage of the Sidecar (and Margarita), I think Mr. Wondrich makes an extremely compelling case in Imbibe for thos drinks being derived from the Daisy, which had no connection to the Crusta in the 19th century drinkmaking paradigm. My copy is loaned out so I can't cite the specific pages or anything, but if memory serves the Crusta was about the booze; a true cock-tail. The Daisy was about the blend of spirit, liqueur, and citrus, which fits the notion we have of a Sidecar today. Once it lost it's leavening splash of soda and began to be served without ice in the glass, then I think you can say the leap to Sidecar is straightforward.
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#43 slkinsey

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 12:16 PM

Makes sense to me!
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#44 Troy Sidle

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 03:49 PM

Re-reading Embury's account, he purportedly knew the guy who invented the drink in Paris referring to the WWI captain story. But he doesn't mention the bartender or the captain by name. It seems he assumes the reader already knows the story. So I'm deducing the myth (if it's that) doesn't originate with his book.

Embury's account is in conflict with what Sam recalls from Vermiere's book (one I haven't read). I'll have to get my hands on a copy.

So I'm no closer to understanding the origins of the name.

#45 eje

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 04:41 PM

I think the whole Crusta connection to the Sidecar and similar drinks is a red herring--evidence points to the Crusta as an evolutionary dead end, a fancy cocktail with a citrus accent that we may never have even noticed much if it hadn't caught Jerry Thomas' fancy. I'd be very curious how popular these drinks actually were in their heyday.
[...]

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I do think the evolution of drinks from those with dashes of bitters and citrus, like the Crusta and Casino, to the drinks like the Pegu Club and Sidecar with less bitters and more citrus makes sense as a representation of what was going on in drink culture.

And, yes, the style of drinks with dashes of citrus seems to have died out as produce transportation modernized and refrigeration became more common. There was no reason to be so shy with your citrus juices.

It's also worth noting that the most ostensible link between the Crusta and the Sidecar, the sugar rim, is not a feature of early recipes for the Sidecar cocktail.
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#46 brinza

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:30 AM

It's also worth noting that the most ostensible link between the Crusta and the Sidecar, the sugar rim, is not a feature of early recipes for the Sidecar cocktail.

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Interesting that you mention that, as just recently I was reading an article describing Sidecars as being made with a sugared rim, implying that it was essential to how the drink is served. That got a raised eyebrow out of me, thinking that that didn't seem right.
Mike

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#47 CincyCraig

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:39 PM

Hi, I wanted to throw my 2 cents in.

I keep two brandies in my bar for mixing; Paul Masson Grande Amber VSOP (a blend of French Cognac & California brandy, recommended by Dave Wondrich in Esquire recently), and Hardy VS Cognac. Hardy sells for about $20 in these parts, and is a very good Cognac-it's almost good enough to drink neat. The Masson is pretty refined for it's $12 price and makes for a very good mixing brandy. If I'm making a quick mid-week sidecar, I use the Masson. For weekends, or when we have guests over, I use Hardy's. Using good Cognac definitely makes for a much more refined sidecar.

I don't think that you can make a good sidecar with triple sec or curacao, IMHO. The alcohol level is too low (some brands are as little as 12% ABV) and there is too much residual sugar in these liqueurs. Cointreau is 80 proof (40% ABV) by contrast and has a much more refined taste than the liqueurs. Unfortunately, it's not cheap. I have found one or two Cointreau knockoffs that are decent, the best of which is Luxardo's Triplum. Triplum is a pretty close Cointreau knockoff and it's $10-$12 less expensive than the name brand while still being 78 proof.

Grand Marnier, or one of it's knockoffs (Torres Orange or Grand Gala) makes for an interesting twist on the classic, though I find that you must adjust your ratios a little bit to compensate for somewhat sweeter taste of the Grand Marnier vs the Cointreau.

Again, just my 2 cents.

Edited by CincyCraig, 13 March 2009 - 12:08 AM.

During lunch with the Arab leader Ibn Saud, when he heard that the king’s religion forbade smoking and alcohol, Winston Churchill said: "I must point out that my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite the smoking of cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after, and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." Ibn Saud relented and the lunch went on with both alcohol & cigars.

#48 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 01:07 AM

I keep two brandies in my bar for mixing; Paul Masson Grande Amber VSOP (a blend of French Cognac & California brandy, recommended by Dave Wondrich in Esquire recently), and Hardy VS Cognac.

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I also stock those same two brandies, along with the Kelt VSOP and occasionally the Martel VS when Hardy is unavailable or the price is right. I love both the price, versatility, and balance of the Hardy and while I don't make Sidecars with the Masson, it works tolerably well for many by the glass Jerry Thomas-type punches, Tiki applications, and liqueur making (and I suspect a drinkable stinger as well). It's youthfulness can take a toll in the morning if you're not careful though. Not that I would know anything about that.
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#49 MattJohnson

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 05:28 AM

I find that luxardo triplum is not a great substitute for Cointreau in drinks where it plays a major role (like sidecar). Its not bad, but I was trying to save the 12 bucks and it just didn't cut it - and I'm all about finding value booze and not just drinking the expensive stuff because it must be good if they charge a high price.

I've also found that a big bottle of Cointreau goes such a long way, the investment is worth it. I'd almost go as far as saying save a bit of money on the brandy and invest it in the Cointreau.

My biggest problem with sidecars is consistency of my lemons - The sourness/sweetness always varies from week to week. Making sidecars is like making pancakes The first one always ends up messed up, but after making a few, they're perfect.

Edited by MattJohnson, 13 March 2009 - 05:28 AM.


#50 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 09:04 AM

Making sidecars is like making pancakes  The first one always ends up messed up, but after making a few, they're perfect.

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Also much like pancakes, an imperfect one is still pretty good (provided its a lemon issue and not the use of dekuyper tripe sec, christian brothers brandy, and sour mix).
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#51 MattJohnson

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 10:24 AM

Also much like pancakes, an imperfect one is still pretty good

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Quite right!

#52 Splificator

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Posted 13 March 2009 - 03:14 PM

Re-reading Embury's account, he purportedly knew the guy who invented the drink in Paris referring to the WWI captain story. But he doesn't mention the bartender or the captain by name. It seems he assumes the reader already knows the story. So I'm deducing the myth (if it's that) doesn't originate with his book.

Embury's account is in conflict with what Sam recalls from Vermiere's book (one I haven't read). I'll have to get my hands on a copy.

So I'm no closer to understanding the origins of the name.

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See, the problem with Embury's account is that there's no evidence to back it up; so why should we credit any more than, say, Odd McIntyre's account from 1934:

New York Day-By-Day, by O. O. McIntyre  4/10/1934
NEW, YORK, April 10. — Many boys about town are credited as inventors of that tasty and highly potent libation—the Side Car cocktail. Tippy Gray, Jay O’Brien, Ben Finney and Harry Craddock of London’s Savoy bar are among legendary sponsors. But not one had anything to do with it. Here is the true, unimpeachable story of its origin.
Basil Woon, Erskine Gwynne and Joe Thompson arrived in rue Danou [sic] one evening at proper time for tiffin. John, the bartender at Henri’s for years, was late. But finally half-staggered in with a bleeding forehead.
He explained his motor cycle with a sidecar was hors de combat, likewise his wife, but here he was and what would it be, gentlemen? Thompson ordered Cointreau. Woon a fine, and Erskine, on the wagon, desired orange bitters. Dazed from his mishap, John thought they were the ingredients the cocktail crazy Americans had conceived and shook them up together. Et voila. The Side Car!
      The mixture proved delicious. Each had three and immediately started out to ring doorbells. John has long since retired to his “propriete,” for like all bartenders he has one down in Vaucluse. Now at the local bistro he often recalls to his townsmen how the Side Car was born.

Although this is pretty ridiculous, it at least checks out to the extent that Henri's existed (actually, it was "Henry's," and located in Rue Volney, around the corner from Rue Daonou, but close enough; in any case, it was one of the oldest American bars in Europe). The head bartender was indeed John. The orange bitters are a litte odd, but the Cointreau and "fine" (i.e., fine champagne cognac) are right. Woon and the others were well-known Paris barfiles.
I'm not saying I believe this account, just that when you have numerous stories (there are others I don't have time to toss in) and no new evidence, you'll never get to the bottom of it.
aka David Wondrich

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#53 shantytownbrown

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 09:29 AM

can someone tell an amateur like me what happens to the cocktail name when you change the spirit of a sidecar without changing the other ingredients or proportions...

I imagine you do not order a "rum sidecar"...?? or do you?

and what spirtis work best to sub for the brandy? I like to mix it up a bit at times...

#54 bostonapothecary

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 09:37 AM

can someone tell an amateur like me what happens to the cocktail name when you change the spirit of a sidecar without changing the other ingredients or proportions...

I imagine you do not order a "rum sidecar"...?? or do you?

and what spirtis work best to sub for the brandy? I like to mix it up a bit at times...

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bacardi eight year with its "rum oil" sort of character... (and it doesn't break the bank!) other heavy spirits have too many stuck flavors like vanilla or caramel.
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#55 shantytownbrown

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 09:56 AM

can someone tell an amateur like me what happens to the cocktail name when you change the spirit of a sidecar without changing the other ingredients or proportions...

I imagine you do not order a "rum sidecar"...?? or do you?

and what spirtis work best to sub for the brandy? I like to mix it up a bit at times...

View Post


bacardi eight year with its "rum oil" sort of character... (and it doesn't break the bank!) other heavy spirits have too many stuck flavors like vanilla or caramel.

View Post


just to clarify..not just rum...what about other spirits brown or white...


and the "names" if any exist...

#56 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 10:49 AM

can someone tell an amateur like me what happens to the cocktail name when you change the spirit of a sidecar without changing the other ingredients or proportions...

I imagine you do not order a "rum sidecar"...?? or do you?

and what spirtis work best to sub for the brandy? I like to mix it up a bit at times...

View Post


bacardi eight year with its "rum oil" sort of character... (and it doesn't break the bank!) other heavy spirits have too many stuck flavors like vanilla or caramel.

View Post


just to clarify..not just rum...what about other spirits brown or white...


and the "names" if any exist...

View Post


The delicious and classic White Lady subs gin and I believe typically adds an eggwhite. Most other formulae involve a switch to lime juice so I'm not sure if thats what you are looking for. Gary Regan's classic Joy of Mixology has an extensive section on cocktail "families" -- essentially the structural relationships that cocktails have centered around a theme such as (for example) sours with orange liqueurs as the sweetener. A must-have, even if you might not agree with all the precise recipes (I don't).
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#57 slkinsey

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 12:57 PM

can someone tell an amateur like me what happens to the cocktail name when you change the spirit of a sidecar without changing the other ingredients or proportions...

The formula of spirit, Cointreau, sour is a classic combination which forms the foundation of many of the greatest classics as well as familiar modern cocktails.

For example...

Sidecar: cognac, Cointreau, lemon
Margarita: tequila, Cointreau, lime
Between the Sheets: rum and cognac, Cointreau, lemon
Cosmopolitan: citrus vodka, Cointreau, lime (touch of cranberry)

And so on...
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#58 jsmeeker

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 02:30 PM

can someone tell an amateur like me what happens to the cocktail name when you change the spirit of a sidecar without changing the other ingredients or proportions...

The formula of spirit, Cointreau, sour is a classic combination which forms the foundation of many of the greatest classics as well as familiar modern cocktails.

For example...

Sidecar: cognac, Cointreau, lemon
Margarita: tequila, Cointreau, lime
Between the Sheets: rum and cognac, Cointreau, lemon
Cosmopolitan: citrus vodka, Cointreau, lime (touch of cranberry)

And so on...

View Post



Circling back to the previously mentioned "Joy of Mixology", Regan calls this family of drinks "New Orleans Sours". I think every home bar should always have Cointreau on hand. Add in fresh lemons and limes, you can make a lot of good drinks.

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#59 shantytownbrown

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 05:03 PM

can someone tell an amateur like me what happens to the cocktail name when you change the spirit of a sidecar without changing the other ingredients or proportions...

The formula of spirit, Cointreau, sour is a classic combination which forms the foundation of many of the greatest classics as well as familiar modern cocktails.

For example...

Sidecar: cognac, Cointreau, lemon
Margarita: tequila, Cointreau, lime
Between the Sheets: rum and cognac, Cointreau, lemon
Cosmopolitan: citrus vodka, Cointreau, lime (touch of cranberry)

And so on...

View Post


are these all made in the 3:2:1 combo...?

I will look into JoM by Gary Regan..i need to build a better library...

#60 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 14 March 2009 - 05:09 PM

can someone tell an amateur like me what happens to the cocktail name when you change the spirit of a sidecar without changing the other ingredients or proportions...

The formula of spirit, Cointreau, sour is a classic combination which forms the foundation of many of the greatest classics as well as familiar modern cocktails.

For example...

Sidecar: cognac, Cointreau, lemon
Margarita: tequila, Cointreau, lime
Between the Sheets: rum and cognac, Cointreau, lemon
Cosmopolitan: citrus vodka, Cointreau, lime (touch of cranberry)

And so on...

View Post


are these all made in the 3:2:1 combo...?

I will look into JoM by Gary Regan..i need to build a better library...

View Post


3:2:1 is his preferred ratio, or at least starting point, but the Between the Sheets, for example, is nearly equal parts, going scant on the lemon (in his version). As far as the others go, I think the 2:1:1 ratio for Sidecars and Margaritas is more favored, at least on this forum, but it really is a matter of preference. As for myself, I find the 2:1:1 very well balanced and slightly rich, but trying to make a more tart version than that takes things out of balance I think. Those with a preference for sweeter drinks can cut back on the citrus or add a sugar rim.
Andy Arrington

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