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kvltrede

The Sidecar

105 posts in this topic

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

Quite right!

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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.

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

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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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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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...

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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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...

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.

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

and the "names" if any exist...

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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...

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.

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

and the "names" if any exist...

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).


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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

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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...

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.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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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...

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...

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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...

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...

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

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Article in last Sunday's Chronicle:

The Keys to the Sidecar, Jon Bonne

The sidecar, simple? You've fallen into the classic trap.

This timeless cocktail relies on three simple ingredients: brandy, orange liqueur and lemon juice. That simplicity obscures a more confusing reality. By slightly shifting the three, you can emerge with more than a half-dozen notably different drinks. Cocktail books are all over the map. Under the sidecar rubric can be found the crazy tart, fiercely boozy or marginally potable.


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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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

Answering this question in the category of "New Orleans Sours" from the Gary Regan book is the Missing Link: Dark rum w/Cointreau and lemon in the 3;2;1 formula.

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Not sure that will help you much in ordering a drink at a bar. As far as I know, that's a Gary Special.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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...

This isn't really going to answer your question, but I do often order a rum old fashioned (which I've also heard referred to, but not always, as a treacle). I don't know if this is weird, but it's what I do.

As far as understanding families of drinks, I also highly recommend Joy of Mixology. I had been struggling with relating cocktails to each other for a couple of years ("this is like X, but Y") and Gary's book really put it into perspective for me.

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Daisy, I don't think there's anything "incorrect" or misleading about ordering a [specify your spirit] Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned is more a family of drinks than a specific drink. So long as you have sugar, bitters and booze on a big piece of ice with a twist, you've got an Old Fashioned.

A Sidecar, on the other hand, is a specific drink calling for a specific spirit. Still, I don't necessary think there's anything wrong with telling a bartender (one who presumably knows how to make a decent Sidecar) that you want "something like a Sidecar, but with rum."


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I don't believe the folloowing quote for a second, but it's one more claim to the creation of the Sidecar, this one made by a bartender who tended toward a little bragging (and what good bartender doesn't?) :biggrin:

“On my night off I went visiting a few places—busman’s holiday. In one place, the young bartender approached me for the order. He said he could make any kind of drink I wanted. So just for the fun of it I said, ‘Could you suggest something in the line of a cocktail?’

‘Yes sir, just let me make it, and you’ll like it.’

Sure enough he made one, and the minute I tasted it I knew it was a sidecar cocktail that I had originated many years ago. I was rather surprised myself, and, over the young man’s objections, I almost but not quite convinced him that it was the drink that I originated.” My 35 Years Behind Bars: Memories and Advice of a Bartender, Including a Liquor Guide by Johnny Brooks. New York, Exposition Press: 1954.


“The practice is to commence with a brandy or gin ‘cocktail’ before breakfast, by way of an appetizer. Subsequently, a ‘digester’ will be needed. Then, in due course and at certain intervals, a ‘refresher,’ a ‘reposer,’ a ‘settler,’ a ‘cooler,’ an ‘invigorator,’ a ‘sparkler,’ and a ‘rouser,’ pending the final ‘nightcap,’ or midnight dram.” Life and Society in America by Samuel Phillips Day. Published by Newman and Co., 1880.

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This isn't really going to answer your question, but I do often order a rum old fashioned (which I've also heard referred to, but not always, as a treacle).

:huh:

A Treacle contains apple-juice (dark rum, sugar, bitters, apple juice, ice), whereas a Rum Old Fashioned for me, doesn't (rum, sugar, bitters, ice).


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This isn't really going to answer your question, but I do often order a rum old fashioned (which I've also heard referred to, but not always, as a treacle).

:huh:

A Treacle contains apple-juice (dark rum, sugar, bitters, apple juice, ice), whereas a Rum Old Fashioned for me, doesn't (rum, sugar, bitters, ice).

Then it's a good thing I don't call it that!

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Going back to one of my first (cocktail) loves, the Sidecar. A few years ago, when I did not know anything about cocktails, I made myself a sidecar after being intrigued by this recipe in one of Jamie Oliver's early books. Needless to say, I loved it and the rest is history... :smile:

Anyway - there is a Sidecar variation with aged rum substituted for the cognac in the Bartender's Choice app. It's the XYZ Cocktail, first published in the Savoy Cocktail book.

I wanted to finish up a couple of bottles of rum (in an effort to make room for new ones...) so we tried Appleton 12 year and Flor de Cana gold 4 year side-by-side. Appleton 12 was the clear winner, more depth of flavor whereas the Flor de Cana felt thin in comparison. I want to try it next with Havana Club 7 per David Wondrich's recommendation in Esquire.

8378068431_93da29890d_z.jpg

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Yeah the Montgomery County (MD, across the river) liquor monopoly, which oddly, is the cheapest outlet in the area and has good selection - had Appleton 12 at $25 for a few months running so I bought a few bottles. They've also had Mount Gay XO for $35 since Summer 2011.

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Robert Hess calls a Rum Sidecar an Outrigger, on one of his videos.

I can't remember his reasoning, other than "XYZ doesn't sound much like a rum cocktail"


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