Sign up to save this recipe to your profile Sign Up Now ›
1 drink Easy
Total: Active:
2 Ratings 

Ingredients (3)

  • 1 ounce brandy
  • 3/4 ounce Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Try Amazon Fresh
Nutritional Information
  • Calories119
  • Fat0.05g
  • Saturated fat0.01g
  • Trans fat
  • Carbs1.47g
  • Fiber0.06g
  • Sugar0.54g
  • Protein0.07g
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium0.71mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (1 servings) Powered by

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.


A Sidecar is a methodical blend of brandy, Cointreau, and fresh lemon juice. When actor Robert Armstrong is told by a policeman that the airplanes got King Kong, he replies, “It wasn’t the airplanes; it was beauty killed the beast.” Well, it was vodka that killed—or severely maimed—the Sidecar. By the 1930s, the brandy Sidecar was merrily rolling along. H. L. Mencken praised it as one of a dozen cocktails of any real worth. As vodka cocktails entered the fast lane, followed in tow by rum drinks, classics like the Sidecar were slowly left in the dust. One occasionally hears them being ordered in bars, but their resurgence is still wishful thinking.

The Sidecar has been with us at least since Prohibition, when the drink’s authorship was claimed by Harry’s New York Bar and named for a customer who arrived in the sidecar of a motorcycle. David Embury gives us his version in The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks: “It was invented by a friend of mine at a bar in Paris, during World War I, and was named after yet another motorcycle sidecar in which the good captain customarily was driven to and from the little bistro where the drink was born and christened.” Based on these stories, one may ask why there are no Motorcycles, Taxis, or Velocipedes on bar menus.

If you do find the Sidecar in your local lounge, chances are that your bartender uses a sour or lemon mix. Stick with straight lemon juice. Although an endangered species, the Sidecar is a classic obligatory for the home bartender.

The Sidecar has undergone dramatic variations, but the classic version is always made with a harmony of tastes and contrasts in mind. It should be the precise ratio of sharp, sweet, and tart—and always cold. Some bartenders lightly sugar the rim of the glass for a further subtlety. Once again, use straight lemon juice in a Sidecar. Since the brandy is there for its punch, you do not need to use your best brandy or Cognac.

Get The Cookbook

Field Guide to Cocktails

by Rob Chirico

Buy Now


  1. 1Pour all ingredients over ice into a chilled Old Fashioned glass.


Applecar: Substitute applejack or apple brandy for the brandy.

Boston Sidecar: Substitute 3/4 ounce brandy and 3/4 ounce light rum for the brandy, and fresh lime juice for the lemon juice.

BMW Sidecar: Substitute Grand Marnier for the Cointreau.

Load Comments

Recommended from Chowhound

6 Ways to Make Your Smoothies Taste Totally Amazing
How To

6 Ways to Make Your Smoothies Taste Totally Amazing

by Gretchen Lidicker | If you want make the best smoothie of all time, take these easy tips and tricks to heart. Too sweet...

Make Your Blender Clean Itself

Make Your Blender Clean Itself

by Chowhound Editors | Do you hate cleaning your blender because you have to take it apart and scrub around those sharp blades...

Lettuce Tell You, Grilled Romaine Is Fantastic
How To

Lettuce Tell You, Grilled Romaine Is Fantastic

by Julie Boor | If you haven't tried it yet, grilled romaine lettuce is surprisingly delicious—here's what you need...